Cigano Makes Quick Work of Cain

It’s a shame that the main event meant to “educate” the people about MMA only lasted a little over a minute (64 seconds), but the way that Junior Dos Santos captured the heavyweight title was as spectacular as it was surprising. Just yesterday, the UFC made its long-awaited debut on Fox to a larger audience and hoped to capture more fans with a battle for the heavyweight title. This fight was between then-champ Cain Velasquez and then-top contender Junior Dos Santos, with Cain as the heavy favorite to win the fight. Fighters, experts, and fans predicted that Cain’s wrestling, cardio, and all-around game would be too much for the boxing-specialist Dos Santos to handle; but boy were they (fine, we) wrong. Dos Santos made quick work of Velasquez, winning via TKO in over a minute of the opening round with a huge over-hand right which was followed by a number of strikes on the ground.

It was a historic night as “Cigano” won the heavyweight title against a man whom nobody thought could be beat, who had no holes in his game, and who easily dismantled Brock Lesnar to win the heavyweight strap back in 2010. Dos Santos’ punching power and pinpoint boxing—touted as the best boxing in MMA—were enough to give him the win. The newly crowned champ was choking back tears after the fight and with his win he proved that, in his own words, “if you work hard and you’re a good person, things happen.”

MMA Weekly reporter Ariel Helwani reported after the fight that Dos Santos was fighting with a torn meniscus in his leg and was on crutches 11 days before the fight. Despite this injury, Dos Santos was able to perform flawlessly, joining Jose Aldo and Anderson Silva as the current Brazilian champs of the UFC.

While Junior Dos Santos earned the biggest win of his career on arguably the biggest night of the UFC, one has to wonder, “what happened to Cain Velasquez?” The fight was extremely quick, so much so that we weren’t able to see how Cain’s conditioning or wrestling would come into play. He also didn’t come out and set the furious pace he had so consistently put on his past opponents. Cain went for a takedown once, but tentatively traded strikes with Junior up until Dos Santos connected with the big right hand. One could say that it was a flawed game plan to stand and trade with the Brazilian boxer, but Cain’s less crisp movements raise some questions on how successful his recovery from shoulder surgery really was. In the post-fight interview, however, Cain confirmed that he was in good health despite his shoulder surgery. Whether it was a flawed game plan or unsuccessful surgery recovery that did Cain in, the results are in and he’s handed the first loss of his MMA career. Nevertheless, Cain remains as one of the top fighters in the sport and is sure to come back stronger in his next fight.

The heavyweight division is as exciting as ever, made evident in the two technical giants who just threw down yesterday. To add more fuel to the fire, Junior will now await the winner of another big fight: Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem. The victor of this bout set for December will become the first challenger to Dos Santos’ thrown and either man will provide a significant threat to the current champ. If Lesnar gets past Overeem, he’ll then pit his wrestling skills against Junior in another striker-meets-grappler match-up. If Overeem defeats Lesnar, then he’ll engage Dos Santos in a slugfest to last the ages. Either way: the fans win! Either match-up will be exciting, a testament to how impressive the UFC heavyweight division has become.

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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