The UFC takes an unprecedented step towards gaining more national and international recognition this evening with UFC on FOX from the Honda Center in Anaheim, featuring one of the best main events of the year as heavyweight title holder Cain Velasquez defends his standing at the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship against Junior Dos Santos. Making a debut on a major network in the United States tonight, we can expect the largest viewing audience in UFC history to make this headline event one of the best options for online sports betting on Saturday, and one you certainly won’t want to miss out on especially with two of the best heavyweights in the game standing toe-to-toe in the octagon.
Heavyweight title holder Cain Velasquez (9-0) makes his first appearance back in that octagon since defeating then-heavyweight champ Brock Lesner on October 10, 2010. With an injured shoulder that has kept him out of competition for a year, many questions will be centered around how Velasquez will grapple against one of the best boxing fighters in the UFC in Dos Santos, who has also proven to be a very tough opponent to take down to the mat, and how he’ll manage the ring rust that undoubtedly will have some effect on him tonight. However, with 10 pounds on Dos Santos heading into this match-up, one of the keys for Velasquez to retain his title is to weather the opening striking storm likely to be sent his way by Dos Santos, and stretch this fight out as long as possible in order to reach the later rounds where both fighters will be a bit more gassed, and more prone to mistakes. For a top wrestling fighter like Velasquez, it’s essential that he not exhaust too much energy early on, and save some push for later in the fight where defenses are likely to slip a little bit, especially in a match-up of two 240+ pounders. The sport’s first Mexican champion no doubt will be fit and trim for this match-up after months of waiting and injury delays, so despite the big hiatus from the octagon, expect Velasquez’s training and skill to send this fight into later rounds.
The challenger Junior Dos Santos (13-1) is just about everything you would want from a fighter in a bout for the UFC heavyweight title against Velasquez, and without a doubt his presence in this match-up will make for a great fight on Saturday night. “Cigano”, the Brazillian-born 6’4″ powerhouse has come up under the great MMA fighting house of Team Nogueira, led by former UFC Champions Antonio Nogueira and Anderson Silva. Dos Santos has a fantastic pedigree, and already is considered one of the best boxing fighters in the entire UFC with devastating striking ability from both his hands and feet (with a strong background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu). Being the taller, leaner fighter in this match-up, it will be key to Dos Santos to avoid playing into Velasquez’ wrestling skills, and rather keep this match-up upright utilizing his long 77″ reach and his powerful boxing form. The longer this fight lasts, and the more takedowns are generated, the more likelihood there is for Cain Velasquez to gain advantage with his wrestling technique, so although Dos Santos is well-trained, well-conditioned and built for the full round length, it will be beneficial for Dos Santos to get in Velasquez’ face quickly, and try to end this fight early via knockout with his strong uppercut. With 11 of his 14 fights ending in the first round it’s clear that Dos Santos likes to get in and get physical early to overwhelm his opponents, however if the outcome is like the last two fights he’s had (going to decision after the third round against both Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson in UFC 131 and 117 respectively), the advantage will clearly fall on the title holder Velasquez, who will likely be in better position as a wrestler to score points late in the bout.
Betting lines for Velasquez vs. Dos Santos at Intertops Sportsbook
The top online sportsbook at Intertops.eu is our featured sports betting website for the day, and as such we’ll take a quick look at the betting lines at present displayed on the longest-running internet sportsbook around. This is perhaps one of the tightest fights from a sports betting perspective that we’ve seen this year in UFC/MMA fighting, and as such one of the most exciting bouts to jump into with a sportsbook wager or two. On the money line, the heavyweight title holder Velasquez comes in as the slight favorite, at -170 odds, while the challenger Dos Santos is the underdog with +133 odds. That certainly makes picking either fighter a worthwhile investment, and it’s all the more exciting having a true possibility that this fight will go either way at the Honda Center tonight. With -135 odds on the over/under rounds at 2.5, it’s expected that no decision will be reached between the #1 and #2 ranked fighters in UFC, however with the stamina and will to win that both men possess, there could be a good wager to be had putting this fight to go the distance, especially at favorable +105 odds.
Our Pick to Win:
While the title-holding Cain Velasquez has been missing in action for a year, no one can expect the hard-fighting, hard-training Velasquez to be at anything less than 100 percent for this critical UFC showdown on national television. With Dos Santos also showing improved cardio and stamina, both fighters are going to be fully prepared to take and give a beating, and it’ll be difficult to muster a knockout either way between these two goliaths. It looks to either come down to a submission for Velaquez, provided he can wear down Dos Santos and execute takedowns with effectiveness, or a decision if Dos Santos can keep the fight upright and outlast his opponent, however what we really all want to see is a little bit of the skill these two men have learned over the years under expert tutelage, and a devastating finish from one fighter or the other that would be a culmination of everything people love about UFC/MMA fighting. I love a good underdog in any fight, and this is about the best underdog you’re going to see challenge a title-holder in the UFC. Therefore we’re backing Junior Dos Santos to earn a knock-out in the 4th round of this fight, banking on his superior boxing ability and hard-hitting strikes, to surprise Velasquez and the UFC/MMA world and cap a great night on the national stage for this up and coming sport.