Is Junior Dos Santos’ Fight Against Brock Lesnar Bigger Than Cain Velasquez Fight?

April 20, 2011
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Junior Dos Santos

Dos Santos vs. Nelson at UFC 117

It’s hard to imagine any fight being bigger than when someone competes for a world title, but when it comes to media exposure and attention, Junior Dos Santos may very well be in store for just such an anomaly in his next fight.

Dos Santos was scheduled to meet UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez this year after becoming the No. 1 contender, but an injury forced the champion to the sidelines for the majority of 2011.

Instead of facing Velasquez with the gold on the line, Dos Santos was instead invited to become a coach on the newest season of “The Ultimate Fighter” opposite former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

It’s undeniable that Lesnar, with his crossover appeal from his days as a WWE Superstar, is one of, if not the biggest draw in MMA today. “The Ultimate Fighter” exposure, coupled with a headline fight against Lesnar at UFC 131 in June may just raise Dos Santos’ stock more than a title fight could have.

Dos Santos’ manager, Ed Soares, told MMAWeekly Radio recently that the way things worked out may end up being for the best, as the Brazilian is now really ready to hit the big time with his fight against Lesnar.

“To be 100-percent honest with you, I think the Brock Lesnar fight is actually a bigger fight,” Soares commented. “From the standpoint of how many people are going to buy the pay-per-view and watching it. Not taking anything away from Cain Velasquez nor Junior Dos Santos, but I think sometimes things work out for the best.”

For his part, Dos Santos of course wanted to fight for the belt, but the chance to raise his own profile in the MMA world will only increase his value in the future. If he gets past Lesnar in June, that makes his title fight against Velasquez one of the biggest heavyweight bouts in UFC history.

Soares admits that there is definitely an upside to the way things worked out when looking at the much larger picture when it comes to his fighter’s success.

“It is a bummer that he’s not going to be able to fight for the title right now, but he’s getting a huge fight. He’s fighting a guy like Brock Lesnar. If he gets through Brock Lesnar, I can tell you that the fight with him and Cain is going to be a much bigger fight, simply because of the exposure he’s gotten from ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and if he beats Brock Lesnar, that’s just going to give him a lot more exposure,” Soares said.

“In the long run, it worked out probably better.”

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  • Depends on how you look at it. Technically the Velasquez fight would have been bigger since it was for the belt, except that dos Santos definitely would have lost.

    He has the potential to beat Brock, however, so in that respect it is a bigger fight for him.

  • Mario

    For me the Velasquez vs. Dos Santos match-up would have been bigger and more important. Junior is a beast and I imagine him getting the technical knockout over Brock somewhere in the fight. Brock has already shown that when he get’s hit and hurt, he retreats and succumbs to the strikes being landed to him. It happened with Shane Carwin and Cain.. Cain won because he took his time unlike Carwin, and that’s another reason why I think Cain vs. Junior is a better fight. Brock just got whooped and he’s getting a potential opportunity at once again fighting for the belt in a potential rematch with Cain? That’s baloney… He should have to fight at least two fights and get creditable wins in order to lay claim after losing his belt for dramatically. Junior on the other hand has destroyed and run through top competition in his last 7 or so fights. He blasted Werdum, (the man who re-ranked Fedor), Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga, Cro Cop, Gilbert Yvel, and Struve. Either way, I see Dos Santos finishing Brock quick and clean.

  • bdono554

    This is a dying matchup in this sport. It’s getting increasingly rare to see two guys who are such specialist. I’ll admit Junior has an impressive resume but it lacks a true test against a pure wrestler and if Brock can get him down and keep him down at any point dos Santos will leave the cage looking like Frank Mir. But the fight starts on the feet so I give Junior an edge.

  • shereko

    I’d like to see Brock dominate like the monster he is… but I don’t see it happening, he gets hit and hurt he turtles up, thats not something you can train against, thats just the way he is, and Dos Santos is to fast and versatile for Brock as long as JRDS keeps it on the feet, but he’s also smaller so if he gets taken down he can’t throw Brock off of him. I take JRDS by TKO, via one shot and a lot of turtling and ref stoppage, basically the same as Cain.

    Also, lol Mario “boloney” is spelled bologna haha.

    • wonggfan

      I see this match up as Brock’s corner yelling, “don’t turtle up Brock!” And Brock trying not to turtle up and in the course of not turtling up getting KO pwned.