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UFC's Fox TV debut features Cain Velasquez-Junior Dos Santos bout

Ultimate Fighting Championship debuts on Fox TV with the heavyweight title bout between former Arizona State wrestler Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos of Brazil.

September 02, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Junior Dos Santos pummels Shane Carwin with an overhand right during their heavyweight bout at UFC 131 on Saturday night in Vancouver, Canada.
Junior Dos Santos pummels Shane Carwin with an overhand right during their… (Darryl Dyck / Associated…)

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is pulling no punches as it debuts on Fox television Nov. 12 with a heavyweight title bout between champion Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos at Anaheim's Honda Center.

UFC said up to a dozen bouts will be on the Anaheim card, though only the heavyweight title bout will be telecast in an hour-long Fox show scheduled to start live at 6 p.m. Pacific time.

"This was a no-brainer; the [best] fight that was right in front of our face," UFC President Dana White said.

Unbeaten former Arizona State wrestler Velasquez (9-0, eight knockouts) and Brazilian Dos Santos (13-1, eight knockouts, three submissions) had been scheduled to fight Nov. 19 on a pay-per-view card in San Jose. White said he is compensating the fighters for the loss of pay-per-view income in order to change fight dates.

The UFC heavyweight title bout will be on the same night boxing's top pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao will fight Juan Manuel Marquez in a pay-per-view bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

White said he doesn't care how the boxing match fares in pay-per-view buys, although he likes Pacquiao.

UFC and Fox last month announced a seven-year deal worth $100 million annually that will place four fights a year on the network, while also airing the organization's popular "The Ultimate Fighter" reality television series and other live fights on the FX cable network.

White promised to give Fox big fight cards. He said the return of Velasquez from a year-long layoff following a torn rotator cuff versus the powerful Dos Santos is "the most prestigious match-up possible."

Velasquez's last fight was Oct. 23, 2010, at Honda Center, when he scored a first-round technical knockout of then-champion Brock Lesnar. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Dos Santos has defeated respected heavyweights Mirko Filipovic, Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin (the last by unanimous decision in June).

"Both guys have power," White said. "You saw what Cain did against Brock. Obviously, his game plan is to take down Junior Dos Santos, which no one has yet. If [Velasquez] can take it to the ground, it'll be interesting."

White said he is working on a replacement pay-per-view headliner for San Jose on Nov. 19.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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