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UFC on FOX: Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos Fight Preview

This Saturday night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will make its FOX network television debut with Cain Velasquez (9-0, 7-0 UFC) putting his heavyweight title on the line against the challenger, Junior Dos Santos (13-1, 7-0 UFC). It’s going to be a great night for fight fans as this event will finish an hour before Manny Pacquiao is set to square off against Juan Manuel Marquez.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect match-up for the first fight in the historic, seven-year partnership between FOX and the UFC, as these are two very special fighters entering the primes of their careers. I will break the action down in terms of each fighters’ strengths, the unknowns heading into the fight and the match-up, specific to one another. Finally, I will predict a winner.

Strengths

Velasquez has made a name for himself through his world-class wrestling ability, his other-worldly work ethic and cardio, and a developing, technically-sound kickboxing game. He is well above-average in his quickness wrestling and an above-average athlete for a heavyweight. He has finished eight out of the nine fights in his career through ground and pound and striking.

Velasquez was a two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State University and in the Octagon, he has man-handled the heavyweight division, demonstrating relentless take-downs, top control and ground and pound. His wrestling, in combination with his cardio, make him a bad match-up for any style of fighter because he can control whether the fight remains standing or on the ground. If he chooses to take the fight to the ground, he has almost no equal. He has used his wrestling to dominate Ben Rothwell and Cheick Kongo on the ground, and when he won the title against Brock Lesnar, he did so by keeping the fight standing.

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Chael Sonnen Challenges Anderson Silva, Says He’ll Leave UFC if He Loses

Fighting in the UFC for the first time since losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 117 last August, a fight where he contested Silva but later tested positive for performance-enhancers, Chael Sonnen worked Brian Stann before submitting him with an arm triangle choke in the second round. Sonnen’s work in the octagon was impressive, but it was his post-fight interview that provided the most entertainment.

Asked by Joe Rogan how happy he was with his performance, Sonnen turned his attention to Anderson Silva, who was in the audience.

“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!” Sonnen declared. “Super Bowl weekend, the biggest rematch in the history of the business.

“I’m calling you out Silva,” he said “but we’re upping the stakes.

“I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.”

Nobody actually believes that Sonnen will leave the UFC if he loses. The man will say just about anything in the name of publicity. But that doesn’t make his post-fight speech any less entertaining.

There are very few fighters who pose a challenge to Anderson Silva, and Chael Sonnen is one of them. It’s a fight fans want to see again, and the urgency for a rematch has been expedited after Sonnen’s call out.

He may be brash, quirky, and a cheat, but he has a style that makes Silva uncomfortable. I’m ready for a rematch, as I’m sure you are.

GSP: Anderson Silva Is the Best Right Now

Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva is the bout MMA fans have wanted to see since each fighter began dominating the competition. After GSP failed to impress critics in his last several fights (the last four went to decision), the tune changed and there were plans for him to fight Nick Diaz. That fell through, and GSP will face Carlos Condit next.

Even if GSP wins his fight next month, don’t hold your breath on him fighting Anderson Silva anytime too soon:

St. Pierre has previously expressed reluctance about moving up in weight, so there is little doubt this is a serious concern for him. While many people could complain that this is an example of GSP wussing out, I think it’s a legitimate worry. Facing a guy who is bigger than you is difficult — that’s why there are weight classes. He’ll probably be at a disadvantage and that’s why it might not be worth it to him.

I also liked the perspective he offered on pound-for-pound fighters. Too often we get caught up in who’s the best “right now.” Like GSP points out, it wasn’t long ago that Fedor was considered the best ever. Now people are questioning his legacy since he lost three fights in a row.

In the sport of MMA, outcomes are unpredictable. Being able to maintain a level of invincibility for a long period of time is difficult to do. Silva hasn’t truly lost since 2004, and that’s why even GSP is saying he’s the best fighter.

GSP Having Second Thoughts About Fighting Anderson Silva

Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva are widely considered to be two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Silva’s 28-4 and coming off an incredible win over Vitor Belfort. The Spider has won 14 straight and fought at both middleweight and light heavyweight. GSP is 21-2 and has won his last eight fights in a row, all as a welterweight. He has a fight coming up against former Strikeforce champ Jake Shields late April in Toronto. After that, there’s been talk of a GSP-Silva superfight should St. Pierre come out victorious.

The St. Pierre-Silva fight is one fans have been dying to see for quite some time, but it appears as if the bout is no certainty. Speaking at UFC on Versus 3 Thursday evening, GSP said he’s focusing on his fight with Shields first before anything else, but he also was hesitant to talk about plans to fight Silva.

GSP’s biggest concern centers around the weight issue. During an interview, he said “It would take a long time [to put on that kind of weight]. Anderson Silva is a huge guy, he’s weighing around 230 pounds. He’s very big. Even when he fought as a light heavyweight he looked bigger than the other guys. I don’t know if I’m gonna go up to 185. I have no idea. It’s a complete reorientation of my career. I have a lot to lose.”

If he’s reluctant to fight because he has a lot to lose, that’s a poor attitude. But if his concerns are over weight issues, that makes complete sense. Silva is a bigger guy and has four inches of height and 20 pounds on GSP. He would have a clear advantage in a sport where a lot of the fighting is based on strength, leverage, and tactics on the ground. They would have to meet at an agreeable weight that would make the two equally uncomfortable. Remember, it won’t be easy for Silva to drop down in weight either. Hopefully GSP beats Shields and the superfight goes down.

Steven Seagal Says Anderson Silva Initially Reached Out to Him

I don’t know about you, but I still cannot get over the news that actor/tough guy Steven Seagal taught Anderson Silva the kick he used to knockout Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 (watch the incredible video here). Like Del wrote, we figured Seagal being part of Silva’s entourage was more of a joke than anything else, and we were in disbelief when The Spider credited Seagal for the move after the fight. We’re still having trouble processing it all.

Given that Seagal taught Silva the move, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that Silva’s the one who initially reached out to Seagal to form their relationship, but I am. In this interview with Ariel Helwani, Seagal talks about their relationship, including how they first met. It’s stunning:

Steven Seagal’s Training Helped Anderson Silva Beat Vitor Belfort

Steven Seagal is much more than just a badass Hollywood actor. People joke about the tough guy roles he stars in and patronize a lot of his cheesy movies, but UFC 126 proved Seagal is not someone you would want to mess around with in a dark alley — or anywhere for that matter. Don’t believe me? Just ask any of the countless fighters who have had their noggins cranked in by middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

If you were watching the fights on Saturday night, you probably laughed and were a little surprised to see Seagal standing in the front row wearing a nice set of yellow-tinted glasses. Those of us who are aware of his impressive background in martial arts immediately found ourselves wondering if Seagal was part of The Spider’s entourage.  It turns out he’s more than that.

When Silva knocked out Vitor Belfort with one of the best front kicks you’ll ever see on Saturday night, he was quick to give all the credit to Seagal.  In his post-fight press conference, Anderson said through his translator that Seagal “helped (him) perfect that kick,” which was one they had spent a lot of time working on in training.  How great is that?

Last time I checked, Chuck Norris wasn’t responsible for helping one of the best MMA fighters in the world defend his title.  Chuck may get all the credit and have all the quips written about him, but it looks like we need to start recognizing Seagal as the most hardcore badass in Hollywood.

Anderson Silva Crazy Knockout Kick Ends Vitor Belfort Fight (Video)

One of the most anticipated UFC cards in a few months featured very few exciting moments on Saturday night.  Leading up to the main event between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, the only fight that didn’t end in a judges’ decision was Jon Jones’ brutal choke out of Ryan Bader. Thanks to Silva and Steven Seagal, UFC 126 ended with a bang. Check out the Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort fight video:

That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a fighter get knocked out by a kick that comes in like an uppercut. Silva, who broke out a mask to taunt Belfort at the weigh-in, could be the biggest weirdo in MMA, but there’s no denying he’s the best fighter.  He did his typical obnoxious, voodoo dance routine for most of the first round before planting his foot in Belfort’s face.  No one saw it coming except Seagal, whom Silva credits for having taught him the move — and he wasn’t kidding.  Thanks to The Big Lead for finding a video that has somehow yet to be pulled.