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Junior Dos Santos says Cain Velasquez is in UFC rematch too soon

Velasquez says he's eager for rematch after losing heavyweight title one year ago, but Dos Santos says he confident about Saturday fight at Las Vegas.

December 28, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Junior dos Santos, right, beat Cain Velasquez, left, by knockout in the first round in Nov. 2011.
Junior dos Santos, right, beat Cain Velasquez, left, by knockout in the… (Jason Redmond / Associated…)

It took just over one minute for Junior Dos Santos to take Cain Velasquez's Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight belt from him last year.

Velasquez has now spent the better part of the last year-plus trying to figure out a way to take it back.

The 30-year-old Velasquez (10-1) gets his chance Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas when he and Dos Santos (15-1) have their rematch.

"For a whole year, I've been thinking about redeeming myself. I want the belt, I got into this sport to be the champion," Velasquez said when asked what thought occupied his mind during training camp in San Jose. "When you fight, there's a sense of urgency. I don't know how you can want something too much."

That theory will be in play in this fight, as Velasquez, an Arizona State-disciplined wrestler, will work tirelessly to take the taller, more calculating Dos Santos to the octagon canvas. Velasquez used that strategy in May during his first-round technical knockout of the larger Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, who was reduced to a bloody mess.

"Dos Santos is a lot quicker than Silva, he has good takedown defense and doesn't kick as much," Velasquez said.

No, the champion just punches like a mule kicks.

Dos Santos' devastating punches stem from his ability to find precisely the right moment to unleash a pounding. Velasquez discovered this firsthand when Dos Santos knocked him out 1:04 into their 2011 bout at Honda Center.

Six of Dos Santos' nine UFC fights have ended by knockout before the second round.

"Cain is good standing too, but I can see holes during a fight better than he can, and I will be waiting for that opportunity," Dos Santos said. "It doesn't matter how prepared he is. I'm going to hit his face with good punches and I will knock him out."

Dos Santos spent three months training in his native Brazil for this bout, and says, "I know his game plan of taking people down and doing ground and pound has been effective for some people, but I can defend that with my jiu-jitsu skills."

According to UFC statistics, Dos Santos has successfully defended 88% of takedown attempts against him.

"I can learn from a loss. You can't just go in there and shoot, shoot, shoot," for a takedown, Velasquez said. "You've got to set it up, like the big punch, with combinations. That will make things easier. I know we will keep the fight standing up at times."

Dos Santos is expecting Velasquez's eagerness for revenge to influence his patience, however.

"I think it's a problem for him that he'll be a little nervous," Dos Santos said. "I should be nervous too, but I'm not. I'm confident. I actually think it's a mistake for Cain Velasquez to be getting this fight again so soon, because after he loses this one, he's going back to the end of the line to get at this again."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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UFC 155

Main event: Junior Dos Santos (15-1) vs. Cain Velasquez (10-1), for Dos Santos' heavyweight title.

Undercard: Lightweight fight between contenders Joe Lauzon (22-7) and Jim Miller (21-4), along with a middleweight bout pitting Tim Boetsch (16-4) vs. Costa Philippou (11-2).

Site: MGM Grand, Las Vegas.

Time: 7 p.m. PST.

Television: Pay-per-view, $54.95 (HD).

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