Junior dos Santos will enter the UFC on Fox 1 headliner on an eight-fight winning streak. | Photo: Sherdog.com
History will be made on Saturday, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship airs its battle for the undisputed heavyweight championship on network television. UFC on Fox 1 “Velasquez vs. Dos Santos” will feature a five-round title bout pairing undefeated champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior “Cigano” dos Santos at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The two men have combined for 17 consecutive victories, 14 of them inside the Octagon.
Who will emerge with the gold remains anyone’s guess. Sherdog.com caught up with several professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC on Fox 1 main event:
Renan Barao: I’m betting on a Cigano victory.
George Roop: I’m going to pick Velasquez. He’s a more well-rounded fighter than Dos Santos. I think his wrestling is going to be able to dictate the fight more than anything. He’ll be able to push him up against the cage whenever he wants, and he’ll make the fight real ugly if he doesn’t want to stay outside and box with Dos Santos. I think Cain’s boxing skills will be able to put out a real good effort with his feet and setup the takedowns with his strikes.
Bebo Duarte: I’m rooting for Cigano, but Velasquez is a very tough guy, the best in the division. The fact that he has been out for a year weighs against the champion. Cigano is in the middle of a great evolution, but I still think Velasquez is the favorite.
Javier Vazquez: Although everyone thinks Dos Santos is going to win, I think Cain will put on a furious pace and gas Dos Santos out with active footwork and aggressive striking. He will mix up his wrestling and striking to earn a hard-fought five-round decision. He will be threatened throughout the fight, but his heart and conditioning will be the difference to earn him the decision.
Marlon Sandro: I think Cigano wins by knockout in the second round. Velasquez only wins if it go to judges’ decision.
Travis Wiuff: I’m taking Dos Santos to knock out Cain in the third round.
Ricardo Tirloni: I think Cigano wins by TKO in the second round.
Mike Easton: Dos Santos wins.
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante: I think Cigano wins by knockout.
Travis Lutter: I think this fight could go a lot of different ways. On one hand, it could come down to conditioning. In that case, Velasquez will win. Or maybe it will come down to striking: flip a coin. Wrestling edge goes to Velasquez again. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is even. But this fight isn’t being fought on paper; it is for real. Maybe one or the other will expose something we haven’t seen before, but, either way, I really think this fight could be one of the more exciting fights in a long time -- the way a real heavyweight fight should be.
Cristiano Marcello: These are two very aggressive fighters. It will be a tough fight to pick a winner, but I’m betting on a victory for Cigano.
Eddy Millis: Tough fight to pick. This is obviously gonna be a standup war. I believe Junior will go for the takedown, but the fight will remain on the feet. My hunch is with Dos Santos on this one. Dos Santos wins by TKO in the late rounds.
Nam Phan: Cain by ground-and-pound.
Rafael Alejarra: I think Cigano has a chance to win. My only fear is his wrestling, particularly his ability to push and get back up. I think Cigano wins by knockout.
Jason Lambert: I think it is a very interesting fight. I would like to see Dos Santos win. I trained with him when I was helping [Antonio Rodrigo] “Minotauro” [Nogueira] get ready for [Randy] Couture [at UFC 102]. We’ll see. It will be a great fight either way.
Eduardo Dantas: I’m betting on a knockout in the first round for Cigano, but I think if the fight goes to a judges’ decision, Velasquez wins.
Joe Duarte: This is a fan’s fight. I usually can tell stylistically who has the better chance, but I can’t on this one. Both guys bring it and can go the distance. Someone’s getting knocked out. That’s about all I know.
Ronys Torres: This fight has everything to be the best of the year. They are two great athletes, and I think Cigano wins by knockout.
Keith Berry: Well since this is the only fight on Fox, I’m hoping it will go at least three rounds. Then, I see Cain getting the best of Junior and picking up the third- or fourth-round TKO.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: I’m betting on Cigano’s victory.
Pros Picking Dos Santos: 12
Pros Picking Velasquez: 4
No Pick: 4
You can also contact Mike Sloan at www.facebook.com/mikesloan19. Gleidson Venga contributed to this report.