America was built on individuals that had an opportunity for a second chance. The desire for a second chance has established the American economy, business and the American dream. On Dec. 29, one mixed martial artist will get his opportunity, his second chance, to regain the heavyweight champion belt and return to the top of the division. That man’s name is Cain Velasquez.
On Dec. 29, the UFC will invade MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with UFC 155. The marquee matchup pits former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (10-1) against current heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos (15-1). In any combat sport, the heavyweight division always puts on a great show and rarely goes the distance — the perfect combination for a fight that’s sure to produce a highlight reel knockout. This fight is intriguing because of the history between the two fighters.
Velasquez is coming off an impressive technical knockout victory over Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC 146 in Las Vegas. Cain’s only loss in the UFC came at the hands of current champion Junior Dos Santos over a year ago at UFC on Fox 1. What was particularly shocking was the way Velasquez lost the title — a devastating TKO at the hands of Dos Santos on national television.
Dos Santos, on the other hand, is boasting a perfect 9-0 record in the UFC. Since debuting inside the Octagon at UFC 90 in October 2008, Junior has been on a tear within the heavyweight division. At UFC on Fox 1, Dos Santos needed only 1 minute, 4 seconds, of the first round to finish, then champion, Cain Velasquez and become the new UFC heavyweight champion. It’s a title Junior has held onto since then.
Come Dec. 29, when the cage door closes, the fighter whose hand is raised at the end will be the one who imposes his game plan first.
Dos Santos is a boxer. His stand-up game is the best in the heavyweight division with the exception of Alistair Overeem. To retain the belt, Dos Santos needs to keep the fight on the feet and utilize his boxing to finish Velasquez once again.
Velasquez, on the other hand, wants to take this fight to the ground. A tall task considering no one has been able to drag Dos Santos to the mat. For Velasquez, the ability to control where the fight takes place is a huge advantage. One that could ultimately help him reclaim the title.
Dec. 29 will produce a winner and a loser inside the Octagon, yet as fans, we all win. Both fighters are fearsome, athletic and top tier heavyweights. The story line is compelling and the predictions varied, but in less than a week we could see a former champion get a second chance at championship redemption.
Dos Santos or Velasquez? I’m going with the champion. Let me know your pick via Twitter at @scottlevesque.
Scott Levesque writes a weekly column for the Clarion on mixed martial arts. He will cover MMA at the local, state and national levels. His handle on Twitter is @scottlevesque.