Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) visits Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, for UFC 166: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3," with the rubber match for the promotion's Heavyweight championship serving as the main event.
Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos complete their trilogy, which dates back to late 2011, where dos Santos dethroned Velasquez by knocking him out in 64 seconds at UFC on FOX 1, the lone fight on its debut show for the broadcast network.
One year later at UFC 155, Velasquez reclaimed the title by outclassing the Brazilian for five rounds, emphatically winning the stand up battles and scoring takedowns at will. This third fight will decide which out of the two is the best Heavyweight fighter in the world and the most feared man on the planet.
In the co-main event, Daniel Cormier battles Roy Nelson in a grudge match, which could decide who the next light heavyweight title challenger may be -- with both competitors eyeing a move down in weight.
With the majority of this card's excitement focused on these two bouts, let us look into the near future and map out what a victory might mean for these four combat sports stars.
Here we go:
Velasquez is regarded as the most versatile and well-rounded Heavyweight fighter in the world, a specimen who moves like a fighter in two weight classes underneath him. He is a breed like no other, and is touted as being a Heavyweight unlike any other in the promotion's history.
Velasquez will not only have two wins against dos Santos under his belt, but will also become one of the most complete Heavyweight fighters in recent memory, capable of defeating an opponent whichever way it comes thanks to a great striking skill set along with world-class wrestling and grappling skills.
Velasquez will also look to emulate world champion peers such as Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre, in the way that there are a couple of Heavyweight contenders outside of this fight who are looking in. And if Velasquez can string together two or three victories after this fight (which he obviously needs to win), many will start saying that Velasquez could be the best UFC Heavyweight champion ever.
However, he has proved none of that yet, and despite his colleagues saying he is a different animal, besting "Cigano" for the second time will force him to embark on that road.
Junior dos Santos
Apart from beating Velasquez again and winning the Heavyweight championship for the second time, dos Santos gets to erase the worst performance of his career at UFC 155, when he lost in every aspect of that fight, relinquishing the title to his trilogy foe.
"Cigano" gets to prove to the world that he's the best Heavyweight around, and after the Velasquez fight, he can anticipate new challengers and become only the third Brazilian champion in UFC right now, along with Jose Aldo and Renan Barao (who holds an interim title).
A win also means dos Santos beat an opponent who utilizes his tools a lot more than he does, and depending on his performance and how he may win, the Brazilian could also show us that he is the most well-trained and deadliest Heavyweight in the game today.
After the Velasquez fight, he too can begin his tenure as a dominant champion; however, he needs to beat the man who gave him a drubbing little less than one year ago. And if he cannot do that, dos Santos will need to climb back to the top of the ladder and work for either a fourth meeting with the champion (if that is still an option once he gets there).
Win or lose, we already know that Cormier is moving down to the Light Heavyweight division and if he can topple his opponent in Houston, "DC" all but solidifies the next place in line for the 205-pound championship.
With the jarring that has been going on between him and the champion, the aforementioned Jones, the inevitability of that fight being booked will come to fruition in months to come.
Cormier is luckier than his foe, Nelson, because the above-mentioned guarantee will follow if he puts through a solid performance. If "DC" looks a little shaky and does not impress while beating "Big Country," his title shot would be a few yards away with someone else to standing in his way first.
The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) wrestling coach and Olympian is still undefeated and although he is chasing gold, he could be the product of a super fight if he walks away the victor, and has the ability to go back to Heavyweight in the near future if his hears desires. The ironic thing is that Cormier could be moving down to avoid his main training partner, Velasquez, since Cormier would be considering among the top three Heavyweight fighters in the world, having already beaten Josh Barnett and Frank Mir, and sits alongside the main event competitors and Fabricio Werdum on many ranking platforms.
In its simplest and true form, Nelson will finally get the respect he deserves from his bosses and his naysayers if he can beat Cormier on Saturday night.
A slimmer version of "Big Country" has emerged as of late. And besides the fact that there are multiple reasons for his change, he does want to hijack his opponent's plans and drop down to light heavyweight and challenge Jon Jones.
This is a clear indication that Nelson may be moving to the Light Heavyweight division and for Nelson's sake, if he wants a title shot in a different division bearing in mind he cannot secure one in his proper one of the present day, he is going to need to either finish Cormier and beat him into a bloody pulp.
"Big Country" -- or maybe just "Country" now -- is a highly entertaining fighter, a beloved figure of the sport and his frame should not be held accounted for holding him back since he is a talented and gifted talent.
The brass has not been highly receptive of the fighter, and Dana White keeps on saying Nelson that he has nothing against him -- he just has not beaten enough top 10 fighters to get him that shot. If Nelson beats Cormier this weekend, his story could change.
For our UFC 166: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos" event coverage click here.