UFC 160 proved to be very a insightful event. It provided many answers to questions fans have been asking since last December. Of course I am referring to the possible outcome of a third bout between current UFC champion Cain Velasquez and newly-minted number one contender Junior dos Santos. Since both fighters emerged victorious in their respective bouts Saturday night, not only have they set themselves up for a fantastic trilogy, but they have now set the stage for one of the most anticipated heavyweight title bouts in UFC history.
After watching Velasquez drop challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva with a classic combination, we saw Velasquez finish the fight on the ground, this time in a slightly different manner. He didn’t take Silva down and ground and pound his way to a victory; this time we saw him knock Silva down first with a perfect, short and compact 1-2 combination, then finish with strikes on the ground in typical Velasquez fashion. The destination was the same, the road wasn’t.
On the flip side of that coin, his next challenger, Dos Santos, finished his bout against the always tough “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt in a slightly different manner as well, albeit with strikes. After going toe-to-toe with Hunt for two and a half rounds and most likely finding himself ahead on the score cards, “Cigano” took a risk and threw a spinning wheel-kick that grazed Hunts forehead. The kick landed squarely enough to stun and drop Hunt – just enough for Dos Santos to pounce on him for the finish. Even though it was generally expected that Dos Santos would want a ground battle with the heavy-handed Hunt, he only took him down once in the entire bout.
The point of my analysis above is this: there was nothing in both of these fighters’ respective bouts that would lead me to believe that a third bout between them would be any different than their second fight. Of course, I chose to use their second bout as the point of reference because that bout went five full rounds and therefore there is a lot more material to study than their short, one-round encounter on UFC on FOX 1. Velasquez used his strikes to get the fight to the ground where he can excel, and Dos Santos used his striking until he put his opponent to sleep. Unless Dos Santos can land that heavy right hand on Velasquez again, chances are we are going to see a similar fight between these two men when they meet for the third time.
There will be some variation in that third encounter. Perhaps Dos Santos will know better than to back away straight up knowing now what he does about Velasquez’s power, and perhaps Velasquez will know to stand clear of Dos Santos’ overhand right. Obviously in an MMA bout, anything can and usually does happen, but if I was a betting man, a repeat of what outcome would I bet on? A sixty-four second knockout, or twenty-five minutes of utter domination? The answer is clear to me.
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