The pair of fights between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez gave fans the type of contests we all like to see: in the first, a shocking and fast knockout and in the second, a grueling fight that went the distance.
And for that very reason, the UFC must absolutely schedule a finale to what could turn out to be one of the sport's most intriguing trilogies in years.
After Velasquez won back the UFC heavyweight title by battering dos Santos for five rounds and soundly dominating throughout on Saturday night, the potential for a third fight between the two may have been diminished in the eyes of some fans.
Don't be fooled—a third fight would be epic. And while it may not happen right away, expect these two to fight again. From the Associated Press (via CBC Sports):
UFC president Dana White said he expects the pair to have a third meeting at some point in the future, but former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem will likely earn the next crack at Velasquez should he prove victorious over Antonio Silva in February.
"I think Junior Dos Santos is going to have to take some time now and relax and heal up," White said. "Cain will probably fight again before he sees Junior if we do that rematch."
There are a lot of reasons a third fight needs to happen. Simple closure to the series is one reason. Another is the sheer unpredictability of the third fight.
Sure, Velasquez may have dominated the rematch, but he did so by making the proper adjustments and dictating the fight's style. (And yes, the fact that he was fully healthy also helped.) But if they fight again, why couldn't dos Santos make the key adjustments and turn the fight on its head?
Plus, dos Santos has proven two things in these fights. In the first, he proved that he's a devastating striker. In the second, he proved that he has the heart and chin to go the distance, even in a fight when he's clearly on the defensive.
Combine those two factors and you get a fighter who is capable of staying in a fight and knocking out his opponent at any juncture, even if he's being dominated throughout. You simply can't ever count dos Santos out.
Obviously, Velasquez will need to remain the title-holder if he does take on Overeem next, and Dana White will need to be convinced that finishing the trilogy will attract the fancy of the fans. I'm here to tell you that it should.
This series deserves a finale. Dos Santos deserves the chance to make a few adjustments of his own. Velasquez deserves the right to prove he is definitively the better fighter of the two.
Bring on the third fight!
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are all about the trilogies.