In the UFC 166 main event, champion Cain Velasquez put his title on the line against #1 contender Junior Dos Santos, wrapping up the biggest trilogy in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
The fight opened extremely aggressively, with both fighters tagging each other in the opening seconds. A takedown from Velasquez and a guillotine attempt slowed the action, but only momentarily, as both fighters jockeyed for position against the cage. The two continued to trade bombs, with Velasquez attempting to bully his opponent up against the cage. Velasquez finally managed to drag Dos Santos to the ground, although he struggled to pass the half guard of Dos Santos.
A sweep attempt by Dos Santos nearly resulted in Velasquez taking his back, but JDS managed to scramble and escape, with the pair returning to the cage. Velasquez continued to pressure the challenger up against the fence as the first round closed, with a missed spinning back kick from Dos Santos ending the first five minutes.
Both fighters tagged each other with solid punches to open up the second stanza. The fight then returned to the fence, with Velasquez once again enforcing the clinch. Good head movement from JDS prevented Velasquez from doing much damage, but it looked like he was struggling to get off of the cage. Dos Santos was looking to tire a bit as he tried and failed to get any distance between him and the champ. A short-lived takedown by JDS changed it up a bit, but only for a few seconds, with the two once again finding themselves clinched up. Velasquez looked to punish JDS’s legs with a series of short knees, and was clearly hoping to drag JDS into the championship rounds. The strategy seems to be paying off, with JDS’s face beginning to swell as the second round ended.
JDS seemed completely powerless to keep Velasquez off of him as the third round began. Dos Santos was still in it though, throwing power shots whenever opportunities presented themselves, but Velasquez was having none of it. A huge right hand from Velasquez completely floored Dos Santos, and while the challenger was able to get to his feet, Velasquez continued to punish him against the fence. A battered Dos Santos seemed on the verge of defeat, but managed to ride out the last few minutes of round three.
Dos Santos showed a lot of heart as the fourth round began, with Velasquez unleashing a barrage of punches against an already shaky opponent. Luckily for JDS though, Velasquez was relentless in his control of the match, but seemed uninterested in finding the finish. Both fighters are bloody at this point, and the ref stepped in to have them checked by the doctor. Velasquez cuts the distance again after the reset, making it difficult for JDS to find space for his power shots. The punishment continued as the fourth round closes, with JDS’s chances of stopping Velasquez seeming more and more unlikely.
The doctor checks JDS again in between rounds, but he’s once again cleared to continue. Both of them came out swinging for the final round, with Velasquez finding an early takedown. Dos Santos managed to get to his feet, only to find himself against the cage again. Dos Santos rolled for a choke, but Velasquez easily slipped out. That was all he had left apparently, and the ref stepped in to end the fight as Velasquez moved to finish the exhausted Dos Santos.
With that win, Velasquez has sealed the deal on this trilogy, and established his position as the most dominant heavyweight on the planet.
In the post-fight interview, Velasquez stated that JDS seemed faster this time around, which explains why Velasquez was so adamant on cutting the distance. JDS likewise complimented his opponent and made no excuses, saying simply, “he beat me up, what can I say? He beat me up.”