By: Mike Coughlin
CAIN VELASQUEZ V. JUNIOR DOS SANTOS IS NOT A MISMATCH
Junior Dos Santos v. Cain Velasquez is not a mismatch. It. Is. Not.
Look, I don't do tons of articles these days, because they take time and if I'm not gonna give my all, yada yada. No biggie. I'm sure you've all mourned in your own way.
And with the holidays here, doing my show took a backseat to all that holiday stuff. (Also: I'm lazy.) Again, I'm sure you've appropriately grieved.
So, I haven't said anything, or written anything, about Dos Santos v. Velasquez. Inspiration had failed to grab me; my muse had fled - or something.
Then I read Ben Miller's preview of Saturday's title fight. It's here on the site, you can go read it if you'd like. There is discussion about the upcoming Packers-Vikings game, historical trends on boxing championships, outrage at UFC title shots that haven't actually occurred yet (and knowing the UFC's luck with injuries, never will), and more. Some of it is inaccurate (a claim that there is no mention of the fight on espn.com when a cursory review of the site has said fight featured as what appears to be one of the top five stories - let's give Ben the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't a story when he wrote his piece)(though, as an aside, Josh Gross' column on the fight was quite solid - I can't bring myself to write "good" for something from Gross). There's some vague argument that the UFC has devalued title fights in general, or something (it isn't really that clear). I don't care. What I care about is the idea that Dos Santos v Cain is a mismatch.
That's garbage. It's stupid. It's wrong. It's insulting to you, the great, wonderful reader. It should not have been written. It should not go unchallenged. Yes, it is an opinion. No, that does not give it immunity from public flogging. I'm sure Ben is a nice guy (ok, I'm not, but I'm tearing him a new one, in public no less, so I should throw a meaningless compliment his way)(but he probably is), and I'm a dick for writing all this (that I know is true), but such is life.
I don't know if the PPV will do well, I don't even know what "well" means, frankly. 500,000 buys? 750,000? A million? Ten hundred billion? I don't care. Maybe the holidays make it tough to promote. Maybe the UFC has devalued title shots (this was done, in part, when the UFC gave a shot to Nick Diaz - a fight that hasn't happened yet, and by the UFC maybe giving a title shot to Overeem, provided he wins a fight first). Perhaps your average Joe Blow Tapout Fight Fan thinks it is a mismatch because the UFC didn't do a good enough job convincing them otherwise. It isn't my company or money, so it isn't my concern.
But, the fight isn't a mismatch. No matter what happens or who wins, it isn't a mismatch. It is a fight between 1 and 1a. Yes, this is a fact. Like gravity or math. That it is a rematch doesn't matter. The first fight doesn't even count. It lasted a minute and featured a Cain who was literally fighting on one leg (like a month out, he tore his ACL, which is important for fighting) against a Dos Santos who was nursing a myriad of injuries himself. And pretty much only one thing happened in the fight: Dos Santos landed a punch. That's it.
A one-punch knockout is really fun to watch. It's exciting. It makes you jump up and down and yell, and then curse because you spilled your Pabst. It's also meaningless. In a sport where there are so many ways to win (and lose)(duh), where you have to worry about no less than: punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, takedowns, throws, and trips, eight hundred and twelve different kinds of positions on the ground, getting punched on the ground from those various eight hundred and twelve different kinds positions, and submissions involving your elbows, shoulders, neck, face, knees, spine, heels, calves, wrists, and ankles (plus: whatever Steve Mazzagatti randomly does). In that sport, when a guy loses because of the very first punch thrown and landed, it doesn't mean anything. And it sure as shit doesn't mean the rematch between the two is a mismatch.
Dos Santos v. Cain is an awesome fight.
Cain is the embodiment of every "This is what a modern fighter does" cliche. He's big and strong, his gas tank is endless for a welterweight and unheard of for a heavyweight, said gas tank enhances his frenetic-paced style, his wrestling was top notch by pure wrestling standards and he's adapted it to MMA as well anyone ever has adapted grabbing a man and putting him on his back while also punching and kicking, and his striking is crisp and fluid.
And Dos Santos is a dude who hits harder and more accurately than any other dude, who moves with a fleet-footed-ness most heavyweights don't dream of because even dreams have some limits (ok, that was a bit of hyperbole, but go with it), and whose submission trainer - and general fighting mentor - is the greatest submission artist in heavyweight MMA history.
Dos Santos is the heavyweight champion of the world.
Cain was the last guy to hold the heavyweight championship.
Cain is coming off the most impressive win of his career, when he made Antonio Silva look as if he genuinely had no business fighting in the UFC. Seriously, it was scary. He just took Silva down and never stopped punching him in the face for what I'm sure seemed like four weeks. When the 3:36 long fight was over, Cain was covered in more blood than (insert topical vampire reference here)
And Dos Santos has never lost inside the Octagon. (I capitalize it to give it greater importance.)
This is the kind of heavyweight fight that "REAL FANS" (puke) drool over. It is the pinnacle of heavyweight MMA. It is two guys who are at the division's stylistic peak, in their physical primes, with plenty of time to prepare, fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world, in the main-event of a PPV from Las Vegas, the fight capital of all fight capitals.
When two men who are inarguably the two greatest heavyweights on earth fight one another, it can never ever ever ever ever be a mismatch. A mismatch is Jon Jones against Chael Sonnen; a mismatch is the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals. There are mismatches in the world. But Saturday's title fight between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez ain't one of them.
Mike Coughlin sometimes does Five Star Radio, sometimes writes, mostly screws around on the board, and is an ass.