UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez will put his title on the line for the first time ever when he takes on number one contender Junior dos Santos at the upcoming UFC on FOX event, which is scheduled to kick off the promotion's network television debut on Nov. 12, 2011.
What is the "x-factor" heading into this fight?
Velasquez, who let his fists fly in first round obliterations of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar, is also a NCAA Division I All American wrestler, making him a dangerous mat technician for any opponent -- and we have yet to see much from his Brazilian opponent in terms of takedown defense.
That's probably because "Cigano" has been too busy cracking skulls (literally) and taking names since his Octagon debut back in 2008. He's rattled off seven consecutive wins since that time, finishing five of those fine folks before the final bell.
Offense for offense, Dos Santos knows the takedown is coming, but he also knows he can survive it. But if he survives 10 takedowns, can Velasquez survive 10 of his punches in return?
The challenger weighs in (via Heavy.com):
"It's easy to get pigeonholed into one style, but the truth is I train a lot of jiu-jitsu and wrestling. I've taken to wrestling the same way I took to boxing; it feels natural to me and I am learning fast. Maybe on Fox November 12 you guys will get to see some more of my ground skills ... I see a tough fight ahead for both of us. I am sure we will each be each others biggest challenge to date. He'll be looking to take me down and pound me, and I'll be looking to knock him out ... I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Cain takes me down 10 times, I will get up 10 times. But if I land 10 punches, I'm not sure I see Cain getting back up."
Velasquez has not competed since clobbering Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 in Oct. 2010 to usurp the throne. He's been on the mend ever since, recovering from a serious shoulder injury, which required even more serious surgery to repair.
Could the layoff, coupled with the reconstruction of his shoulder, make the difference come fight night? Or will Cain retain in Anaheim? Who's your pick in this heavyweight title fight?