UFC

UFC 166 main card predictions

Cain Velaquez and Junior Dos Santos meet for a third time (©GettyImages)
Cain Velaquez and Junior Dos Santos meet for a third time (©GettyImages).

 Cain Velasquez (C) vs Junior Dos Santos

This is very much the greatest rubber match to take place within the UFC.

Both have a win each against one another, but not just any ordinary victory - an extremely convincing win over their counterpart that makes the match up so unique.

In their first bout at UFC on Fox 1, Dos Santos dethroned Velasquez, knocking out the champion with a huge overhand right after just 64 seconds.

In the rematch a year later, Cain got his revenge.

He punished Dos Santos for twenty five minutes, completely dominating the fight on the feet and on the ground - reclaiming his title.

This is why this rubber match is so intriguing.

The current champion Velasquez - apart from the Dos Santos KO - has looked invincible in his UFC career.

He has KO'd eight out of his ten UFC wins and completely dominated in his other two against Cheick Kongo and the second JDS fight.

He was an NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler in college which provided him with his bread and butter for MMA.

However, he's clearly took to the sport as his striking is also phenomenal.

Along with this, Cain has possibly the best gas tank in the UFC. He's always in his opponents face and doesn't seem to tire - as showing when going for twenty five minutes with JDS.

Dos Santos on the other hand, has similarly finished most of his opponents via T/KO, finishing 8 out of his 11 fights via the method.

He is famous for his boxing and his ripping body shots, punishing both Frank Mir and Shane Carwin with them.

Since their second meeting the two have both won convincingly - JDS was involved in a very entertaining match up with Mark Hunt, where he finished the New Zealander with a spinning heel kick.

Velasquez was also impressive in his first title defence, brushing aside Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva in 81 seconds.

The difference between Velasquez's win and Dos Santos' win is that Cain's tells us so much more, whereas JDS' portrays very little.

The current champion set the blueprint to beat the Brazilian whilst JDS could KO just about anyone with his overhand right.

JDS since his first UFC loss, however, has showed signs of improvement.

He used the jab well against Mark Hunt and needs to do so in the rubber match.

Hunt is an excellent kick boxer and would have made JDS learn a lot.

The question is, can the Brazilian stop the takedown of Velasquez? It'll always be in the back of his mind and could make him hesitant in his striking.

Dos Santos needs to rid the last fight from his memory.

Although nowhere near as good at striking, JDS stopped the takedown of Shane Carwin.

JDS will know where to learn from his mistakes. He was left battered and bruised at the end when he lost his title - he has the whole of Brazil on his shoulders. 

He claims he over-trained for the last fight, though he looked excellent at the start of the fight before getting caught.

You will see a different Junior Dos Santos in this fight. Cain Velasquez has the old blueprint to beat the old JDS.

The Brazilian has both the one punch and the twenty five minute game plan.

It'll be a back and forth fight however the championship rounds will be key.

JDS will find his range and finish Cain in the final round.

PREDICTION: Junior Dos Santos via 5th T/KO

Daniel Cormier vs Roy Nelson

Two tournament winners face off as Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament winner Daniel Cormier faces The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner Roy Nelson.

The former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier holds a perfect 12-0 record including wins over Josh Barnett and most recently Frank Mir.

Nelson holds a patchy 19-8 record, most recently coming off a loss to Stipe Miocic.

This should be Cormier vs Miocic.

Nelson has an awesome punching power, finishing Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo by T/KO. However he only has a punches chance in this fight. 

Cormier is better in every aspect.

Nelson's  BJJ black belt is cancelled out by Cormier's unstoppable background and he is a brown belt himself.

Expect 30-26 across the board in this fight.

Nelson has a great chin and that's all that will make the fight go fifteen minutes. Nelson isn't in Dana White's good books anyway and after Cormier brushes him aside, don't be surprised if Nelson is cut from the roster.

PREDICTION: Cormier via decision

Gilbert Melendez vs Diego Sanchez

This could be fight of the night.

Melendez was the best lightweight in the world outside the UFC before narrowly losing a split decision to Benson Henderson.

Before then he went on a seven fight win streak, captured the Strikeforce Lightweight title and defended it four times.

Sanchez has recently experienced a renaissance in his career.

He's swapped his nickname from 'The Nightmare' to 'The Dream' and had success when dropping back to Lightweight, defeating Takanori Gomi.

Melendez trains with some of the best - The Diaz brothers and Jake Shields - this shows how talented he is.

His fight against Henderson displayed that there are some very talented MMA fighters outside of the UFC and he was unlucky not to get the nod.

Sanchez is known for entertaining fights - he pushes forward in all of his fights and is constantly in his opponents face.

However, this plays right into the hands of 'El Nino'. Melendez trains with cardio machine Nick Diaz who's style is similar to Sanchez's.

The difference is that Sanchez has significantly poorer movement. He'll leave lots of gaps that Melendez will capitalise on.

Will Melendez finish Sanchez? 'The Dream' showed how good his chin is against Martin Kampmann and Jake Ellenberger.

If Melendez does, it sends even more warnings out to Anthony Pettis and the rest of the 155 lb division.

PREDICTION: Melendez via decision (Fight of the Night)

Gabriel Gonzaga vs Shawn Jordan

A third heavyweight fight takes place on the card as UFC veteran Gabriel Gonzaga faces up-and-comer Shawn Jordan.

Since his brief spell outside the UFC, Gonzaga has found form, went 3-1 and has finished all three victories. Jordan since joining the UFC ranks has done the same.

Jordan's only loss come at the hands of Cheick Kongo.

He looked nervous in this fight and didn't look fluid when throwing his strikes. However, he more than made up for this in his next performance against former top ten ranked 265 lber Mike Russow. 

Gonzaga has to get this to the mat.

If he does should dominate Jordan and be able to get the submission. The Brazilian is prone to being KO'd - times out of his seven losses. 

Jordan showed he has good take-down defence up against the former NCAA Division 1 wrestler Russow.

Although Gonzaga has nice trips, Jordan's jab will keep him too far away to get close. 

PREDICTION: Jordan via second round T/KO (KO of the Night)

John Dodson vs Darrell Montague

From the UFC's heaviest division to the lightest, the main card starts out in a flyweight contest between John Dodson and Darrell Montague.

Many anticipated the signing of Montague into the UFC's newest division.

He holds a 13-2 record and is an excellent wrestler. His fight against Ian McCall highlighted his skill-set and currently rides a four fight win streak.

He is welcomed into the UFC with a tough match up - former number one contender John Dodson will be his opponent.

Since fighting in the UFC at flyweight he has gained incredible experience against tough competition.

He trains under Greg Jackson, who has helped him develop into a complete fighter.

Dodson has amazing take-down defence to go with his striking.

He dropped Demitrious Johnson twice in the second round of his title fight and was competitive throughout.

Dodson will definitely want another crack at the title.

He'll out-strike Montague who has shown to be one dimensional at times and force the newcomer to shoot for silly single legs.

Dodson's constant speed he fights at will prove too much or Montague and put Dodson right back in the title mix.

PREDICTION: Dodson via second round T/KO.

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