Cain Velasquez: An In-Depth Analysis of Velasquez's UFC 155 Performance

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

Cain Velasquez: An In-Depth Analysis of Velasquez's UFC 155 Performance

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    After putting together quite possibly the most dominating performance ever in a UFC heavyweight championship bout, Cain Velasquez has in turn transformed into a quintessential untouchable prodigy.

    Opposite Junior dos Santos, the very man who knocked him out 13 months ago and the very man who people considered unstoppable, Velasquez inflicted as much damage as a fighter could do without securing a finish.

    Through five-straight rounds, the 30-year-old demolished dos Santos' very essence as a punishing boxer.  Velasquez beat him on the feet, against the cage, on the ground and in the clinch.  More importantly, he beat him mentally.

    Here's an in-depth analysis and review of Velasquez's dominance at UFC 155 en route to reclaiming the heavyweight title he lost last year.

Striking

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    Cain Velasquez did something Saturday night that no other fighter has ever done.  He beat Junior dos Santos at his own game.

    An early takedown in the first round made it difficult for dos Santos to open up on his feet and really let his boxing take over.  In turn, Velasquez was able to get inside quicker, land shots, circle away and swing for the fences again.

    It was truly something to watch. 

    For every punch that dos Santos threw, Velasquez came back tenfold, landing a career-high 111 significant strikes.  In fact, Velasquez became the first fighter in UFC history to record triple digits in strikes and double digits in takedowns (11).

    That statistic alone suggests that Velasquez put on one of the most prolific performances in UFC heavyweight championship history.

    But what made his striking even more impressive at UFC 155 was his ability to defend.  On average, dos Santos landed just a little over 11 strikes per round, which is absurd considering the success he's had in the past.

    There's a reason Velasquez's career striking defense is upwards of 60 percent.

Closing the Distance

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    Closing the distance was something Cain Velasquez was unable to do the first time he met Junior dos Santos inside the Octagon.

    Whether or not that was due to an apparent knee injury, Velasquez took matters much more seriously the second time around.  He was able to close distance with ease, making dos Santos pedal back into the fence time and time again.

    It offered Velasquez a turn to land more inside strikes, specifically body shots, while keeping dos Santos' power at bay.

    The bottom line is that whenever a tough wrestler like Velasquez, one who loves to suffocate opponents, can close the distance like it's second nature, fights are going to go his way.

    Never has dos Santos looked so confused on his feet and never has Velasquez looked so good.  All of that can be attributed to Velasquez's ability to get in and out of strikes quickly and pressure dos Santos from every angle.

Cagework

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    Most of the time when a heavyweight grasps on to an opponent along the cage, it's an attempt to regain composure, rebuild stamina, maintain pressure and score points.

    In Cain Velasquez's case at UFC 155 against Junior dos Santos, it was to bewilder his opponent into physical submission. 

    At times, it looked like Velasquez was toying with dos Santos.  Dragging him along the cage, peppering him with multiple rib shots at a time and strangling his very will to compete at full capacity.

    There was little belief entering the later rounds that dos Santos was ever going to be able to regain his composure and land some strikes.  He was actually able to comeback slightly, but whenever he made a push to inflict damage, Velasquez threw him against the cage with ease.

    Top-notch cage work by one of the best in the business.

Takedowns

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    As previously mentioned, Cain Velasquez took Junior dos Santos down a total of 11 times.

    That's not only a career high for Velasquez, but it was one of the most dominating performances in UFC history.  Not to mention he added 111 significant strikes.

    In any case, Velasquez is going to shine when he's able to implement his wrestling.  It was his best takedown performance since notching seven against Cheick Kongo back in 2009.  Ironically, that one went the distance, as well.

    Coming into the fight, dos Santos was supposed to be an unstoppable defender.  He had only surrendered two takedowns in his entire UFC career, and possessed an arsenal of strikes and defenses that normally stifled the division's best wrestlers.

    That's all well and good, but there's a reason Velasquez has recorded 27 total takedowns over his first 10 UFC fights, which is a UFC heavyweight record.  The guy is that damn good.

Lasting Impression

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    Cain Velasquez has never looked so good.  His performance was literally an awe-inspiring spectacle.

    Throughout his entire career, whether it be his victory over Brock Lesnar to capture his first UFC heavyweight title or his bloody affair opposite the formidable Antonio Silva, Velasquez's will to win has never looked so empowering.

    His record-setting performance of 111 strikes alongside 11 successful takedowns is borderline unbelievable, especially against such a well-rounded fighter as Junior dos Santos.

    At this point in his career, if he can get past Alistair Overeem sometime in 2013, Velasquez has to be considered one of the best heavyweights to ever fight.

    His strike defense, takedown offense, clinch game, high motor and iron heart all culminate into a wrecking ball of a champion that has what it takes to rack off at least five-straight title victories.

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