UFC 160 ended up being little more than a glorified speed bump in the road to a third fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. Velasquez successfully defended his title by bouncing Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the first round while dos Santos used a spinning wheel kick to knockout Mark Huntin glorious fashion. Now the road is paved again for the two to meet later this year.
Ever since Velasquez evened the series at 1-1 with his five round drubbing of dos Santos last December, the MMA world has been fixated with the idea of the two facing each other again in a rubber match.
The UFC, however, was hesitant to make an immediate rematch considering how handily Velasquez won. The same could be said when dos Santos scored a shocking first round knockout of Velasquez in November of 2011. Both fighters had to endure what were perceived to be speed bump fights — dos Santos demolished Frank Mir and Velasquez vanquished Silva at UFC 146 almost a year to the day of UFC 160 — before the rematch happened.
So, here we are, again.
By the end of the year, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos will square off with the UFC heavyweight title on the line. They are far superior than everyone else in the heavyweight division so it is only fitting that these two fight again. However, where the curiosity piques is just how this third fight will go considering the first two lacked any real drama. At UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos, Junior dos Santos needed only 64 seconds to usurp the Mexican and snare away the title. All hype but ultimately a one-sided affair.
Then, as if to pay back the quick knockout, Velasquez owned the rematch and nearly disfigured dos Santos’ face when they squared off last December. Again, all hype but very little by way of being a competitive match.
And, yes, here we are, again, and excited, for these two to fight for a third time.
“No brainer,” UFC president Dana White said of a third Velasquez-dos Santos match after UFC 160 at the MGM Grand Garden. “If ever there was a trilogy, that’s it right there.” Has there ever been a trilogy for two fighters whose previous bouts have been not competitive whatsoever? There was more competitive verbal sparring between the fighters’ fans than there was in the Octagon. Which leads us to believe that there is a strong possibility that it could be a major letdown. Nevertheless, it will be a big fight for the UFC and the fact remains that there no serious threat to either fighter has emerged outside of each other.
“Junior dos Santos proved himself big time tonight,” White said of dos Santos’ performance against the heavy handed and steel chinned Mark Hunt as “Cigano” beamed from ear to ear. “I wondered what would happen if he stood in front of Mark Hunt and took those big shots. I actually thought Junior would come out and shoot and take this thing to the ground right away. Much respect to Junior dos Santos. “Cain has also proven himself,” White continued as Velasquez sat in stark contrast to dos Santos. While the Brazilian smiled, the champion was expressionless despite coming off of a dominant performance.
“People have questioned Cain’s chin, because of the first Junior fight and that Cheick Kongo fight,” continued White. “Cain has an awesome chin. And in that second fight, I didn’t think Cain would stand up with Junior, and he did and hurt him with punches. This is what I’m talking about. When you talk about a trilogy between two heavyweights, this is a trilogy.”
In the buildup to UFC 160, both Velasquez and dos Santos explained how losing the heavyweight championship helped them find a newfound appreciation for the title. For Velasquez, it meant that he would have to work even harder now that he knows what it is like to hold, and lose, the championship. For dos Santos, the perks of being the champion were undeniable. What it meant to his home country of Brazil and being the one of the best heavyweights ever has Cigano seething for an opportunity at revenge.