Dos Santos vs Velasquez 2: 5 Reasons the Fight Exceeded Expectations
The bout was reminiscent of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Luckily, the rematch didn't end in another 64-second knockout. The world finally got to see what Velasquez and Dos Santos were truly about. Fans were treated to a wild and entertaining scrap involving the top-two heavyweights in the world.
In the end, Velasquez routed Dos Santos for the unanimous decision to recapture the UFC heavyweight title.
After the fight, Dos Santos grabbed the microphone from UFC commentator Joe Rogan, looked into the camera and spoke the same words Velasquez spoke when he lost the title a year ago.
"I'm going to come back, and I'm going to take my belt again," he said.
A great heavyweight rivalry was born on Saturday night. As of now, Velasquez and Dos Santos seem to be on an island in terms of skill in comparison to the rest of the heavyweight division.
Seeing as they are both incredibly young fighters, it wouldn't be surprising to see this rivalry extend to four or five fights.
For now, here are five reasons Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2 exceeded expectations.
Going the Distance
Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
For a year, Velasquez and Dos Santos fans have been spouting off the same arguments.
Velasquez fans claimed the first fight was a fluke, and Dos Santos wouldn't be able to stop any takedowns in the rematch.
Dos Santos fans felt like people were crying over spilt milk. The rematch would be much of the same, except maybe a little longer. It would consist of Dos Santos stuffing takedowns and landing that final haymaker to put the budding rivalry to an early conclusion.
Needless to say, it was a grown men's version of Team Jacob vs. Team Edward "Twilight" bickering all over again.
The bout didn't quite turn out the way people expected. Instead of a highlight-reel finish, the fight went the full 25 minutes, which finally gave fans a chance to see what Velasquez and Dos Santos were truly about.
While Velasquez proved his striking was more than formidable, Dos Santos was able to fend off a multitude of takedowns from arguably the greatest wrestler in the history of the heavyweight division.
Dos Santos’ Heart
Junior Dos Santos - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Most fighters would have given up if they experienced the same shellacking Dos Santos suffered at the hands of Velasquez.
Dos Santos was completely gassed, and his face looked like it had been put through a meat grinder. Still, he continued to fend off takedowns and land effectively in the standup exchanges for the full 25 minutes.
Velasquez threw everything but the kitchen sink, and Dos Santos was able to stand his ground. It was a fitting performance that displayed the heart of a true champion.
Cain Velasquez - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
If Dos Santos' heart gets credit, Velasquez's conditioning should get the same recognition.
There was a lot of emotion heading into this championship rematch. Velasquez likely suffered an adrenaline dump after nearly finishing Dos Santos in the first round.
It was the first time fans have ever really seen Velasquez winded in a fight.
With a nearly depleted gas tank, Velasquez willed his way to victory by staying aggressive and never letting off the pedal. There are few fighters in the history of combat sports to ever exhibit that same sort of toughness.
Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Dos Santos vs. Velasquez was definitely one of the more well-rounded heavyweight bouts in recent memory.
It was a fight that encompassed all of the physical and mental aspects of MMA.
This was the kind of bout UFC President Dana White was hoping for in the promotion's network debut on Fox.
Velasquez even attempted an armbar in the second round. There was world-class striking and grappling in a memorable battle of wills refusing to relent.
Cain Velasquez - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Hollywood couldn't write a better ending to Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2.
The loss certainly stings for Dos Santos and numerous fans, but for MMA as a whole, Velasquez getting even sets up one of the sport's most significant heavyweight rivalries.
UFC President Dana White was already getting bombarded with questions regarding a potential 2013 rubber match at the post-fight press conference. There are plenty of great heavyweights in the UFC, but Velasquez and Dos Santos seem to be in a world of their own.
Fans should expect this rivalry to extend beyond the traditional MMA trilogy.