Knocking opponents senseless is what Brazil’s Junior Dos Santos loves to do and he would love to show boxing brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko his power.
Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight champion Dos Santos (15-1) looks forward to meeting previous champion Cain Velasquez (10-1) on Saturday, Dec. 29. UFC 155 takes place at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. It will be shown on pay-per-view along with several other bouts.
Despite a kickboxing introduction to fighting sports and though he’s well-schooled in mixed martial arts, it’s punching guys unconscious that gives Dos Santos his biggest thrill. Nothing else comes close.
“My fight game plan is something everybody now already knows. I will try to keep the fight standing against him again. That's what I like to do,” said Dos Santos.
The last time Dos Santos and Velasquez met their clash ended in a mere 1:04 of round one on November 2011. The Mexican-American heavyweight out of Arizona was undefeated and had destroyed the previous champion Brock Lesnar in devastating fashion. But that night in Anaheim it was Brazil’s Dos Santos who crushed Velasquez and wrested the UFC heavyweight title before a stunned crowd.
More than a year has passed and both heavyweights expect a different experience inside the Octagon.
“I know it’s going to be a different fight,” says Dos Santos, who likes to joke around outside of the Octagon but is deadly serious inside. “For sure I think Cain Velasquez is going to come different for this fight, hungrier than the first fight for sure.”
In their first encounter both Velasquez and Dos Santos entered that fight with serious knee injuries but decided to proceed despite the handicaps. Velasquez ignited the fight with several kicks to the leg that prompted Dos Santos to believe that a spy had discovered his injury. But after an exchange of punches it was Velasquez who was stunned and the Brazilian pounced on him to end the fight.
Dos Santos expects a different fight this weekend.
“He's (Velasquez) going to try to take me down using his wrestling that he used very well,” says Dos Santos.
Velasquez knows exactly what is needed and why he lost the first time.
“Junior is very quick. He has a lot of power in his hands. He timed it perfectly and it landed,” said Velasquez of the knockout blow. “The only reason I got into this sport was to be the champion. And now that I'm not champion, it's the only thing that's on my mind right now, to go in there to win this fight.”
Heavyweights can be explosive or they can be ponderous and deliberate.
“Velasquez is going to try to improve his game to make his game. He's going to try to take me down using his wrestling,” Dos Santos predicts. “If he accepts to fight standing up, I’ll knock him out again.”
And if Dos Santos emerges victorious once again, he would love to fight one of the Klitschkos.
“I consider myself the best heavyweight in the world,” says Dos Santos, 28, who lives in Bahia, Brazil. “I can beat that Wladimir Klitschko. I can beat him.”
It’s really up to UFC president Dana White, but if Dos Santos has his way he’d be looking across the corner with either Klitschko.
“I think I can beat those guys,” says Dos Santos. “I’ll kick their butts.”
First, he must beat Velasquez.
“I really believe it’s going to be a different fight,” said UFC’s White.
Fights on television
Sat. pay-per-view 7 p.m., Junior Dos Santos (15-1) vs. Cain Velasquez (10-1); Jim Miller (21-4) vs. Joe Lauzon (22-7); Tim Boestsch (16-4) vs. Costa Philippou (11-2); Yushin Okami (28-7) vs. Alan Belcher (17-5).