Typically in a rematch we have much more information to go on then we did prior to the fight, but in the case of Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez 2 at UFC 155, there is a possibility we have even less information. The fight lasted only 64 seconds, and at the end dos Santos had his hand raised while Velasquez was being peeled off the Octagon floor. What we know now is that it is highly likely that both fighters had nagging knee injuries going into the bout, and both have implied that they felt the need to go through with the fight because of the nature of the card. This fight would go on to be the most watched UFC match in the promotions history and FOX television had been promoting it for months.
The power of Dos Santos is something people are only beginning to understand. If you will indulge me, I was cageside for Dos Santos’ UFC debut against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90. I was astonished at the power and the noise it made when the upper cut landed that folded Werdum in just over 90 seconds into the fight. The speed was something I would come to appreciate later when i saw the replay, but it sounded like a car door had slammed shut from my seat. In person, I have only seen one other punch land like that, and that was when Fedor Emelianenko knocked out Brett Rogers.
Velasquez’s name was the first name out of almost everyone’s mouth when you asked them if there was any up-and-comers we should keep an eye on in California. So far he has lived up to the accolades in spades. Velasquez has a very quick first step that he can cover a lot of ground with, and while its not as pure looking as a regular wrestling take down, he can use his strength to quickly adjust and pull most of his opponents to the floor. Some of his past opponents, like Antonio Silva, thought ‘I am going to end up on the ground anyway so I should sharpen my jiu jitsu.’ This is a bad idea for anyone in the division as Cain has one of the most controlling top games in the sport. The best part about it, especially in the Silva fight, it doesn’t even look like he is doing much. He almost made it look effortless in the closing seconds of the fight.
Dos Santos isn’t going to make that mistake in this fight, while the Nogueira brown belt is far from a stranger to submission fighting, he will do all he can to keep this fight standing. Dos Santos boasts a take down defense percentage of 88% in UFC run so far, and while getting him down is one thing, keeping him there will be another story. While some fighters use their take-downs to set up their punches, like Velasquez for instance, dos Santos uses his take down defense to set up strikes.
When watching clips of Dos Santos training and fighting, it is easy to see the amount of time he spends on footwork and foot placement when he throws his punches. His technique is one of the reasons they contain so much force. Dos Santos’ ability to not only defend the take down, but force scrambles while he is doing it will be the key when Cain commits to take downs. I expect Cain to survive longer than 64 seconds, he definitely learned a bunch in the only minute they fought, but fans should expect dos Santos to be champion on Sunday morning.