Heading into the bout, it was thought that this might not be the last time the two would meet, and that they are classic rivals like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. I bought into that thinking too, because they are the top two heavyweights in the world.
They just aren't rivals. This isn't a competitive series. And nothing that happened at UFC 166 made me believe it will change.
The first fight was quick. Dos Santos caught Velasquez with a big shot and finished him. We didn't get to see a real fight. It was just over in the blink of an eye. All credit goes to the heavy-handed Dos Santos, but it left questions to be answered in their second bout.
So, they met again after a Velasquez win over Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC 146.
And Velasquez mugged Dos Santos.
He beat and battered him for 25 minutes. The UFC promotional line was how tough Dos Santos was in the fight. Velasquez couldn't finish him, and maybe when they met again, Dos Santos would make the adjustments to make it a classic trilogy.
The third installment was more of the same. Instead, Velasquez got the finish this time.
Entering UFC 166, there was a lot of talk about "Cigano's" new techniques to avoid overtraining. That was why he got beat in the second meeting, right? No. He got beat because Velasquez is a superior fighter. By quite a bit.
If they meet for a fourth time, I cannot envision it going any other way. Either Dos Santos lands an early punch that ends the fight, or Velasquez dominates him. In either scenario, it is not a competitive fight. That is a problem.
Dos Santos has more opportunities for close fights. He has had entertaining bouts with numerous opponents.
Meanwhile, Velasquez massacres his competition. It is still fun to watch but in a different manner. With one fighter, we get fun fights. With the other, we get fun yet dominant performances.
The UFC wanted this to be a competitive trilogy. I wanted this to be a competitive rivalry too. It just didn't happen. They may meet again, but don't expect fireworks like we have seen with other trilogies and rivalries. Expect what we have already seen.
Perhaps sometime in the future, Velasquez will find a true foil—someone to rival him in fun, competitive bouts. Dos Santos just is not that man.