Sunday, December 30, 2012
Two-time national wrestling champion, Olympian and now MMA heavyweight Steve Mocco once told me his toughest opponent by far in wrestling was Cain Velasquez (Pictured @ left). He said it was because Cain was "relentless." He said, "No matter what the score was or what period it was in the match, he wouldn't stop coming forward."
Never was that trait more evident than on Saturday night when Velasquez (11-1, 9 KO's) came at Junior Dos Santos (15-2, 11 KO's, 2 subs) from the opening bell and never stopped coming. As a matter of fact, five rounds later Velasquez was still coming en route to a unanimous decision victory over the former UFC heavyweight champion, regaining his title that he previously lost to JDS. Cain was not going to be stopped as he was "a man on a mission," as was stated so eloquently by my buddy Dick Barrymore in California.
Velasquez pressured Dos Santos so much from the start that although the former champ was able to avoid Cain's repeated take down attempts early, the constant back pedaling and being on the defensive quickly slowed down Dos Santos. It was at that point that Velasquez, who was also using a crisp jab that was connecting while coming forward was inevitably able to snare Dos Santos in a clinch and take him down.
Once there, it was like a fly caught in a spider's web; Dos Santos, try as he may, was unable to get out from under Velasquez's clutch and punishing attack. Velasquez, hit Dos Santos and continued hitting him to the point that by the end of the fight, Dos Santos face looked like Gary Conway's character in the 1958 horror film, 'I was a Teenage Frankenstein'.
Okay, maybe not that bad; but by fights end, Dos Santos's face was a swollen mess. He was clearly a beaten man as was evidenced by the unanimous scores of 50-45, 50-43 and 50-44. Velasquez did just that as he beat Dos Santos to a bloody pulp.
I know it sounds more like a horror film than a fight, but pretty much that's what it was. Velasquez, who was a man possessed in his TKO victory back in May against Antonio Silva, looked even more determined on Saturday night. The dictionary defines 'relentless' as, "Unyielding severe, strict or harsh." Velasquez was all those things and then some in his victory against Junior Dos Santos.
In the co-main event, the action was the perfect prelude to the championship bout as lightweight (155 lbs.) contenders Jim Miller (22-4, 3 KO's, 12 subs) and Joe Lauzon (22-8, 4 KO's, 18 subs) put on a fight of the night performance in a back and forth tilt. Talk about a man possessed, Miller looked like a mini Velasquez as he too came right at Lauzon from the opening bell and would not stop. It was clearly the best Jim Miller has looked, especially coming off a submission loss to former number one contender Nate Diaz.
Lauzon did all he could to nullify Miller's attack and to his credit, he was able to turn the tide a few times throughout the fight when it got to the ground where he worked himself into a few submission attempts against the New Jersey native, but Miller was not to be denied. At the end, it was Miller winning by unanimous scores of 29-28, but for their effort both Miller and Lauzon each received a $65,000 'Fight of the Night' bonus.
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