The Fight Report for a Pretty Stacked UFC 166

| October 15, 2013 | 1:09 pm | Reply

UFC 166 boxThis weekend’s UFC 166 is a night of current and former champions; with title holders from the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator all piling onto one of the best PPVs of the year. Our main event is the rubber match between two outstanding heavyweights, as Cain Velasquez looks to retain his title, taking on the unstoppable Junior Dos Santos. This tilt is worth the price of admission alone, but we’ve got plenty more action to whet the palate.

Let’s see how it all goes down on Saturday.

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos 3: Their first two bouts were career defining moments for each man, and the conflict will come to a climactic rubber match finish. Velasquez comes into this off of an easy rematch win against Antonio Silva last time out, but his star truly rose after his twenty-five minute dismantling of JDS in their second fight. One of the fastest heavyweights around with unreal pacing, very few men alive can stand up to the champion and put up any sort of offense, yet JDS has proven his mettle in not one, but both of their previous matches.

The closest thing you’re going to find to the perfect heavyweight fighter, JDS brings superhuman attributes into the cage and has proven to be nearly invincible in his career thus far. Possessing hard-won skills in boxing, unbelievable core strength and reflexes, and crippling power, JDS has chewed through every fighter he’s faced, including Velasquez; knocking him silly in two punches in their first outing. Having annihilated a surging Mark Hunt in his last fight, JDS will look to prove the second match was a once in a lifetime occurrence, and take his title back.

I’ve talked about this fight since the second outing, as these two are simply too dangerous to be stopped by any other heavyweights on the planet, and were destined to meet again. We’ve really seen the spectrum of both men across their two meeting, with the first bout being Velasquez worst effort against JDS’s best, and with the reverse being true in their rematch. The main difference we see is that even falling to pieces in the second fight in terms of endurance, JDS couldn’t be stopped and retained so much raw power in his core that Velasquez couldn’t even secure a takedown twenty-four minutes in.  Velasquez fights with a relentless pace, but JDS needs one stiff punch to put the champion away, and should come in with enough gas in the tank to fuel that piston of a right hand. A fast fight shows the best of both men, but JDS finds an opening and smites Velasquez in the second round.

Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson: Strikeforce grand prix champion Daniel Cormier has already dispatched former champion Frank Mir in his UFC debut, but somehow draws flagging fighter Roy Nelson in what could be a horrendous bout. I’ve long been a critic of the self-detrimental Nelson, and watching him plod through a systematic beating by Stipe Miocic did little to change my opinion of the talented, yet lazy fighter. Unless Cormier comes into this match with the worst game plan possible, Nelson has no chance of hitting a takedown and no weapons outside of his big right hand, leading to another low octane performance by Nelson. It’s all about footwork and the clinch, as Cormier peppers Nelson from the outside, closes when he wants to grind, and takes Nelson out via lopsided decision.

Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez: Having come within a hair’s width of the UFC title in his last fight, Gilbert Melendez looks to score a convincing win and get back into the title picture, taking on long-time UFC veteran Diego Sanchez. Melendez is a true terror at Lightweight with his only real weakness being a slight lack of speed in changing gears during a fight. However, the battle-torn body of Sanchez isn’t likely to allow him much alacrity to force those openings needed to deal with Melendez effectively.  Melendez should pick Sanchez apart early and turn it on late, forcing a late TKO stoppage or decision as he moves back into title contention.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Jordan: A frightening example of how awful the heavyweight division is, Gonzaga or Jordan will fight their way into the top of the pack with a win here. Gonzaga has always been a wild card, having great offensive tools everywhere, but no real heart to weather the storm from his foes. Jordan isn’t a masterful technical fighter, but his intense athletic approach has allowed him to bridge that skill gap against several opponents, and sets him up for a show-stopping win here.  Gonzaga just isn’t built to deal with Jordan’s pace early, and doesn’t have the chin or hunger to make it through a flurry, being leveled a minute in by a Jordan bullrush.

John Dodson vs. Darrell Montague: Hold onto your fucking hats, as Dodson welcomes elite striker Darrell Montague to the UFC fold. For those unfamiliar, Montague has been tearing up the Flyweight scene for years with his unique muay thai style and fast submissions. Being equal parts talented with rapid, multi-level offense, fading and countering, or working off his back with fast hips, Montague’s inclusion in the UFC is long overdue. The sad things is, this is the absolute worst match for him, as Montague needs to be faster than opponents to win, and Dodson is easily the fastest fighter on the planet. While Montague is the better technical fighter, Dodson has the speed and power to put a couple on the chin early and leave Montague staring at the ring lights.

Tim Boetsch vs. CB Dollaway: A fight that could be pure fireworks or highly disappointing, Boetsch and Dollaway will look to get their flagging careers going at the expense of the other fighter. Boetsch has been matched extremely tough in his last few fights and looked decent despite being on a two fight losing streak. Dollaway on the flipside has looked like utter crap in his last two wins, showing a fighter incapable of fixing holes in his game or coming to life in a tough fight. This is a match-up Dollaway needs to win in the first few minutes, as Boetsch physical power and love of grimy fights doesn’t allow Dollaway an out to win if he can’t trap Boetsch fast. Don’t count on that, as Boetsch grinds Dollaway against the cage before baiting a takedown and applying his crushing guillotine for the submission win.

Nate Marquardt vs. Hector Lombard: A must-win fight for these two rather expensive welterweights, Marquardt will look to recapture his world-class status against the floundering Lombard. This is an interesting bout with Lombard being forcibly moved to Welterweight, as we have no idea what he’ll need to lose to get down an additional 170lbs. If he can come in with his old fire, he should light Marquardt up in a hurry, but any hesitation on his part gives Marquardt the space he needs to land strikes and hustle the one-dimensional grappler on the mat.

Sarah Kaufman vs. Jessica Eye: A tragedy of the UFC’s single-weight class women’s division, Jessica Eye is thrown to the sharks as she faces massive boxer Sarah Kaufman. Eye is an outstanding striker in her own right, but being a better fit at 125 or even 115lbs makes this one a less than reasonable task for her, as she many not have the firepower to hurt Kaufman. With the power to clinch at will or blast Eye as she sees fit, Kaufman should have this one in the bag; walking her opponent down for an action-packed decision win.

George Sotiropoulos vs. KJ Noons: An odd match-up that could prove to be fun, Sotiropoulos will look to kill or be killed against KJ Noons. Sotiropoulos had a world of potential several years ago, but injury after injury put him on the shelf as the rest of the division moved past him. Having been handily destroyed by Ross Pearson last time out, his continued presence in the sport leads to some legitimate concerns about his health, and Noons may be the worst man he could face at this point. While Noons has never been at the top of anyone’s list for world-class fighters, he brings a particular set of skills in terms of takedown defense and pocket striking that make him a nightmare to deal with. While Sotiropoulos is light years ahead of him on the mat, I can’t see a scenario where the fight makes it to the floor, instead allowing Noons to chew Sotiropoulos up with inside striking for the eventual TKO win.

TJ Waldburger vs. Adlan Amagov: Submission wizard TJ Waldburger faces a perplexing foe in Adlan Amagov in a criminally underrated fight. Waldburger has quietly been improving over the years and looked sharp as a tack against Nick Catone last time out, hitting takedowns on the strong wrestler and using his lethal submission skills to get the tap. With all his experience though, Waldburger has never faced a foe like the sambo expert in Amagov. Packing the ridiculous punching power and clinch strength of a sambo champion, Amagov has been honing his skill set for the world stage and could find himself moving into the middle ranks of the UFC welterweight division if he can finish off Waldburger here. It’s a tight rope walk, as Waldburger needs to dictate the mat and avoid Amagov’s power to win, but must remain perfect in his transitions and takedowns to do so, with the outcome being very much in the air.

Tony Ferguson vs. Mike Rio: A long time away from the sport is never a good thing, yet Ferguson will look to pick up where he left off, taking on hard-nosed wrestler Mike Rio. Ferguson was an exciting prospect coming off of TUF with his high-output boxing style and sprawl and brawl tactics, yet Michael Johnson found the holes in his game and derailed his climb up the ladder. Rio has the skills to make this fight his own, but will need to work past Ferguson’s wall of offense to get it done, or perhaps wait for Ferguson’s ring rust to gum up the gears and go for a late finish. Game plans are paramount here, but I like Ferguson to pressure Rio and buckle him with strikes against the cage within the first round.

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Category: MMA, UFC

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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