The rematch between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez will go down in the main event of UFC 155. It may be one of the most talked-about rematches in recent memory, given how their first meeting ended.
Velasquez and dos Santos met one another on the first-ever UFC card on the Fox network in Nov. of 2011. After a 30-minute pre-match lead-in, fans were hoping for an epic battle between two of the best heavyweights on the planet.
Instead, the end came swiftly, just 64 seconds into the contest.
Velasquez didn't quite look like himself, and the knee injury he had coming in likely played some part in his performance. But he also looked very tentative as well, something we hadn't seen from a guy who likes to push the pace, given his conditioning advantage over most heavyweights.
Dos Santos, to his own credit, fought with a damaged knee as well. He was able to land an overhand right to end the fight and capitalize on the opening for the finish.
Now both men will meet one another Saturday night to decide the future of the heavyweight division. Will the rematch play out in similar fashion?
Luckily, there's hope for a better fight the second time around.
For one, just as in team sports, it's very hard to dominate an opponent a second time. Both men have learned what to do and what not to do coming into the rematch. Training for months on end for the same opponent no doubt makes each man an expert on the other.
Another reason the rematch should outdo the first is Velasquez.
The former champion seems to have a different mindset coming into the rematch. Listening to him in the pre-fight interviews, Velasquez seems to realize he needs to be more aggressive and not wait for the champion to make the first move. As a popular saying in professional wrestling goes, "The challenger needs to beat the champion, a champion doesn't need to beat his challenger."
Velasquez knows he needs to come out and take the title from dos Santos, which should lead to some explosive striking exchanges. Or even better, Velasquez may get a takedown and make the champion fight off his back, something we've yet to see from dos Santos thus far in his UFC career.
With so many variables coming in, the rematch is bound to create just as much—if not more—anticipation for how the fight will play out. And, of course, greater anticipation creates greater interest in the fight.
It's very rare that a rematch ends in similar fashion as the first meeting, but given JDS' punching power, that could be a real possibility. Still, Velasquez seems to be focused on getting his belt back and won't go down without a fight this time.