Velasquez dominates Dos Santos at UFC 155
After 3 forgettable fights, which featured a lot of wrestling and only 1 stoppage, Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon gave us the true definition of 'fight of the night.' Miller came out early and just imposed his will, showing why he was a 2-1 odds on favorite by our friends in Vegas. He opened up Lauzon with dirty boxing and had many fearing the fight may not last due to the severity of the gash. And I mean gash.
However, Lauzon displayed tremendous wherewithal and fought back, despite the blood leaking directly into his eyes. It's amazing the fight was never stopped. Lauzon even had Miller in trouble on multiple occasions with heel hook submission attempts. The once comatose crowd cheered both competitors efforts; it was like a switch was flipped in the building and we heard noise. Just phenomenal heart by Lauzon to stay in the fight and go the distance. Impressive win for Miller in the most loaded division in the sport.
After Junior Dos Santos beat Cain Velasquez in 64 seconds 14 months ago, a lot of people called it a fluke. I had read or heard from so many who felt Junior just caught Cain with one good shot behind the ear, and that Cain was still the better fighter and would prove it in a rematch. Well, I must admit that I felt I never thought we would see what we did in the rematch.
In his first fight following the loss to Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez looked like a man possessed against Antonio 'Big Foot' Silva, and at UFC 155 his desire and dedication proved to be too much for the champion. After one successful take down, which Dos Santos quickly got up from, I felt Junior Dos Santos was in good shape. However, the game plan by Velasquez's corner at AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) was flawless.
Velasquez never stopped moving forward. It was quite astonishing to see Dos Santos back peddling, almost looking to leave the cage. Cain's will to regain his title was something that appeared to catch Dos Santos by surprise. And ironically it was Velasquez who rocked Dos Santos with a shot that dropped him. I immediately thought the end was near and that the title was going to change hands without there being a second round.
However, to the champion's credit, a battered and beaten Junior Dos Santos refused to give up. The man looked out on his feet, yet couldn't be finished. Now to Velasquez's credit, he was very methodical in his approach and knew that with one shot, he could be waking up wondering how he let a golden opportunity slip away. Now there's no doubt in my mind Velasquez wanted to finish the champion, but at the same time knew by the 4th round he was so far ahead on the scorecards, that winning was more important than the finish.
While impressed with Dos Santos for going the distance, I was just livid (as I'm sure his corner was) with his inability to keep his hands up. He just ate punches for 5 rounds. At the end of every round we heard via a translator, that he needs to keep his hands up. Now clearly he was gassed early on, but it actually appeared he gained a second wind, while Velasquez fatigued. There was a point in the 4th round where I started thinking about the Sonnen/Silva fight. The difference being Dos Santos getting the last second TKO or KO win to shock the world. Unfortunately that never came close to happening.
Two things infuriated me as I watched from my couch: They mentioned before the fight how Dos Santos just received his black belt in BJJ. If that's the case, how is it that at any point in the fight, Dos Santos never attempted to either pull guard or go for any kind of submission in certain positions? In the first round when Dos Santos was being clobbered while on all fours, I was screaming at the TV for him to roll into guard. It appeared that Junior's only focus was to get back up.
Any chance Dos Santos displaying his BJJ may have taken Cain by surprise? It is mind blowing to think Junior's camp didn't devise a game plan to utilize his BJJ considering the likelihood of him being on his back against a wrestler. One would think should there be a third fight (nothing is guaranteed in MMA due to injuries) attacking Cain with BJJ should be part of the game plan. A simple roll into guard, perhaps a triangle or arm bar attempt--anything to make Velasquez think or react to something new, which could always force a mistake. Ya never know.
The second and most surprising thing from Dos Santos was that he never threw a single combination. Now please tell me I'm wrong, but I didn't see it once in this fight. As Cain held him against the cage, I was yelling knee to the body, left cross, right uppercut. Again, I know fatigue played a huge part in how he fought. However, as I stated earlier, it appeared he regained his composure in the later rounds but still never tried anything different. I believe he finally executed a knee to the body in the 4th round that created space, however, he never followed up.
Dos Santos did land several good shots throughout the fight. Only problem being just one at a time. How do you go an entire fight without one combination? It was so frustrating to watch, especially when Velasquez was tiring. No doubt in my mind that Junior Dos Santos will learn a lot from this fight. All he needs to do now is expand his repertoire by utilizing some of those BJJ black belt skills in certain situations. To be considered great you have to display the total package.
And it’s scary to think how great Cain Velasquez can be should he ever implement BJJ to go along with his wrestling and striking. We all remember how dominant Matt Hughes became with his ability to finish fights courtesy BJJ. Cain’s desire and passion to be the best makes me think he will only get better as time goes on.
The Heavyweight division will be interesting going forward. We will get to see how good Daniel Cormier really is. Well, I mean when he enters the UFC, not against the no name he is fighting at the last Strikeforce show. Let’s all pray Alistair Overeem passes his pre fight drug test for his bout with Big Foot Silva on February 2nd. Based on how much Dos Santos was dominated against Velasquez, I’m inclined to believe their third fight will have to wait. Should Overeem defeat Silva, I’d be stunned if he doesn’t get the title shot. However, never count out Chael Sonnen as a last minute replacement for any title fight.