UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos Preview

nullThe UFC makes its national television debut on FOX Saturday night with one of the biggest heavyweight fights in the history of the organization as Cain Velasquez defends his heavyweight championship against Junior dos Santos.

Coming into the fight, the oddsmakers like the champion Velasquez to retain, as he has a money line of -190 to win on Saturday night. Dos Santos comes in with odds of +155. These two will clash from the Honda Center in Anaheim at 9 p.m. ET live on FOX.

Here is a look at both fighters and my pick for the winner.

Cain Velasquez (9-0) – The former wrestler from Arizona State is unbeaten in his short MMA career and he holds wins over top fighters like Cheick Kongo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Brock Lesnar. Velasquez started as a wrestler, but has quickly developed his boxing and turned into one of the top knockout artists in the division. The questions for the champion coming in are his conditioning and health, as he is coming off rotator cuff surgery that has sidelined him for over a year. His longest fight in the UFC is 15 minutes and he struggled to make it to the end there, so if this fight goes deep, he could be in rough shape.

Junior dos Santos (13-1) – The Brazilian is 7-0 in the UFC and holds wins over the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Mirko CroCop, Roy Nelson, and Shane Carwin. Junior is a powerful striker that likes to throw heavy punches. His uppercut has been his signature strike to finish opponents, but he also works in devastating body shots. A black belt in jiu-jitsu as well, dos Santos hasn’t had to show those skills because he has been able to dominate fights standing. The test for him in this fight will be whether or not he is able to stuff the takedowns of Velasquez, as he has not faced a tough wrestler in the octagon. Like Velasquez, dos Santos hasn’t been pushed past 15 minutes yet, so fatigue could be an issue if this bout reaches the championship rounds.

Who Will Win? – This fight could go 25 minutes and it could go 25 seconds. Both fighters have a lot of explosiveness to them but both also have some big questions coming in. Ultimately, I feel Velasquez’ striking is closer to matching dos Santos’ as opposed to dos Santos’ wrestling being anywhere near Velasquez’. I think both fighters will land some early strikes, but Velasquez will be the one to get the fight to the ground and control Junior from there. I am actually going to be part of the minority that sees this fight going the distance due to Velasquez going with the wrestling.

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UFC 137 Betting Odds & Fight Card

nullThe UFC has two legendary welterweights facing off in the main event of UFC 137 on Saturday night as B.J. Penn takes on Nick Diaz.

Penn is a former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion while Nick Diaz was the Strikeforce welterweight champion prior to leaving the organization for greener pastures.

Penn (16-7-2) comes into this three-round contest as the favorite over Diaz (26-7-1), as Penn has odds of -125 to top Diaz, who has a money line of -105. Both fighters have similar styles as each relies on boxing and jiu-jitsu to win fights. Penn may have the edge in regards to wrestling, but Diaz will have a big size edge in terms of mass and reach. Both fighters will be sure to leave everything in the octagon, which makes this fight very interesting.

The co-main event also has a very competitive contest as heavyweights Cheick Kongo (26-6-2) and Matt Mitrione (5-0) face off with the winner emerging as a top-10 contender in the division.

Mitrione is the slight favorite, with a money line of -140 while Kongo has odds of +110 to win. Both fighters are primarily strikers, but Mitrione packs the harder punch and is more mobile while Kongo has a slightly better ground game. Mitrione will look to keep the fight standing and stick-and-move while Kongo will look to utilize leg kicks and takedowns to finish the fight with ground-and-pound.

For complete UFC 137 betting odds, check out the jump.

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