My preview of UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez, which features a good main event that people are down on and an undercard that is just kind of there.
Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez: Despite what happened in their first fight, this is still a hell of a fight. In terms of skill, these two match up extremely well. Sure Velasquez got KO’d in 64 seconds last time out, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have the skills to take out JDS this time around. If Velasquez is able to get inside, use his dirty boxing, transition into a takedown, and put JDS on his back, the champion is going to be in a ton of trouble. On top, Velasquez may not have world-class control, but he does have world-class ground and pound by making every strike count. Velasquez was unable to get JDS down in the first fight because it only lasted 64 seconds, but lets not act like it can’t happen. Velasquez is also a competent striker, but he’s not on the level of JDS, especially with his defense. Velasquez is far too hittable and JDS hits really hard with every punch he throws. Velasquez has to be smart on the feet. Either use leg kicks to keep a distance or get inside and clinch up. Anytime he’s in punching range, he’s in trouble. Even if JDS doesn’t throw a KO punch, he has an excellent jab that can damage up Velasquez and be used to set up his bigger punches. The questions surrounding JDS are always his takedown defense and cardio. We’ve never seen him off his back and he’s punched himself tired in the past. We may never get an answer to those questions though if he just keeps knocking guys senseless in the first round. Even though I’ve been on the Cain Train since day one, I’m off it for this fight. I think JDS is going to be able to keep this fight standing and he’ll once again catch Cain with a punch. It will go longer than 64 seconds, but the result will be the same.
Prediction: Dos Santos, TKO, Round 1
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller: Miller isn’t Nick “The Tooth” so I don’t expect Lauzon to have his way with him in the grappling department. In fact, I don’t expect Lauzon to have his way with Miller in any department. Lauzon is excellent in the first couple of minutes, maybe the best in the sport. When he has a guy hurt, he finishes them. Even if he doesn’t have a guy hurt, he grabs hold of a limb, he’s going to finish the submission. After those first couple of minutes though, Lauzon fades and fades badly. He showed some decent cardio against Jamie Varner, but lets not forget that Varner was dead tired as well (he took the fight on short notice) and Varner is as flakey as they come. Miller is well-rounded and should have the advantage striking and wrestling. Even if Lauzon is the better grappler (debatable), I don’t think he’s so superior that he’ll be able to submit Miller. I think this will be an entertaining fight because Lauzon doesn’t know how to fight any other way, but I see Miller just edging Lauzon, especially in the later rounds.
Prediction: Miller, Decision
Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou: I’m not high on Boetsch, but I’m high enough on him to think that he’ll win this fight. The best thing I can say about Boetsch is that he fights a smart fight. When he knows that movement beats Hector Lombard, he uses movement. When he knows that he needs a miracle comeback KO, he delivers a miracle comeback KO. He’s not really a great fighter, but he fights smart and fights to his strengths. Philippou is a decent fighter but he doesn’t offer much on the ground, which is where I figure Boetsch is want this fight. We’ve all seen Boetsch throw guys around, and while I’m not sure he’ll be able to throw Philippou around, I do think that he’ll be able to get him on the ground with relative ease. It won’t be a pretty fight (and when is a Boetsch fight pretty?) but it’ll get the job done.
Prediction: Boetsch, Decision
Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami: How come Belcher isn’t fighting Boetsch. That fight makes a lot more sense but whatever. These two met years ago and it sucked. Since then, Belcher has improved a lot while Okami has just improved. On the feet, Belcher should be too fast and too technical for Okami, who has improved his boxing, but is still kind of hittable. Okami is best at getting the clinch and just wearing on guys, although he’s not as strong as he’s made out to be. If Okami can get on the inside, clinch up, and drag Belcher to the ground then he’ll be able to win this fight. And given Belcher’s tendencies to fight stupid, that could very well happen. But I think Belcher will use his speed and movement to stay away from Okami, pick him apart with strikes, and win a decision.
Prediction: Belcher, Decision
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson: This fight shouldn’t be on the main card over Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland but it once again goes to show the UFC’s love for bigger guys and Leben. Brunson is a decent wrestler but I don’t know if he’s good enough to put Leben down. On the feet, Brunson is extremely wild and his chin has to be questioned after being KO’d by “Jacare” Souza. Leben isn’t a technical striker or anything, but he hits really hard and has a great chin. Brunson can win if he’s able to grind out Leben against the cage and scoring half takedowns, but sooner or later I expect Leben to connect with a big punch that puts Brunson out.
Prediction: Leben, TKO, Round 2