Junior dos Santos silenced those who still haven’t hopped aboard his suddenly-overcrowded bandwagon.
In five Octagon fights, dos Santos has finished all of his opponents, including Gabriel Gonzaga at “UFC on Versus : Vera vs. Jones” on Sunday night, and made a legitimate case as to why he deserves a title shot.
Although he was a favorite heading into his heavyweight clash with Gonzaga, dos Santos still had had to answer questions about his grappling and wrestling skills.
The one time he was in danger, dos Santos avoided giving Gonzaga his back and stood right back up, showing his improved wrestling after extensive training with former two-time Big 12 champion and UFC middleweight, Mark Munoz.
Although dos Santos was the smaller fighter, his speed kept Gonzaga off-balance as he put the former top contender down with a left hook, which he immediately followed up with a barrage of vicious strikes to earn a knockout victory at 3:53 in the First Round.
Many were upset that dos Santos had been left out of the heavyweight title picture after it was announced that champion Brock Lesnar would be returning to the Octagon.
With an interim championship bout slated between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir at “UFC 111 : St-Pierre vs. Hardy” this Saturday, Lesnar’s next challenger is all but finalized, but dos Santos may now be in prime position to face fellow top contender Cain Velasquez to determine who gets the next shot after that.