The last UFC fight of 2012 was a rematch of the first UFC on Fox where the two best heavyweights in the world battled for the title: Junior “Cigano” dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez.
Both fighters went into their first match (in 2011) with knee injuries.
Then champion, Velasquez injured his ACL 14 days before the first fight. A video was released in the weeks before the rematch showing Cain grimacing in pain and clutching his left knee during a training session. It was reported that he tore it, but it is extremely unlikely Velasquez had a complete tear of his ACL. That would have required surgery and usually takes nine months to return to normal activities. He fought six months later at UFC 146. Georges St-Pierre was out for over a year with an ACL tear.
Velasquez has never given any details about the injury beyond saying: “I don’t think it was the best decision, but you know, I did it anyway, so it’s in the past. Junior was hurt, and I was hurt as well, so we’re just guys who get in there and fight.”
While training for the first meeting, Dos Santos tore the meniscus in his left knee and required surgery after the fight.
After his quick knockout in the first fight, defending champion, Dos Santos went into the rematch as the favorite. His punching is so powerful (responsible for ten knockouts in his first fourteen fights) that reporters were asking if he’d challenge one of the Klitschko brothers.
Velasquez was aggressive from the start, diving at Dos Santos’ lead leg. Dos Santos retreated and effectively defended against the takedown for the first two and a half minutes. With a minute and a half left in the first round Velasquez knocked down the champion with a hard overhand right to the head. Dos Santos never completely recovered and Velasquez dominated the rest of the fight with 11 takedowns, landing 111 strikes.
Cain won every round. The judges scored the bout 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43 for Velasquez. Read Jack Slack’s detailed analysis of how Cain beat JDS over at Bloody Elbow.
After the fight, Dos Santos revealed he was having personal issues and kidney trouble. His 10-year marriage ended just a few days before UFC 155 and he had elevated creatinine levels, discovered after the fight.
I’d like to see a rematch eventually, when both fighters are 100%. Each fighter has a dominant victory in their meetings. Velasquez demonstrated in the second fight that he can take Dos Santos down and Dos Santos showed that he can get back to his feet against the second best wrestler in the heavyweight division.
Ahead in the heavyweight division:
- If Alistair Overeem can pass his drug tests he should beat Bigfoot Silva in February and be next in line for a title shot.
- Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier looks like he could be a top heavyweight. He will make his UFC debut against Frank Mir at UFC on Fox 7 in April. Velasquez and Cormier train together at AKA gym in San Jose and say they won’t fight each other.