3 Things Junior Dos Santos Could Have Done Differently at UFC 155
Velasquez left no doubt that he is the best heavyweight in the world in a surprisingly one-sided unanimous decision victory over Dos Santos.
Despite a lopsided showing, it's tough to criticize Dos Santos for his heartfelt performance. He took a serious beating in the first round, and it's a miracle he was even able to stand for a full 25 minutes.
Velasquez is arguably the best wrestler in heavyweight history and his conditioning is second to none. Yet, a broken down Dos Santos still managed to fend off numerous takedowns and hang around in the standup exchanges.
There are definitely some positives to take away from his performance and apply in the inevitable rubber match.
Here are three things Dos Santos could have done differently at UFC 155.
Better Boxing Defense
Junior Dos Santos is the best boxer in the entire heavyweight division, but he still shows deficiencies in his striking defense.
He typically approaches fights with a "my chin is stronger than yours" mentality. His defense is often porous, and he is willing to take a punch to land one.
While Dos Santos boasts a titanium chin, this strategy didn't hold up against Velasquez, who is a vastly underrated striker. Velasquez bested the standup exchanges due to his ability to mix things up and keep Dos Santos guessing.
Dos Santos should have kept his hands up and maintained a lower stance to defend strikes and fend off takedowns. He should also work to improve checking leg kicks. The low kick was there all day for Velasquez.
Dos Santos gassing is probably attributed to getting tagged by a massive overhand right by Velasquez in the first round.
After getting dropped, Dos Santos appeared to be fighting on instinct for the rest of the fight, which opened up more opportunities for Velasquez to land strikes and secure takedowns.
It's tough for any fighter stuck underneath a strong wrestler. You typically lose a lot of energy when forced to carry someone else's weight for extended periods of time. Velasquez was relentless with his pressure and takedowns, and it overwhelmed Dos Santos.
It wouldn't be fair to say Dos Santos should've worked harder on his conditioning. He appeared to be in the best shape of his life, and despite slowing down at times, he has never shown a major cardio meltdown in previous fights.
Conditioning for Dos Santos ties into boxing defense. He has to protect himself from taking unnecessary damage.
More Well-Rounded Approach
Velasquez isn't necessarily a better boxer than Dos Santos, but he was able to land consistently due to a more well-rounded attack.
When dealing with Dos Santos, all a fighter typically has to worry about are punches. He rarely throws kicks, and any form of a takedown is usually out of the question.
If Dos Santos mixed up his offense more, it would have given him more openings to land that fight-ending strike. Velasquez is a world class wrestler, but he isn't immune to being taken down.
It would've been interesting to see Dos Santos change levels for a takedown during some of the tireless clinch struggles against the cage. He could've also mixed things up with some dirty boxing and elbows.
It's easy to understand why he avoided the kicking game against Velasquez, who seems to sniff out every opportunity to secure a takedown.
Dos Santos has to find a way to mix things up to keep opponents guessing, or he'll continue to struggle against well-rounded wrestlers like Velasquez and Daniel Cormier.