Junior dos Santos will look to reclaim the heavyweight title at UFC 166 . | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
One of the key coaching figures behind former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholders Junior dos Santos and Anderson Silva, Ramon Lemos will keep a busy schedule through the end of the year.
It starts at UFC 166 on Oct. 19 in Houston, where dos Santos will challenge Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight championship in a rubber match between the sport’s top two big men. While Velasquez recaptured the title from the Brazilian in a one-sided unanimous decision at UFC 155 in December, Lemos believes the chances of a “Cigano” knockout remain high.
“‘Cigano’ is very, very focused for this fight,” Lemos said. “It’s a very important rematch. We know about Cain’s power, but we also know that ‘Cigano’s’ hands are not light. They’re the two best in the weight division. ‘Cigano’ is a great athlete, so we are confident. We had a plan to defend the takedowns and take good shots, but ‘Cigano’ took a heavy blow in the first round [at UFC 155], kind of hung around and didn’t incorporate anything we talked about. We don’t think Velasquez absorbs blows as well as ‘Cigano,’ so if ‘Cigano’ can land his shots, I have no doubt that Cain will eventually get knocked out.”
In advance of the bout, dos Santos’ handlers hired Khetag Pliev, a Russian-born Canadian wrestler with ties to Team Nogueira who qualified for the 2012 Olympics.
“I’m already seeing results,” Lemos said.
Lemos will turn his attention to Silva’s UFC 168 rematch with Chris Weidman in December as soon as he fulfills his obligations to dos Santos. He wants “The Spider” to adhere to the game plan, as he looks to reclaim the middleweight championship he held for nearly seven years. Weidman knocked out Silva with a left hook and follow-up punches at UFC 162 after the Brazilian had spent much of their battle taunting and clowning the Serra-Longo Fight Team representative.
“That’s the focus on this fight. Know that it’s a job, that it’s a title fight,” Lemos said. “Anderson is the best in the world, but he needs to focus a little more and not be overconfident. It’s normal for someone to relax after not having trouble for seven years. The only difficulty he had was against Chael Sonnen. Weidman is good, but we’re talking about Anderson Silva here.
“You have to know the other guy wants to drop punches and kicks and take it to the ground, too,” he added. “We must always be safe, protecting ourselves at all times. I’ll be honest, I don’t want Anderson 100-percent serious or 100-percent joking. He got where he is being irreverent, by doing it his way. I want a middle ground, where he gives the fans a show but focuses on the goal. In his previous fights, he put on a show and remained faithful to his strategy. This last time, he did not follow our strategy.”