Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos have been billed as opponents who may face each other three, four or five times over the course of their respective careers. They are the two best heavyweights in the world, and as such, it can be expected that there will continually be moments when it feels natural to square them off. After all, if nobody else can beat them, it's only logical that they face each other.
After the conclusion of UFC 166, Junior dos Santos may want to rethink that logic.
Saturday's main event from Houston was almost an exact replay of Velasquez and dos Santos' matchup last year. If that was one of the most one-sided beatings in UFC title fight history—and it almost certainly was—UFC 166 brought about more of the same. Velasquez used his relentless pace and wrestling to smother and tire dos Santos out early, then shifted into overdrive as the fight wore on.
This time around, though, it was Velasquez who landed the bigger punches. Dos Santos connected several times throughout the fight, but Velasquez used his momentum to plow through almost everything thrown his way before throwing brutal overhand strikes of his own.
There is no heavyweight in the world who can match Velasquez at his best. By the middle of the fourth round, dos Santos was exhausted and nearly finished by the heavyweight champion. But somehow, and I don't know how, dos Santos survived. His incredible heart took him long past the point where many men would have quit. Sitting cageside, I practically begged the inept Texas commission doctors who were repeatedly called into the cage to check on dos Santos to please, please just stop the fight.
They did not. Even when dos Santos answered a question of "are you all right" with mumbling, incoherent nonsense, the Texas doctors saw fit to allow him to continue. Thankfully, Velasquez finished the job for the commission in the fifth round, but not before dos Santos endured a beating far worse than he should.
What we learned Saturday night, if I had to distill it into a nice, tidy package, is that Velasquez is far and away the best heavyweight in the world. Dos Santos may be the second best—especially with the departure of Daniel Cormier to the light heavyweight division—but he's simply not in the same class as Velasquez.
That's OK, though. Because nobody is in the same class as Velasquez. And it's possible that nobody ever will be.
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