At the UFC 155 pre-fight press conference, a journalist commented that the fight between UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and challenger Cain Velasquez would be a battle of wrestling versus boxing. UFC President Dana White took to the microphone and refuted the statement. In his mind, it would not be a contrast in styles, as both fighters are complete and equally adept in their skills on the ground and standing.

After last evening’s five-round war, we see that White was right. What we witnessed at UFC 155 was not a fight between wrestling and boxing, but rather a case of boxing versus boxing—a 25-minute affair mostly contested on the feet.

This rematch kicked off with a high drive on the part of Velasquez, outlining a strategy to not stand still at any moment of combat. This movement left dos Santos a bit confused. He managed to block several takedowns, swaying the morale in favor of the Brazilian. Velasquez, at certain moments of the first round, appeared to be frustrated.

But soon the scene changed. Velasquez began to impose himself in the fight, showing his boxing. One, two, three punches hit the face of dos Santos, rocking the Brazilian. The champion seemed not to believe what was happening and still blocked the takedowns, but he left his guard down.

So in the second, third, fourth and fifth rounds, it was boxing against boxing. There were some moments of the fight contested on the floor, but dos Santos managed to escape and return to his feet, but soon Velasquez was back on the offensive with even more striking.

Dos Santos showed an impressive heart and determination. Many fighters in his situation would not have held out even past the second round, but he displayed a chin of steel and the courage to follow through. Through 25 minutes, a total of five rounds, there seemed to be no end to the Brazilian warrior.  He is just six years into his professional fight career and only has four years with the UFC, but dos Santos is a phenom and deserves respect.

There are no invincible fighters. We’ve seen big names in MMA suffer a major defeat at some point in their careers—fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Lyoto Machida, Wanderlei Silva, Cain Velasquez and others have all suffered a loss during their storied careers.

Velasquez grew up in the game. His strategy was perfect,  as he moved the entire time and destabilized his opponent. He proved to be a complete fighter, not just a wrestler. He had patience to manage the fight, and he was able to connect with his devastating blows. Velasquez came focused, thought only about regaining his belt, and spent a year thinking about this fight against dos Santos.

Velasquez lost the first fight, but he recovered and planned well for this second meeting. That is of merit to him and his team. Velasquez is the new heavyweight champion. But now the fans wait for the next biggest fight in history, as there can be no doubt about the possibility that this turns into a trilogy.  There must be a part three to the saga of Junior dos Santos versus Cain Velasquez.

Photo: Junior dos Santos (L) and Cain Velasquez engage in a striking war at UFC 155 (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Aline Bak
Staff Writer, Brazil

A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Aline began watching MMA with her father during the heyday of Pride in the early 2000's. Her passion for the sport soon turned to the UFC not long after. After attending UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro and UFC 146 in Las Vegas, Aline was asked to recount her experience for Tatame—one of Brazil's biggest media outlets—and thus began her writing career. In addition to her work for The MMA Corner, she maintains her own site about MMA.