265 lbs: Junior dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel
Odds: (-280 Dos Santos / +220 Yvel)
In a somewhat inexplicable Heavyweight showdown, up and coming Brazilian slugger Junior “Cigano” dos Santos will face notorious rule breaker Gilbert Yvel, finally making his UFC debut after an infamous career of over 12 years. Dos Santos gained recognition by knocking out the likes of Mirko Cro Cop and Stefan Struve, while Yvel gained notoriety for knocking out a seemingly endless stream of referees. Dos Santos is one of the top Heavyweight prospects in the world, but Yvel is a wily veteran with some powerful striking of his own, so this is going to be a tough test for the Team Noguiera protégé.
Yvel is a throwback to the early days of the sport. His striking is technical and he has fight-ending power, but he probably can’t even spell the word takedown, much less execute or stop one. He has notoriously awful submission defense as well. Basically, his entire ground game is an execrable mess. He is also a well-known dirty fighter, poking eyes, grabbing handfuls of tights, ropes, the fence, or whatever else, and he is definitely the most successful fighter of all time at knocking out referees. At the tail end of an uninspiring career, with a one-dimensional skill set and a reputation for being a classless piece of trash, it is a mystery to reasonable people the world over why this bum got a shot in UFC to begin with.
Luckily for anyone who actually respects the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, Junior dos Santos is well equipped to make sure that Yvel’s stay in the big show is a short one. A very powerful striker who also has a developing submission game, dos Santos is the worst possible matchup for Yvel. He has the skill and power to outstrike Yvel, and also has a good enough ground game to keep it standing or to overwhelm Yvel on the mat. He also has a much better chin that your average NSAC official, making him a nightmare matchup for Yvel, who last won a meaningful fight about five years ago.
This match is disinteresting in every way. Dos Santos will destroy Yvel on the feet, he will destroy him on the ground, and he will destroy him in the parking lot afterward if it comes down to it. The only suspense surrounding this fight is whether Yvel will be fined for eye poking, low blows, or assaulting a ringside official.
Fight Prediction: Junior Dos Santos via second round T/KO.
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