Last night the UFC held its first free card on FOX Television following the multi-year deal Dana White and company just signed. They showcased two of the best heavyweights on their roster, Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. The fight didn't disappoint.
On paper, this fight looked like it could be going the way of the champion. His tremendous cardio and wrestling skills looked like they would be too much to handle for Dos Santos.
Dos Santos' best skill is his boxing ability, but many questioned how much he would get to use it.
Dos Santos further cemented his ability as a top striker, and proved that his takedown defense is atop the division. JDS hit Velasquez with a big right hand in the first round, and finished off the champion methodically.
Dos Santos appears to just be a really good striker who lands knockout punches, but his gameplanning can't be overlooked.
Velasquez is a top-level wrestler, and is a nightmare when he gets the fight to the ground. Dos Santos knew this, and used good footwork to keep at a distance. By staying a comfortable distance and going in and out with strikes, Dos Santos kept Velasquez at a place where he would have to telegraph a takedown attempt.
Dos Santos also threw a lot of straight right hands when the two fighters got close. This quicker punch made it difficult for Velasquez to counter or go for the shot. JDS also mixed punches to the head and the body, which kept Velasquez on his toes.
By being able to keep the fight standing, Dos Santos had it right where he wanted it. Less than a minute into the first round, he threw a big overhand right that knocked Velasquez down.
Once Velasquez hit the mat, Dos Santos made sure to maintain control and throw accurate shots from the top. This was very smart, because if Velasquez had managed to recover it would have been a different fight on the ground.
Dos Santos still has questions surrounding his takedown defense and ground game, but so far, it looks impenetrable. If the new champion can keep his fights standing, the UFC heavyweight division could be in for a lot more knockouts.
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