The crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada was tense with anticipation of the last main event of 2012. UFC heavy-weight champion Junior Dos Santos faced off against former champion Cain Velasquez in a re-match to determine who truly is the baddest man on the planet.
The first time these men met in the octagon was November 12th, 2011 in Anaheim, California. It was the debut of UFC on FOX, and JDS made quick work of Velasquez with a huge right hand to capture MMA’s most coveted title. Cain Velasquez was very disappointed with his performance and claimed he didn’t stick to the game plan. He vowed that night in the cage to regain the belt, and tonight was his chance, just over a year later.
Each man made the walk to the squared circle looking relaxed, yet determined; determined to prove that they were the top of the food chain. All the fans in attendance, and the millions watching on Pay-Per View listened as Bruce Buffer began to finish the New Year with a bang, “It’s Time!” Cain looked focused and ready to rewrite his name in the history books, while JDS angrily pointed to the canvas that was already stained with blood as if to say, “this is were you will fall tonight.” Herb Dean laid down the law, the two gladiators touched gloves and it began.
The fight starts off with Cain pushing the pace, he gets a big single leg, and JDS nearly hits a switch and gets right back up. Cain lands a few jabs and Dos Santos lands some right hands and jabs of his own. Cain tries to shoot in and cannot finish the single leg. Cain pushes forward with a varied attack and mixes it up nicely. Dos Santos seems to be having trouble with the pace, and Cain drops JDS with a huge right hand. Cain swarms Junior and comes very close to finishing the fight. Cain maintained position and finished the round in dominant fashion, JDS stood up on wobbling legs.
Round two began with great 1-2 from Velasquez followed buy a huge single leg. Cain maintained position brilliantly and landed measured strikes. Junior looking gassed already, managed to get to his feet, only to be taken down again. Velasquez rides the champion until they stand, and the clinch work begins. Then Cain gets another take down and as JDS goes to roll and possibly sweep, Cain goes for an arm-bar. Junior escapes and is on top, Cain quickly gets back up to his feet. Back in the clinch and Cain breaks to land precision strikes as Junior looks at him bewildered. The round ends with Cain controlling “Cigano” on the cage. Big round for Velasquez again.
The third round is more of the same with Cain rushing in, but Junior seems to begin to counter. Cain scoops a double and its back to the blood stained canvas. But again, Junior is able to get back up to his feet. Then back to the clinch, things slow down a bit and they separate. Cain comes in with another left right combo and they are back along the fence. Junior uses his dwindling stamina to throw an uppercut that doesn’t land. Cain keeps up a measured pace. It looks like Cain is taking JDS to deep water as he controls the octagon and pummels the face of Dos Santos. Junior stays in with the heart of a champion and throws a few heavy hands. They clinch back up and JDS reverses the position and attempts a take-down. The fighters break and Cain controls the cage until the end of the round.
In the fourth it appeared that Dos Santos had gained a second wind as he landed a nice shot to the body and attempted another take-down. In the clinch Cain reverses and gets another single leg. JDS still pushing through, showing why he is champion. The pace slows a bit and Junior manages to stuff a take-down attempt. The fighters exchange a few more times, lots of feints and counters from Velasquez with a few uppercuts from JDS. Cain shoots in again, and Junior still manages to stay on the feet. The fourth round closes with Cain controlling Junior on the cage.
The final round begins and they clinch back up, Dos Santos somehow able to peel the hands of Velasquez off of him. JDS able to thwart two more take-downs by the challenger and its back to the clinch. Junior throws body shots. Cain manages to land a trip and slide into side control. He begins to smother Dos Santos and Junior regains half guard. Velasquez starts to work the ground and pound, and Junior uses the cage to get up. Dos Santos throws an uppercut that misses, Cain comes back with a head kick that slaps the face of JDS. The fight comes to conclusion with the champions face battered, and the challenger controlling him in the clinch. The fight is scored in favor of Cain Velasquez, who put on the performance of his career and was able to dominant the man who once defeated him for the title. The judges score-card reads 50-45, 50-43, 50-44 in favor of the new champion.
In the end it was the pace, footwork, and varied attack that was the deciding factor in this fight. The title was regained by the former champion and AKA prodigy, by avenging the loss that cost him the belt. Cain Velasquez was able to dominate Junior Dos Santos in all facets of the game tonight, solidifying his name as the baddest man on the planet. While Dos Santos loses the gold, he displayed the heart of a champion, and pushed through to the final bell, swinging to the end. The main event at UFC 155 capped off a great night of fights, and brings the year to a close for UFC fans.
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