UFC 166: Main Card Predictions

By Jeremy Green
Cain Velasquez UFC
Jake Roth-USA Today Sports

UFC 166 takes place this weekend, featuring one of the most highly-anticipated trilogy fights of all time when Cain Velasquez defends his belt against the heavy-handed Junior Dos Santos. It’s going to be one for the history books, and has the chance to end very quickly. Let’s now take a look at the main card and make some predictions.

John Dodson vs. Darrell Montague: Montague is a very good flyweight, and he certainly could challenge Dodson in some areas, particular with his wrestling. But, he doesn’t have quite the punching power the Dodson has, and this will certainly play out to be a factor in the fight. Expect to see Dodson gauge his distance and then strike with a heavy-handed shot, putting Darrell out very quickly somewhere around the second round.

Final Prediction: John Dodson wins via TKO in the second round.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Jordan: Both of these heavyweights pack quite the punch, and they each have competent grappling games. However, Gonzaga has shown to have a suspect chin, and this doesn’t bode well for him going up against Jordan, who is very athletic and explosive for the division. Jordan will thwart any takedown attempts from Gonzaga, and will unload a barrage of punches that will stop Gonzaga early.

Final Prediction: Shaw Jordan wins via TKO in the first round.

Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez: This bout could potentially steal the show. Both are known for bringing an exciting style, and it could be a war for three straight rounds. Sanchez will be going back down to the lightweight division, which is where he has always looked the best.

The problem is that he’s facing one of the best lightweights in the world. Melendez is no joke, and is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division. Melendez should have the edge in every department in this fight; it’s just a matter of how he executes his game plan. Sanchez is tough, so this might just go the distance.

Final Prediction: Gilbert Melendez wins via unanimous decision. 

Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson: Cormier is the second-best heavyweight in the division, and he is arguably one of the best wrestlers save for maybe Jon Jones in the UFC right now. He also packs a punch and trains with current heavyweight champion Velasquez on a daily basis.

All of these things point toward a victory for Cormier. Nelson is tough and certainly can knock any fighter out if he can land flush, but he simply doesn’t have the tools to defeat Cormier. Cormier will control Nelson up against the cage, often getting takedowns, and will avoid any damage from Nelson in route to a decision.

Final Prediction: Daniel Cormier wins via unanimous decision.

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos: A lot of questions are surfacing about this trilogy. Will JDS be able to land another big bomb, putting Cain out quick, or will Cain do what he did in the second fight, brutalizing JDS for five straight rounds? The latter is the smart pick, and is probably going to come to fruition.

Cain is one of the best fighters at pressuring his opponents, and his cardio lets him do this for days. JDS will look better than he did in the rematch, but he will not be able to handle Cain’s wrestling nor his forward pressure. Don’t be surprised to see Cain sink in a submission or end it by way of TKO.

Final Prediction: Cain Velasquez wins via TKO in the second round.

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