Every MMA heavyweight on the planet just found another reason to avoid fighting Cain Velasquez at all costs: He's improved his stand-up game.
Velasquez dismantled Junior Dos Santos to reclaim the UFC's heavyweight crown on Saturday night, doing most of his damage while going toe-to-toe.
The fight had a high level of intensity right out of the gate as the two began trading punches. This should have played right into Dos Santos hands, but it didn't.
Velasquez dropped Dos Santos with a huge overhand right, and the tone was set before the first round ended. In fact, it is a testament to Dos Santos' determination that he made it out of the first round as Cain went for a vicious ground-and-pound following the knockdown.
The second round began with more boxing, and Cain proved to be the better boxer. His defense was solid and he was landing his punches. He soon turned that into multiple takedowns, and at that point, the fight was all but over.
Dos Santos battled and he would not give up, but he also was never a serious threat to win this fight as Cain went on to win in a unanimous decision.
Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole tweeted out the lopsided results.
Cain wins 50-45, 50-44, 50-43— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) December 30, 2012
The win improves Velasquez's record to 11-1, and it avenges his only professional loss which came at the hands of Dos Santos. Cain was fighting injured in that one, but it was still his deficient boxing skills that led to his defeat in the first round.
Dos Santos had to be hoping and planning for a similar fate the second time around. He was content to stay on his feet and let this fight play out that way in the early going. He just couldn't find any spots to land his punishing blows.
With this performance, every fighter is going to have to reevaluate their game plan for attacking Velasquez. Prior to this, the school of thought was that damage would have to be done while he was on his feet. His takedowns and ground-and-pound are too overwhelming.
However, Cain showed off his quickness and defense, as well as crisper, more accurate punches.
The 30-year-old has never looked like a more complete fighter in the octagon than he did on Saturday night. He has no weaknesses, and there is now very little that opponents can look to try and exploit.
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