Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Cain Velasquez was flattened by one big right hand in his first meeting with Junior dos Santos. However, aside from that one powerful punch, Velasquez has mostly controlled things when standing against dos Santos in this series.
In his second meeting with the Brazilian, Velasquez's pressure was overwhelming. Only three minutes into the first round Velasquez had dos Santos fading due to his relentless forward movement and takedown attempts.
Dos Santos carries his hands low to begin with, so tiring him opens up even more holes.
Late in the opening stanza of his second bout with Velasquez, dos Santos began backpedaling and throwing jabs, hoping the round would end soon enough for him to grab a breather before getting clocked by the then-challenger.
After eating a hook (top left), dos Santos lowered his hands and took a deep breath (top right) before trying to slow Velasquez's onslaught with a jab (bottom left). Much fresher and knowing dos Santos didn't have the energy to follow his jab with a second or third punch, Velasquez blasted his opponent with a right hand as the recoiled (bottom right).
This sequence led to a knockdown that seemingly sucked the life from dos Santos for the remaining rounds. Offensively, dos Santos is a great striker, but he leaves gaping openings defensively as he fatigues and fails to bring punches back to his chin.
Even before he starts to slow, he is far from impossible to touch. When throwing his left hand, dos Santos usually carries his right hand chest high, leaving himself susceptible to left hooks.
Prior to being stopped by dos Santos, Velasquez recognized that opening and landing multiple left hooks in the first meeting between the two heavyweights.
As dos Santos loaded up for a left to the body (top), he left his right hand hanging out to the side, and Velasquez capitalized with a left hook to the chin. Even when throwing his right hand (bottom), dos Santos would put himself in jeopardy by initiating his strike with his fist at his hip.
While dos Santos bounced back from his loss to Velasquez with a win over Mark Hunt, this tendency doesn't seem to be something the Brazilian corrected.
Less than two minutes into his fight with Hunt, dos Santos was already swinging his left hand while holding his right at chest level (left). The savvy striker that he is, Hunt answered with a left hook that staggered dos Santos (right).
Evading 60 percent of strikes thrown at him, dos Santos' striking defense is tighter than all Velasquez's past opponents except Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Jake O'Brien. However, Velasquez stopped both of those men and landed 111 times in his second bout with dos Santos.
With more effective kicking and the left hook to lean on, Velasquez is capable of winning a striking match with dos Santos. He'll just have to be sure to avoid going to the left hook too frequently, as will be touched on shortly.