Dos Santos brings in wrestler to aid takedown defence for UFC 166

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Although Cain Velasquez landed over 100 successful strikes when winning the second instalment of his series with Junior Dos Santos and regaining his UFC heavyweight title at UFC 155, it was in the takedown department where his dominance was most astounding.

Before this bout, Dos Santos was especially skilled in the techniques of takedown defence, ending up on his back for a combined 13 seconds across nine UFC fights.

However, he was made to look somewhat of a wrestling rookie by Velasquez, who reached double figures in the realms of successful takedowns.

This largely determined the path of the fight, as Velasquez continuously looked for takedowns and clinches to prevent Dos Santos getting on top in the punching exchanges. After all, Dos Santos has won six of his career UFC fights by stoppage due to punches.

With the head-to-head record between the pair now standing at 1-1 after this trilogy title bout, Dos Santos has to find a method of limiting Velasquez’ takedown attempts when the duo square off in the headline bout of UFC 166.

He has taken a step to improving in this department by enlisting the help of Khetag Pliev, who represented Canada in freestyle wrestling at the 2012 Olympic Games.

It has been stated that Dos Santos is becoming more difficult to take down and is even incorporating more attacking takedown moves into his own repertoire, which should make him less predictable against Velasquez.

Dos Santos is regarded as one of the only UFC fighters with the tools to beat Velasquez, but remains the underdog to triumph at UFC 166 at 9/5, with the champion the favourite at 5/11.

Meanwhile, it is 22/1 that Dos Santos’ takedown work results in him beating Velasquez by submission.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.