It's not every UFC commentator who has fought in three UFC title fights. Kenny Florian is among the most qualified analysts in the young history of MMA and he's got a game plan all worked out for UFC Heavyweight challenger Junior dos Santos to win the title back from Cain Velasquez at UFC 166 this Saturday in Houston.
Here's some highlights:
The key to the success of JDS will be his footwork. Dos Santos must stay mobile and circle to his right to avoid that Velasquez right hand that dropped him in Round 1 of the rematch. As he circles, he needs to keep his hands high and mix in feints to confuse Cain. Feints will make it much more difficult for a fighter like Cain to find his timing.
JDS also needs to utilize the jab to keep Cain on the outside. The lack of jab in the second fight allowed Cain to close the gap and get off on his punches and utilize takedowns. The jab is also a great measuring tool that has allowed JDS to find his range in the past, especially in combination with his devastating uppercut. There were times when JDS threw the uppercut without setting up the jab and he paid for it with counters from Velasquez. By utilizing the jab, dos Santos can keep Cain on the outside and force him to take bad takedown attempts from the outside. The jab will also help JDS get off one of his favorite strikes: the right cross. He sets it up well with the jab but then side steps to his right to find an angle where he will throw the cross or overhand right. JDS caught Cain with this punch in their first fight. He has to be patient and use his jab to find these angles.
Another important tactic that will help dos Santos is circling close to the cage. Cain's style of wrestling attacks requires motion and space, and the cage can be used as a great equalizer. Despite being exhausted, dos Santos used the cage relatively well in the second fight to stop takedowns. It was in the center of the Octagon where he struggled most. With the cage at dos Santos' back, Cain will run out of room to finish his style of takedowns. Being the larger, stronger man, dos Santos also needs to use the Octagon to rest and pace himself. From there, JDS can tie up Velasquez and look for a referee break that will force Cain to try for a takedown again and again.
What do you think? Is KenFlo's plan sound? Is it practical for dos Santos?