Cain Velasquez’s one sided beating of Junior Dos Santos reminds you that you never know what’s going to happen in an MMA fight. Take two guys that fought barely a year ago and throw em in the cage again and all of a sudden you have a completely different fight. For five rounds Velasquez pummeled Dos Santos, grinding him into the cage and flattening him down onto the canvas. From the start Junior seemed just as surprised as the rest of us as to what was going on, and then a big overhand right knocked him on his ass and he never recovered.
The keys to Velasquez’s success were constant pressure and never ending takedowns. Dos Santos’s defeat was sealed by his loss of cardio and inability to keep from being herded into the cage. Whether the cardio issues were a result of something wrong in the gym or the shots he took in round one is debatable. We’ve seen Junior go to decisions before, but never on the defensive with a guy like Cain Velasquez determined to lean every pound of weight on him that he could.
So this splits the first two matches between these two guys, and pretty much guarantees we’ll be seeing a rubber match sometime in 2013 or early 2014. Who will win that one? Who knows. All I know is I won’t be so quick to dismiss Cain Velasquez.
Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon lived up to the hype, putting on a rousing performance that saved fight fans from what up until that point had been some pretty mediocre PPV fights. It was the Jim Miller show for the large majority of the fight as he hit Lauzon every which way with everything but the kitchen sink, splitting his face open and coating the Octagon in blood. But Joe Lauzon stayed in the fight from opening bell to closing, even going for a flying scissor heel hook in the dying seconds of the fight that ALMOST worked.
It’s almost a shame that Lauzon was as gutsy as he was because it took the spotlight away from the best performance we’ve ever seen from Jim Miller. Sometimes accused of being a boring positional fighter, Miller spent the majority of this fight showing off some pretty impressive offensive weapons as he dismantled J-Lau and punished him every time he came in to attack. Having just lost to Nate Diaz and with current champ Benson Henderson already holding a W over him, he’s got some work to do before he’s back in contention. But Miller showed he’s got the tools to hang at the top of the 155 pound division.
Poor Alan Belcher. This rematch with Yushin Okami was supposed to show the world how much he’s improved since their first match in 2006. Instead, Okami did what Okami does: he took Belcher down again and again and defeated him via decision. It was practically a carbon copy of the first fight and stopped all the momentum Belcher had running with his four fight winning streak. Alan shouldn’t feel too bad, though. Okami’s strength and wrestling is such that he’ll do exactly the same thing to 95% of the guys in the middleweight division.
Terrible fight of the PPV goes to Chris Leben vs Derek Brunson. “He’s a wrestler so he’s going to try and wrestle me,” Leben said during the fight promo. “But I can win this fight anywhere.” Unfortunately, that was not the case as Brunson took Leben down with ease and seemed content to stay on top and react as Chris worked positions and a couple of slow submissions. It seemed like Leben had a legit chance of turning things around after Brunson slowed down halfway through the second but he never managed to put any consistent offense together to take advantage.