After definitive wins at UFC 160, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and No. 1 contender Junior dos Santos will in fact meet for a third time. The rematch will pose a number of questions. Will we see a replay of their first fight or their second fight? Or will we see an entirely different fight altogether?

The two split their previous encounters, with dos Santos knocking out Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 and Velasquez repaying the debt with a dominant five-round beating of dos Santos at UFC 155. Half of the MMA world expects the third fight to mirror the first fight, whereas the other half expects the third fight to resemble the second bout. However, consider the evolution of both heavyweights.

See, we know that Velasquez brings athleticism, cardio, ground-and-pound, kickboxing and his own brand of power into every fight. Also, we know he blends it together well, mixing in his striking with his takedowns and incorporating elbows into his ground offense. Defensively, he proves very difficult to take down, and when he doesn’t come in overaggressive or leave any openings for counter shots, his striking defense holds up rather well.

However, Velasquez is aware of his shortcomings. Hence, fans have seen him work to improve in those areas, and those improvements paid dividends in his last two fights with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, as well as his UFC 155 rematch with dos Santos.

Speaking of dos Santos, how would he bring a potentially different fight than he did in either of the first two bouts? While he still benefits from defending more takedowns than he attempts to gain against Velasquez, he now owns a proven arsenal of strikes. Can people still argue that his boxing stands second to none in the division? Absolutely, they can, and few would argue against it.

However, the main knock in regards to dos Santos’ striking game surrounds its one-dimensionality. In other words, people say dos Santos is a pure boxer on the feet and not a striker. Against a former K-1 champion kickboxer in Mark Hunt, dos Santos did out-box Hunt and easily had a decision wrapped up, yet he opted to finish with a spinning wheel kick anyway. Ask the MMA world if they seriously saw the wheel kick coming. Even Yours Truly wishes he called that one.

Nonetheless, dos Santos proved that he can mix it up on the feet. For all we know, that kick on Hunt broke down the door that dos Santos wanted to open before showcasing his long-debated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. Again, though, that does not mean he should take down Velasquez, at least not unless he can create an opening to penetrate Velasquez’s defense in order to get the takedown.

Meanwhile, Velasquez can easily wear down dos Santos as he did in the second fight. But for as many questions as we would ask about dos Santos’ grappling, we can always question if Velasquez would hunt for the same. While unlikely, the possibilities remain plausible.

Sure, we can expect the outcome to prove as clear and one-sided as the first two did, but don’t expect the same fight. Velasquez always comes into rematches anticipating something new, as does dos Santos. Therefore, fans can anticipate something they could not call as arguably one of the most must-see trilogies in recent memory continues to transform the most must-see division in mixed martial arts.

Photo: Junior Dos Santos (left) and Cain Velasquez (right) (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.