Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos: Can Dos Santos Dominate the HW Division?

Michael MagoulisCorrespondent INovember 14, 2011

Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC vs Getty Images
Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC vs Getty Images

The historic UFC on FOX event has come to a close, and if you blinked, you may have missed the 64 seconds that actually mattered. In that time, Junior dos Santos went from No. 1 contender to UFC Heavyweight Champion, handing Cain Velasquez his first career loss.

Dos Santos won by knockout in the first round—something mixed martial arts fans have seen quite a few times before. He's done the same to Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Gilbert Yvel and Gabriel Gonzaga in his UFC career.

In his two fights before the title, dos Santos won by decision. It was the only two times in his career that a fight went to the judges, but they were nevertheless completely dominant performances.

Over the course of his eight UFC bouts, "Cigano" went from unknown prospect to heavyweight champion. In the process, he has never lost a round, nor has he ever been in danger of having that happen. Dos Santos is on one of those incredible runs MMA fans rarely witness: completely dominant performances against the best fighters in the world.

What may be the most frightening thing for the heavyweight division is the fact that the current champion is just 27 years old and has only been fighting since 2006. The man will only continue to improve. In addition, he trains with with the likes of Anderson Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, so it's very unlikely he'll ever get complacent in the gym.

While dos Santos has been devastating up until this point, the fact that he's never faced any adversity in the cage leaves a few unanswered questions. Is he capable of fighting five rounds? Can he fight off of his back?

Dos Santos is certainly a boxing focused fighter, but he does possess a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under the Nogueira brothers. His one career loss has been by submission, but that was in just his sixth professional bout against Joaquim Ferreira—a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt himself.

Dos Santos may not be submitting opponents off of his back, but he seems very aware what his strength is. As a result, he will keep the fight where he has the best chance of winning: on the feet. Instead of trying his hand at grappling, he'll work to get right back up. Cain Velasquez, for example, seemed to ignore his clear grappling advantage and was handed his first loss as a result.

Although it's possible that dos Santos may struggle with a competent wrestler like Brock Lesnar, he has fared well against quality wrestlers such as Velasquez and Shane Carwin. He has also distinguished himself as the best striker in the heavyweight division, and because the fight starts standing, every opponent he faces will have to deal with his hands.

The UFC heavyweight championship hasn't stayed in one man's hands for very long, but "Cigano" certainly has the tools to hold onto it for a while.