Junior dos Santos promised his trilogy fight at UFC 166 against Cain Velasquez would be much different than when he lost the heavyweight title at UFC 155. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, it wasn’t. Velasquez cemented his dominance in their rubber match with a fifth round TKO in Houston. The champion surprised many by electing to go toe-to-toe with the hard-hitting challenger in the opening moments of the fight. Both men got in some solid shots and it was the type of exchange that dos Santos was hoping to duplicate from his first fight — when he knocked out Velasquez in just 64 seconds.
As the fight wore on, it was the champion dictating the pace and controlling the action. He was able to keep a tiring dos Santos pressed against the cage while landing some solid right hands. The challenger’s face became as bloody and as swollen as it had been in their second encounter. While dos Santos once again showed tremendous heart, and actually landed a solid upper cut in the fourth round that definitely caught the champion’s attention, it was his second-straight defeat in the form of a brutal beat down. Unlike their previous battle, there would be no need to go to any scorecards. The end finally came at 3:09 of the fifth and final round, with a bloodied and exhausted dos Santos unable to continue.
Velasquez gave credit to his rival in the post-fight interview and will now look to some fresh challenges in the foreseeable future. Contenders for his belt include veteran Fabricio Werdum along with Josh Barnett and Travis Browne. It will take a tremendous effort by anyone to knock Velasquez from his current perch. The champion simply is an endurance machine in the Octagon, and his striking skills seem to be getting even better. That’s a scary proposition given that he now has 11 knockout wins in his 13 career victories.
As for dos Santos, he was gracious in defeat saying he ‘got beat up.’ There’s no denying that statement, and he promised he will continue to work on his game in the hopes of securing another title opportunity down the road. It would be hard to bet against that scenario unfolding. While Velasquez seems to have Dos Santos’s number, there’s nobody else in the heavyweight division that can make that claim.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports