Cain Velasquez dominated UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, earning back the title belt in the main event at UFC 155 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Velasquez smothered dos Santos, taking the belt back from the man who took it from him at the first UFC on FOX event in November 2011.
“This fight is the hardest fight I’ve ever been through,” Velasquez said following the win at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “I was so tired, but I kept thinking in my head — do it, do it, do it.”
Velasquez pressured the champion early and pushed the pace. A huge right hand dropped dos Santos, and the challenger continued to land strikes from top position. Velasquez secured several takedowns and decimated the champ in the first round.
Velasquez continued his assault in the second round. He scored more takedowns, punishing dos Santos in all aspects. The champion had little offense to offer and was noticeably wobbly throughout the round.
Dos Santos threw more strikes in the third round, but Velasquez continued to push forward. The challenger landed another right hand that sent dos Santos reeling back to the fence. Velasquez landed several more punches in the clinch and won the round.
Velasquez landed two more takedowns in the first half of the fourth round, continuing to show his dominance of dos Santos. Visibly exhausted, JDS defended himself as Velasquez pressed with the clinch against the cage through the end of the time period.
Dos Santos defended a takedown early on in the fifth round, and landed a left hand to the body of his opponent. Velasquez, however, took the champ down halfway through the round and worked from top position. JDS brought the fight back to the feet, but Velasquez continued to smother him, landing a headkick in the final minute to cap off the performance.
“I just know he’s going to be back stronger,” the newly-crowned champion said. “We’ll have to get better. That’s the name of the game.”
Dos Santos, experiencing his first loss in the octagon, said that it’s usual for him to take a punch like the one Velasquez landed in the first round — a punch that the now-former heavyweight champ never appeared to recover from.
In defeat, dos Santos vowed to Velasquez that he’d return to get back what was taken from him on Saturday night.
“I’m going to come back and I’m going to take my belt again,” JDS said following the fight.
The UFC 155 main event between dos Santos and Velasquez was a rematch of their first fight at UFC on FOX from last year. Dos Santos knocked Velasquez out in 64 seconds in their first meeting to earn the title.
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