Velasquez defended his UFC Heavyweight Championship by knocking out Silva in Round 1 once again on Saturday. UFC President Dana White announced in the post-fight press conference that the champ’s next opponent would be the only fighter to ever defeat him, dos Santos.
"No-brainer," said White of the Velasquez-dos Santos matchup according to Ben Fowlkes of USA Today. “If there was ever a trilogy, that's it right there. If you look at the way both fights went—Junior destroys (Velasquez) in the first fight, Cain destroys (dos Santos) in the second fight—I can't wait to see the third fight.”
In November of 2011 in UFC on Fox, dos Santos shocked Velasquez, knocking him out with punches 1:04 into the first round. Not only was that Velasquez’s first loss, but it was only the second time he failed to knock out his opponent as a professional mixed martial artist. A year later, Velasquez got his revenge, reclaiming his heavyweight title belt from dos Santos via unanimous decision.
In Velasquez-dos Santos III, expect a result closer to their most recent bout.
Dos Santos is more than talented enough to reclaim the title belt. ESPN ranked him as the No. 2 heavyweight in the world, behind only Velasquez. Health should be a concern, though.
Following their first bout, dos Santos suffered from a potentially fatal condition, rhabdomyolysis. WebMD describes this condition as “a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury” which “results from a breakdown of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream,” according to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports. He also endured major injuries against Frank Mir and prior to his first fight against Velasquez.
Injuries didn’t hold dos Santos back as he knocked out Mark Hunt in the third round of their UFC 160 bout, but his health concerns are starting to add up so it will difficult to unseat the scorching Velasquez.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.