I'm going against the grain a bit by picking Cain Velasquez to regain the UFC Heavyweight title by decision. Heavyweight fights rarely make it that long—especially championship bouts that are scheduled for five rounds—but I expect Velasquez to avoid stand-up encounters with Junior Dos Santos.
I see him controlling a less than action-packed main event on the ground. That prediction is in stark contrast to the UFC Undisputed 3 simulation I conducted on my YouTube channel.
I set the skill level to the highest capacity to ensure that each fighter would perform at his best. The results were entertaining and something most MMA fans would gladly pay to see.
Check it out:
If the actual fight is that exciting, I'll happily admit I was wrong about the outcome. Dos Santos and Velasquez traded shots, and Dos Santos snuffed out a good percentage of Velasquez's attempts to take the fight to the ground.
In the end, his superior stand-up skills were the difference.
That's just a game, right?
Well, I've found that a good number of MMA writers seem to believe the game's simulated result will actually come to fruition.
Bleacher Report's own Tim McTiernan's prediction is very close to what you saw in the video. He said:
By the fourth round, dos Santos will land an uppercut and put Cain out cold to defend his title and tie the record for most consecutive UFC heavyweight title defenses.
The major difference is the round McTiernan predicts Velasquez will meet his end, but the punch and overall outcome are the same.
Caged Insider predicts a similar result. They wrote:
Despite Cain’s ability to beat nearly every other fighter at heavyweight, he will see his title dreams cut short by a knockout in the second round at the hands of JDS.
Sports Illustrated's MMA experts, Loretta Hunt and Dave Doyle are also on the Dos Santos train. They said:
Hunt - I think Velasquez will take the champ down, but won’t be able to keep him there long enough to get the job done. Dos Santos by TKO.
Doyle - Can Velasquez take dos Santos down and keep him there? Sounds simple, but sometimes there’s no need to take it any deeper. This fight will go longer than the first, but will have a similar finish. Dos Santos by TKO.
Dana Becker of FightLine.com also believes in Dos Santos. Becker wrote:
Look for Velasquez to use his wrestling this time, pick the right opportunity, and take dos Santos down. Now, here is where this match gets interesting. If dos Santos can work back to his feet, Velasquez will have used a lot of energy to take him down.
That gives dos Santos the advantage. "Cigano's" striking makes the difference once again, as the Brazilian ends 2012 atop the heavyweight division. Junior dos Santos via second round TKO.
Before you start thinking I'm alone in saying Velasquez will win, I found a few others that agree with me.
The FightLine.com staff was actually split in their predictions of the fight. Joseph Lisnow thinks Velasquez will regain the title. He wrote:
Two major questions will be if Santos can stuff the takedowns and if he has evolved into more than a boxer. While this one will be longer than their first encounter, I don't think either fighter is expecting the full 25 minutes.
Simply put, this will be a slugfest where Velasquez's wrestling background will play an important role. Cain Velasquez via second round TKO.
Jeff Wagenheim of Sports Illustrated also sees Velasquez coming out on top. He writes:
The bout will go to the ground at some point, as I see it, and Junior’s jiu-jitsu will wither in the face of Cain’s ground-and-pound ferocity. Velasquez by TKO.
OK, so I am alone in predicting the fight goes the distance, but not in the bottom line. We'll see which prediction comes closest to the mark.
When it is all said and done, the game's simulation may trump all of our predictions.
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