Who wins at UFC 166?

Photo courtesy of the UFC.

Photo courtesy of the UFC.

Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez:

Junior Dos Santos’ great failing in his second meeting with Velasquez was choosing to fight Velasquez’s multi-dimensional attack with a singular one of his own and eventually being knocked into semi unconsciousness for four rounds. Though one cannot fault him for always chasing the knockout with his boxing (given he almost always gets it) you cannot defeat the Cain Velasquez of 2013 without mixing up your offence. If Dos Santos only focuses on establishing distance, stuffing takedowns and trying to land one big punch he is likely to be put through the same hell he was last year so in order to win he must either mix up punches and kicks or be prepared to fight off his back or even try to score a takedown of his own. Dos Santos did attribute his loss to issues stemming from both his personal life and rhabdomyolysis as a result of overtraining so correcting these issues could lead to him performing very differently in the rematch. However, based purely on the nature of their previous meeting it seems foolish not to give Velasquez a slight edge.

Verdict: Cain Velasquez edges Dos Santos to a judge’s decision.

Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson:

Make no mistake about it; Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson is the most interesting matchup on the card. Both fighters are exceptional at manoeuvring taller men against the cage in the clinch and using their lower centres of gravity (due to being very stocky heavyweights) to muscle around opponents, dirty box and score takedowns. Where the matchup becomes interesting is that due to Nelson and Cormier being so similar in build and stature this advantage is likely to not be so influential. Roy Nelson seems to have an edge in knockout power but Cormier should best him in speed and Cormier’s incredible wrestling pedigree should make Nelson a little fearful of committing on the feet for fear of being taken down. Nelson also has a tendency to gas so Cormier should be able to tire him out by pushing a fast pace and mixing up his boxing and work from the clinch.

Verdict: Daniel Cormier slugs and wrestles his way to a unanimous decision.

Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez:

Gilbert Melendez returns to the Octagon following his very close decision loss to Benson Henderson back in June and matches up with Diego Sanchez in what seems to be an easy matchup for the former Strikeforce champ. Melendez gave Henderson a serious run for his money so it seems bizarre to match him up with Sanchez who has not only fought sporadically over the last few years but has never really been of championship mettle anyway. Melendez appears to be a better version of Sanchez, possessing a similarly well rounded skillset but having more skill in almost every area and as entertaining as Sanchez has been throughout his MMA career the odds are very much stacked against him here. Sanchez still possesses a massive heart and an iron chin though, so one can never rule him out entirely.

Verdict: Gilbert Melendez wins a dominant unanimous decision.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Jordan:

Both heavyweights boast heavy hands, decent athleticism and will be looking to build some momentum coming into the bout off first round knockout victories. Gonzaga is a jiu jitsu specialist with decent takedowns and some of the best chokes in the heavyweight division. Should he be able to get the fight to the ground he is sure to lock up a submission but Jordan’s strength and power should make this no easy feat, especially as Jordan himself has been improving consistently and is at the beginning of his UFC career with much room for improvement.

Verdict: Gonzaga scores a first round choke for submission of the night.

John Dodson vs. Darrell Montague

In what is perhaps the harshest UFC debut in history Darrell Montague faces a very, very dangerous opponent in former number one flyweight contender John Dodson. As promising a prospect Montague appears to be with his numerous victories coming through different submissions as well as knockouts he is unproven in the UFC, let alone against the excellent Dodson whose only loss in the organisation was a close decision to the current champion. In fact, the only time Montague faced an opponent of UFC calibre he was defeated by Ian McCall.  Dodson’s experience, power and gravity defying athleticism should prove too much for newcomer Montague who is unlikely to have faced an opponent in his career thus far.

Verdict: Dodson dominates, winning by either KO or TKO.



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