By Daniel Saludo
Velasquez dominates late for a TKO over ‘Cigano’
Junior dos Santos clipped Cain Velasquez with a right hand right from the start and then a left 10 seconds later. ‘Cigano’ was very aggressive throwing huge strikes while Velasquez pressured with his wrestling. Dos Santos was able to avoid Velasquez’s takedown in the beginning. Velasquez scored with a circling takedown near the midway point of the round. Velasquez was relentless in his pressure, tying up dos Santos alongside the cage and scoring with short, inside strikes in the final two minutes of the round.
[UFC 166 fight night photos]
Dos Santos landed a few jab to start Round 2, but Velasquez immediately tied up dos Santos again on the cage. Velasquez went to work landing more clinch strikes, not letting dos Santos have any space. Anytime dos Santos broke free from the clinch, Velasquez closed the distance and grabbed a clinch. Dos Santos scored with a trip with just under two minutes left in the round, but Velasquez got right back up and landed a solid punch. The final 30 seconds saw Velasquez clinch and land more short strikes again, but dos Santos landed a big right hand to end the round.
In Round 3, Velasquez immediately shot in for a takedown, but was stuffed by dos Santos. He then clinched and landed knees to the thighs of dos Santos. Two minutes in, dos Santos broke the clinch and landed a 1-2 combination. With just over two minutes left in the round, Velasquez landed a big overhand right that dropped dos Santos. Velasquez rushed in to finish the fight, but ‘Cigano’ would survive the onslaught with a welt over his left eye and a cut over his right eye. From there, Velasquez landed numerous punches and elbows to the face of dos Santos until the end of the round.
In Round 4, Velasquez again caught dos Santos with a straight right that backed up the challenger to the fence. Velasquez landed more combination along the cage and again tied up dos Santos, giving his no space to attack. Velasquez kept changing level, throwing some strikes, and then shooting in for a takedown, constantly keeping dos Santos off balance. After a break from the cage-side doctor checking the cut over dos Santos’s eye, Cain went back to his clinch work, but dos Santos got his own shots in to the horn
The crowd was up and cheering when the referee signaled the start of the final round. Dos Santos threw some big shots, but Velasquez was able to avoid most of the shots and complete a takedown in the process. Dos Santos got back to his feet, only to be pressured by Velasquez again. Both fighters still have some energy left, with Velasquez having a bit more from absorbing less punishment. Velasquez kept his strategy going and got dos Santos to drop for a takedown. Dos Santos missed, covered up, and Velasquez fired off one big right hand. The referee stepped in to stop the fight at 3:09 of the fifth round, giving Cain Velasquez the TKO win.
By Daniel Saludo