NorCal Combat Sports: NorCal MMA headlines UFC 166 in Houston
Cain Velasquez, who trains out of San Jose's American Kickboxing Academy, is out to avenge his first and only career loss to Junior Dos Santos in 2011. (USATSI)
Gilbert Melendez lost his UFC debut in a split decision to Benson Henderson. (USATSI)
It's a big weekend for Bay Area fight sports. Coming up this Saturday night in Houston, a trio of Bay Area-based fighters headline the latest pay-per-view offering from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In the main event at UFC 166, Cain Velasquez defends his heavyweight crown against Junior Dos Santos, completing one of the highest-profile trilogies in MMA history. Velasquez, who trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, suffered his first and only career loss to Dos Santos in 2011. That title fight ended by first-round KO after JDS landed a perfectly placed right hand to the side of Velasquez’s head. The rematch took place last December, and it was a completely different story. Velasquez reclaimed his title, punishing Dos Santos over five frames en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The co-main event features another AKA product -- former Strikeforce heavyweight kingpin Daniel Cormier. The undefeated former U.S. Olympian will take on “Big Country” Roy Nelson, known for his huge belly and even bigger knockout power. Cormier has announced this will be his last fight at heavyweight, planning a drop to 205 pounds for an immediate title shot against light heavyweight champ Jon Jones -- if he gets his way.
Fighting out of El Nino Training Center in San Francisco, Gilbert Melendez looks to put his name back in title contention with a win over Diego Sanchez. Melendez made his UFC debut back in April, a title fight against Benson Henderson. After five rounds of action, the judges ruled in favor of the reigning champion, awarding Henderson a split decision victory.
Follow us on Twitter @FightSportsCSN for a live play-by-play, and look for a recap right here on CSNBayArea.com/fightsports