For a heavyweight trilogy to play out like it did, maybe Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos wasn't really a trilogy to begin with.
The first encounter was so short and abrupt that it almost escapes the mind when you look at Velasquez's body of work over the last 10 rounds.
He's dominated JDS from start to finish, taking him down at will, exhausting him before the championship rounds, making his face look like mashed potatoes and keeping the belt around his own waist.
So even thought it's going to seem as if their rivalry—if you can call it that—was a trilogy, looking at the champ's accomplishments last night and in the past should take precedence over all.
Here are the pivotal moments from UFC 166's main event showdown and why Velasquez ultimately separated himself from "Cigano" in the record books.
It was important for Velasquez to withstand an early barrage of strikes by the challenger.
He needed to prove that the first fight wasn't what it seemed. He needed to showcase a good chin that could survive round-by-round punishment from one of the best knockout specialists the UFC has ever seen.
Well, as history will have it, Velasquez stood his ground from the opening bell to the last, withstanding titanic blows from dos Santos, who was merely looking for a one-punch, flashy finish.
It was not only pivotal to absorb the challenger's best shot in the early seconds of this third clash, but it was vital to eat every single desperation punch thrown in the championship rounds.
Velasquez excelled and his chin prevailed.
It was evident that Velasquez was not going to shy away from taking dos Santos down again.
It worked so well in their last fight, so why not?
For the champion, securing a takedown early was only going to help the rest of his game. It eventually opened up JDS for kicks, punches, advantageous angles and most importantly, an easy clinch.
If anything can be taken away from Velasquez's wrestling Saturday night it should be that it ultimately left dos Santos vulnerable to being caught.
He wasn't pestered on the ground at all. Most of Velasquez's damage was done against the cage, and that was caused by the challenger's inability to defend all things at once.
To much surprise, dos Santos defended the takedown very well Saturday night.
He never looked to be in trouble off his back, and when he was there he was able to to get back to his feet fairly quickly.
Dos Santos trained so hard for such success that it has to be the one positive he can take away from such a devastating defeat.
However, even though the Brazilian boxer kept the fight where he wanted it, Velasquez's pressure along the cage was too overwhelming for "Cigano" to push off, find his range, land heavy shots and crumble the champion one more time.
Maybe JDS would have been better off letting Velasquez take him down and force his presumably elite jiu-jitsu to take over.
No matter the outcome of a fight, cuts aren't something fighters want to deal with.
They spark immediate attention from cageside physicians and often affect the way a fighter deals with action inside the Octagon.
This was never more evident than Saturday night.
Sure, dos Santos was badly hurt before Velasquez landed a skin-splitting elbow midfight, but the cut bothered JDS so much that he kept touching it for the remainder of the bout.
At times it didn't even seem like it was the blood in his eyes that was bothering him. Maybe it hurt, maybe it just felt awkward.
Whatever it was, dos Santos never seemed to catch his wits, and the crimson running down Velasquez's back was proof of just that.
At least it wasn't as bad as Diego Sanchez's cut, which seemed to implode his entire eyebrow.
So much was said about Velasquez's inability to finish dos Santos last time that it seemed to almost take away from his five-round beatdown.
People were looking at each of the first two fights and remarking about the fact that JDS had every tool in his bag to finish Velasquez at any point, while the champion didn't possess such moxie.
But after dismantling his opponent for another four rounds and change, Velasquez's collection of strikes and cardio-draining pressure ultimately led to JDS's first TKO loss of his career.
It was icing on the cake for a guy like Velasquez, who somehow found criticism after his last beheading of "Cigano."
So, as far as the fight was concerned, and even more so his legacy, the champ's ability to stop one of the most prolific divisional threats of all time speak volumes of his historic potential.
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