UFC 166 is set to go down this Saturday, October 19, 2013, from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. There are a myriad of exciting bouts on the card, but obviously none shine through more than the trilogy-ending title fight between UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and his arch nemesis Junior Dos Santos. Number two-ranked heavyweight will take n fan favorite Roy “Big Country” Nelson in the anticipated co-main event. Check out our staff predictions of UFC 166’s two main bouts:
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos:
Mike Drahota: This fight has to be the biggest trilogy grudge match in UFC history, and these two might not be done fighting even after UFC 166. While Velasquez looked nearly flawless in winning a one-sided decision over Dos Santos at last year’s UFC 155, I think that the deck was stacked in his favor. “Cigano” had suffered a serious kidney disorder from overtraining, and was going through a disappointing divorce. Those bad times have passed, and Dos Santos appears motivated and ready to reclaim his throne. Velasquez couldn’t finish Dos Santos, but we know “Cigano” can knock out Cain. Dos Santos via (T)KO, round 1.
Rory Kernaghan: Cain Velasquez has everything a great Heavyweight needs -- superb cardio, top-level wrestling, solid striking and the will to win. The only thing that has let Velasquez down in the past is his chin. I don't think CV has a glass jaw, but in the HW division and against Junior Dos Santos; any flaw can be costly. I expect JDS to utilize slick boxing and footwork to keep at a distance, thus nullifying Velasquez's takedowns. Look for Cigano to land a huge overhand right somewhere in the middle rounds, after stuffing multiple shots from the Champ. Dos Santos via KO round 3.
Brian Cox: Regarding Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, as one will lose and the other win, and fans on both sides will say I told you so, I’ll just say this: I won’t be shocked by whoever wins. That said, I think Cain will execute the same gameplan to victory he did last time and this time, I don’t think it’s going to fly. I believe Junior learned a great deal from that loss and he’ll be looking to apply the lessons in this fight. Junior has been looking very dynamic of late and I think that new found dynamism, along with his overwhelming power will carry the day; winner by KO, round 1, Junior Dos Santos. Note: I hope I’m wrong, I’d love to see this fight go a few rounds, at least.
Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson:
Mike Drahota: This is the fight where Cormier has to prove that all of his considerable hype is justified. He looked rather lackluster against Fran Mir in April, and Mir hasn’t exactly been a world-beater as of late. I can’t help but wonder if Cormier, with his endless talk of moving down to light heavyweight to face Jon Jones, is looking past Nelson here. Still, his Olympic level wrestling should still enable him to control “Big Country” throughout. Nelson is one of the toughest fighters to finish in all of MMA, so I’ll take Daniel Cormier with a clinching decision.
Rory Kernaghan: Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson will be a one sided beatdown in my opinion. Cormier just has the advantage in so many areas -- speed, power, agility and wrestling all go in DC's favor. Nelson has a great chin and solid striking with KO power, but I don't know if he has the tools to make the bomb land. Look for DC to grind out a decision against Big Country.
Brian Cox: In the case of Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson, I think most would take Cormier. His wrestling is off the shelf, his power has power, he’s got a chin and he’s even developing a Jiu-Jitsu game. He’s a tank. Roy Nelson on the other hand, is a bit of wild card. Roy has looked brilliant at times and then not so great at others. Like Cormier, he packs incredible power and if Daniel takes the fight to the ground, then he needs to be mindful of “Big Country’s” formidable ground game. As I like underdogs, I’m going to pick Roy Nelson to shock the world with a third round stoppage of the powerful wrestler; Roy Nelson by KO in the third.