Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos took to the scales Friday in Houston. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Having separated themselves from the rest of the pack, MMA’s two premier big men will meet for the third time in less than two years.
Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Cain Velasquez checked in at 241 pounds at Friday’s official weigh-in, as he prepares to defend his crown against Junior dos Santos (240) in the UFC 166 main event on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. Each man owns a victory over the other, dos Santos a first-round knockout at UFC on Fox 1 and Velasquez a lopsided unanimous decision at UFC 155.
Velasquez will enter the cage on a three-fight winning streak. The 31-year-old Salinas, Calif., native last appeared at UFC 160 in May, when he put away Antonio Silva with first-round punches at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Velasquez was a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, where he won two Pac-10 conference championships. Backed by a seemingly limitless gas tank, savage ground-and-pound and ever-improving standup, the American Kickboxing Academy representative has delivered 10 of his 12 professional victories by knockout or technical knockout.
Dos Santos, meanwhile, has posted 11 wins in his past 12 outings. The 29-year-old Brazilian has not fought since he wiped out 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt with a spinning hook kick five months ago in the UFC 160 co-main event. Victories over Velasquez, former UFC champion Frank Mir, 2006 Pride Fighting Championships open weight grand prix winner Mirko Filipovic and two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Fabricio Werdum anchor the stellar dos Santos resume.
UFC 166 “Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3” -- which airs live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT -- will also feature a lightweight scrap pitting former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez (156) against Diego Sanchez (156), a flyweight tilt matching “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner John Dodson (125) with Darrell Montague (126) and pair of heavyweight battles, as the unbeaten Daniel Cormier (224) locks horns with Roy Nelson (249) and Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts export Shawn Jordan (255) faces Gabriel Gonzaga (257).
Two hours prior, Fox Sports 1 will carry four preliminary bouts: Tim Boetsch (186) vs. C.B. Dollaway (186), Nate Marquardt (171) vs. Hector Lombard (169), Sarah Kaufman (135) vs. Jessica Eye (135) and George Sotiropoulos (155) vs. K.J. Noons (156). The four remaining undercard matchups will stream to the UFC’s Facebook page at 6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT: T.J. Waldburger (170.5) vs. Adlan Amagov (171), Tony Ferguson (155) vs. Mike Rio (156), Jeremy Larsen (145.5) vs. Andre Fili (*148.5) and Dustin Pague (135) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (135).
UFC 166 ‘Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3’ Weigh-In Results:Cain Velasquez (241) vs. Junior dos Santos (240)
Daniel Cormier (224) vs. Roy Nelson (249)
Gilbert Melendez (156) vs. Diego Sanchez (156)
Shawn Jordan (255) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (257)
John Dodson (125) vs. Darrell Montague (126)
Tim Boetsch (186) vs. C.B. Dollaway (186)
Nate Marquardt (171) vs. Hector Lombard (169)
Sarah Kaufman (135) vs. Jessica Eye (135)
George Sotiropoulos (155) vs. K.J. Noons (156)
T.J. Waldburger (170.5) vs. Adlan Amagov (171)
Tony Ferguson (155) vs. Mike Rio (156)
Jeremy Larsen (145.5) vs. Andre Fili (*148.5)
Dustin Pague (135) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (135)
* Andre Fili failed to make weight, and will forfeit 20 percent of his purse to Jeremy Larsen.