In losing his second straight one-sided bout against UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 166, Junior dos Santos proved that Velasquez is head and shoulders above the rest of his competition at 265 lbs. While “Cigano” may be one of the toughest fighters to ever fight in MMA, he simply had no answer for the relentless onslaught that Velasquez implemented.
Dos Santos was battered and bloodied to the point where he thought he had been knocked out in the second round. Many (including Dana White and Chael Sonnen) thought Dos Santos’ cornermen should have absolutely thrown in the towel.
“Cigano” knows that perhaps his opponent fought a more cerebral bout while he let his emotions come into play. Dos Santos recently met up with Tatame to discuss how Velasquez fought “not to lose” (translated from Portuguese via Bloody Elbow):
“My strategy was to impose my game and, as always, get the knockout. Perhaps it was a more emotional strategy than a rational one. What was missing for me was the distance to finish my combinations. His goal was accomplished, as every time he felt one of my punches, he clinched and leaned into me, allowing himself enough time to recover. He showed that he had an effective strategy to win the fight, looking to play it safe while not taking many chances to show he was the better fighter, blocking my punches in a way that is typical of wrestlers. He applied pressure, grabbing hold of me and avoiding the fight, making the fight boring, making the audience boo a lot. An effective strategy to win, but he didn’t prove he was the better fighter.”
Dos Santos may feel that the champ clinched with him to avoid giving “Cigano” any distance to unleash his vicious combinations, and he’s right. It was the perfect strategy for negating the former champion’s glaring strength, as Velasquez and his team noticed that Dos Santos doesn’t fight nearly as well when moving backward.
It’s highly debatable that the fight was considered boring. It was more like a war that Dos Santos lost. In the end, it looked Velasquez had done nothing but prove he was the better fighter.
Dos Santos is still ranked as the number one heavyweight, but he won’t be getting another title shot anytime soon. Do you think Velasquez fought a boring fight, or did he do everything right to prove he was the superior fighter? Is this just a case of sour grapes from dos Santos?