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SportsMixed Martial Arts

When will Gabriel Gonzaga win a big fight?

Gabriel Gonzaga celebrates his victory over Mirko Cro

Gabriel Gonzaga celebrates his victory over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70. (April 21, 2007) Photo Credit: UFC Photo

He can beat you with his hands (ask Chris Tuchscherer). He can beat you with his feet (ask Mirko Cro Cop). He can beat you with his jiu-jitsu (ask Justin McCully).

So why is that UFC heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga can't win the big fight?

In possession of every skill you want in a big man, Gonzaga has struggled to have his hand raised in the two biggest fights of his career. He was TKO'd by Randy Couture at UFC 74 in 2007 when he fought for the title. At UFC 96 in 2009, with a potential title shot on the line, he got knocked out by Shane Carwin.

You can chalk some of that up to the old "anything can happen in a fight" adage, but that has to be something more than that.

Gonzaga (11-4) has a chance to prove doubters wrong on Sunday at UFC Live on Versus when he fights Junior Dos Santos, the next heavyweight star in the making. Dos Santos (10-1) has big hands that have knocked out three of his four UFC opponents (Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Gilbert Yvel).

Gonzaga knows about big hitters. He dominated Carwin in their bout, pinning him against the cage and nearly getting the submission victory. Somehow, Carwin got back to his feet and delivered a right hand that sent Gonzaga collapsing to the ground like a poorly made paper airplane.

The heavyweight division in the UFC is extremely intriguing these days. Plenty of future stars in the division, including Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez and Brendan Schaub, to name a few. Dos Santos can handle a loss at UFC Live and bounce back. Gonzaga, not so much.

VIDEOGabriel Gonzaga pre-fight interview
VIDEOJunior Dos Santos pre-fight interview

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