With a quick knockout victory over Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos captured the UFC heavyweight championship during the UFC's debut on FOX. Still, the fight left fans wanting more—after all, it was just 64 seconds long.
Velasquez was the favorite heading into the bout, but his decision to stand and trade with dos Santos made it a very short night.
Still, there are plenty of reasons to believe that Velasquez will work his way back to another title shot and why a rematch could go entirely differently.
The last bout for Cain Velasquez before his title fight with Junior dos Santos was back on October 23, 2010 at UFC 121. That night, he dethroned Brock Lesnar to earn the UFC heavyweight championship, but he suffered a torn rotator cuff in the process. The injury was rather severe—a 90 percent tear of the tendon, which necessitated six to eight months of recovery time and extensive physical therapy.
It's not clear whether or not this affected Velasquez on fight night, but he did appear more apprehensive than usual, though that could also have been due to Velasquez's respect for the hands of dos Santos.
Velasquez came into the bout weighing 249 pounds, just a bit more than his previous bout where he was 244 pounds.
Dos Santos is an extremely dangerous opponent to return to, and any "ring rust" Velasquez may have been dealing with would put him at a severe disadvantage on the feet, where dos Santos is most capable of finishing the fight.
After winning the title, Junior dos Santos revealed in the post-fight interview that he entered this bout scared and injured. The scared part was reasonable—he was fighting an undefeated, seemingly unstoppable Cain Velasquez—but the injured part was astounding.
Dos Santos told Ariel Helwani after the bout that he tore his meniscus just 11 days before the fight, spending two days on crutches.
Despite the victory, Dos Santos must have clearly been affected by such a severe injury. Fans would always rather see two fighters at 100 percent.
The entire fight was discussed with the agreement that Junior dos Santos needed to keep this fight standing. Velasquez is clearly the superior grappler, and if he managed to drag "Cigano" to the mat, he could end it there.
Velasquez made that easy for dos Santos, as he only made one half-hearted attempt to catch a kick, but otherwise made no effort to bring the fight to the ground.
Even though the fight was only 64 seconds long, Velasquez was too comfortable standing and trading with such an incredible knockout artist.
Perhaps he underestimated dos Santos's hands or was overconfident due to his knockouts of Ben Rothwell, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar. Either way, no man should stand in front of "Cigano" if they can help it.
Ultimately, Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez are still the two best heavyweights in all of mixed martial arts. Sure, dos Santos scored a decisive victory this time around, but it clearly could be different next time.
Velasquez still has the advantage in both the stamina and grappling departments.
It seems to be a certainty that a man with Velasquez's determination and drive will be challenging for the title again soon. He is an intelligent fighter and improves every time he competes. The former champion will be a better man the next time he fights and will learn from his mistakes.