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UFC 108 Preview: Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel

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The last time we Junior Dos Santos , he was dismantling former PRIDE superstar Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in Dallas, TX back in September. He was originally scheduled to face Gabriel Gonzaga this Saturday but an injury sidelined Gonzaga and left Zuffa scrambling to find a credible opponent. While it's true that we haven't really seen Dos Santos tested on the ground, it is worth noting that two of his victims have been fighters with legit submission credentials (Werdum and Struve). Standing 6'4 and weighing approximately 235 pounds, "Cigano" has turned many heads since Zuffa signed this blue chip prospect over 15 months ago. What's most impressive about this Brazilian, in my opinion, is the fact that he's been able to climb so quickly in the rankings at only the age of 25. Like all fighters, he will experience off nights, but his future appears to be very bright indeed. An impressive victory here could increase public demand to see Junior's name thrown into the mix in the UFC heavyweight title picture. Junior Dos Santos has a professional record of 9-1 with six wins coming by way of knockout and three wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far in his career is 67.5%.

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Gilbert "The Hurricane" Yvel 36-13-1 (31,5) 33-years-old; At 6'2 and approximately 240 pounds, Gilbert is a sizable striker. He is 8-1 in his last 9 fights and holds wins over fighters such as Pedro Rizzo, Cheick Kongo, and once even knocked out K-1 Heavyweight champ Semmy Schilt in the 2nd round. This is a guy that has a TON of mileage on him despite being just 33. It would be difficult to create a character in the likeness of Gilbert "The Hurricane" Yvel for a Hollywood script and have him be considered believable. This is a guy that has been DQ'd for everything from biting and eye gouging, to knocking out a referee. It is for precisely reasons such as these that I had hoped that Zuffa would not sign him to a fight. As much as I disagree with their decision to contract with this veteran for UFC 108, I will admit that his presence on the card should provide plenty of fireworks. None of Yvel's 36 career victories have gone to the scorecards. Gilbert Yvel has a professional record of 36-13-1 with thirty-one wins coming by way of knockout and five wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far in his career is 61.8%.

I'd still like to see Dos Santos eventually matched up against a powerful wrestler. But make no mistake, Saturday's clash with Yvel will be anything but boring. Neither fighter has ever gone to the scorecards in any of their victories. I would be shocked if this one ever made it into the hands of the judges either. Although we may not learn a lot about either competitor, it should be very entertaining. Yvel is a very dangerous striker, particularly with his knees and kicks. Ultimately, I think that Dos Santos will benefit from the superior sparring and training that he receives from his coaches and teammates at Black House. I see him putting together some nice combinations as the fight goes on, wearing his Dutch opponent down and avoiding the clinch. My prediction: Dos Santos by TKO in the 2nd.