After re-watching UFC 146 to close out my Memorial Day weekend, one thing is certainly clear, UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos and former champion Cain Velasquez are on a collision course to meet once again for the title.
Dos Santos needed a little over two rounds to dispatch of former two-time heavyweight champion Frank Mir while Velasquez started a bloodbath on the forehead of Antonio Silva en route to a first round stoppage.
Each win was impressive. Each victory showcased the skills we’ve grown to associate with each victor. Dos Santos out boxed Mir for two rounds and delivered again on his streak of never being taken down, defending the one attempt Mir had early in the fight.
Velasquez ran right through Silva, scoring an early takedown and dominating the fight for the next three minutes via the mount, opening up a dip cut on the head of Silva after a vicious short elbow. Blood seeped through the eyes of Silva, forcing referee Josh Rosenthal to wave off the fight.
As much as I hate to devalue each win, especially my affinity for dos Santos as a champion, I have to.
Despite all the injuries and suspensions that derailed this card, UFC 146 delivered on Saturday night. All five fights featured on the pay per view of the card ended in stoppages. Stipe Miocic arrived as a legit threat in the heavyweight division while Roy Nelson again overwhelmed us with his character, skill and showmanship in the Octagon. The problem with UFC 146 showed there are no other options as title challengers for JDS.
Saturday’s winners Struve, Nelson, Miocic, Velasquez and JDS were expected to win. Most did it as expected, as Struve submitted Lavar Johnson in the opening fight of the card.
Self admitting, UFC President Dana White said that Alistair Overeem, upon his return from a 9-month suspension (likely ready to fight in late December or January), would be right at the top of the division and likely challenger for the title. Shane Carwin, after his unanimous decision loss to dos Santos more than a year ago, has no return date in sight. Fabricio Werdum, who was the first of dos Santos night straight UFC victories, fights Mike Russo next month at UFC 147. Even Brock Lesnar, who last lost to Overeem at UFC 141, wouldn’t be considered an option.
See. It has to be Velasquez.
The only other option would be to postpone the idea of dos Santos vs Velasquez II by working out a deal with Strikeforce and Showtime to put Cormier vs dos Santos and Velasquez vs Barnett.
There is not doubt; the second meeting would be epic between Cain and Junior. The likelihood is that we would see a completely different Velasquez from their last meeting. Whether you want to critique the health of Velasquez, fresh off his rotator cuff surgery at his first fight with JDS or the game plan, choosing to strike with the division’s best boxer, both are viable analysis of the fight. Plus, can JDS really stop the fight from heading to the ground? A healthy and ready Cain would be the best test yet.
Either way any fight, I can’t wait.
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