Greatest trilogy of all time? This might just be. That’s been one of storylines leading into this Saturday night’s main even heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. The comparison to other trilogies and where it sits amongst the greatest of them all has been discussed on podcasts, forums, and even in interviews with UFC president Dana White. We won’t be able to fully debate this until after the main event is over but it’s fair to say this rivalry between the Mexican (Velasquez) and Brazilian (JDS) has been the reason the heavyweight division has been so interesting over the past few years.
Cain and JDS meet this Saturday night at UFC 166 which comes to us from the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas and it seems to have been a fight that’s flown under the radar a bit. Coming off the latest UFC PPV where Jones and Gustafsson provided one of the greatest fights of all time and right before UFC 167 GSP vs Hendricks it’s just as well the UFC decided this fight needed the Primetime show to really build up the hype for their third encounter. This series of Primetime makes a great effort to really establish where these two fighters are after their first two encounters with Cain using the loss he suffered by KO in their first fight as a constant reminder of what it feels like to lose what he cherishes most the UFC championship belt and JDS using the latest modern science has to offer to make sure he doesn’t gas out like he did in their second fight but also reminding us that he can finish this fight with one punch, something he is not quick to forget about himself.
The hype will pick up now that it is officially fight week. That’s basic business and promotion. But Velasquez-JDS III has flown well under the radar to this point. Far lower than any of the final four pay-per-view cards of 2013.
Velasquez (12-1) is a soft-spoken guy and always polite about his opponent. He rarely throws verbal jabs and JDS (12-2) is much the same way. Neither one of them typically gives the Internet a reason to rewrite whatever they say seconds after they say it. The closest thing to saying something derogatory on last Wednesday’s media call came when Dos Santos said this about Velasquez: "He thinks he’s going to win." But does this fight really need it? I don’t think so. There are match ups and rivalries purely based upon being the top 2 of their division which these two men clearly are and have been for a while and it’s that athletic competition between them that has everyone interested. The fact that they both have a decisive win over each, in two totally different fashions is also very intriguing.
In their first meeting way back in November 2011 Dos Santos knocked out Velasquez in 64 seconds to win the title.
In their second meeting in December 2012 Velasquez avenged his first pro defeat with a five-round beat down of Dos Santos to win back the title.
Both fights gave fans things they hadn’t seen before. Velasquez was undefeated heading into their first bout. No one had seen Dos Santos get manhandled like he was in the second bout where he was taken down 11 times and ate punch after punch in each round.
How Dos Santos managed to make it through all 25 minutes astounds as much now as it did that night. That alone should keep you interested for UFC 166.
In my opinion I can see another 25 minute one sided war where Cain basically replicates the performance from their last bout. He might even have more in his arsenal to finish the fight this time. Would I be shocked if Cain gets knocked out in the first round again? No. But I think he learned a lot in regards to his movement and pushing the pace right from the offset which he didn’t do in their first fight which ultimately led to his downfall.
You don’t need incendiary headlines and sound bites to buy into this bout.
There was a time in world sporting culture when the heavyweight champion in boxing was revered. A time when everyone knew it the second the heavyweight champ entered the room.
That time has passed, or at least those bigger-than-life personalities have worked their way down to smaller bodies.
But Velasquez-Dos Santos shouldn’t have to rely on these old pop culture concepts to generate interest. Those two names are big enough.
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