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UFC's Dos Santos wants belt back, says Velasquez trilogy may not end series

October 18, 2013|By Lance Pugmire
  • UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos answers questions on Thursday in Houston.
UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos answers questions on Thursday… (Pat Sullivan / Associated…)

Junior Dos Santos is fighting Cain Velasquez for the third time in less than two years Saturday in Houston, and after getting dominated over five rounds in the most recent scrap, something has to change.

Dos Santos of Brazil told reporters recently he’s more focused on conditioning after getting hurt early in their December bout and wearing down as it proceeded – Velasquez recapturing his Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight belt by unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

“This third fight is going to be completely different … because now Cain Velasquez knows more about me,” Dos Santos said. “I know more about him and we are more prepared to fight each other."

That’s where "my motivation comes from.”

Dos Santos said he “did a lot of things wrong” in the December loss after knocking out Velasquez in their November 2011 fight at Honda Center.

Velasquez repeatedly took Dos Santos down, and avoided the heavy-handed Brazilian’s best punches.

While Dos Santos has ridiculed Velasquez’s limited punching power since, Velasquez has said he purposely extended the fight to inflict more lasting damage on the taller Dos Santos.

Dos Santos called the second fight “a great experience” in regard to the lessons he learned. He responded to beat Mark Hunt in May, unleashing a new potential weapon with kicks.

“I know how hard this guy can go so I’m ready for this … and I’ll do everything to not let him do that again,” Dos Santos said. “It’s going to be a good fight for the fans because he’s going to … push the fight like he always does and I’m going to go there to knock him out.”

And while trilogies can often conclude a fighting rivalry, Dos Santos said this series may have an extended shelf life.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the last one,” Dos Santos said. “I think we’re going to fight each other again. Cain Velasquez is a great opponent and a great fighter. He is going to try and keep himself in a good position all the time … and I’ll do the same with myself.”

Velasquez said Fabricio Werdum is next in line for a heavyweight title shot and “this will kind of settle the whole trilogy itself. So I think that’s it.”

UFC 166, a pay-per-view card from Toyota Center in Houston, also includes a heavyweight fight between Velasquez’s training partner, Daniel Cormier (12-0), and Roy Nelson (20-8), with a lightweight bout between Gilbert Melendez (21-3) and Diego Sanchez (26-5).


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Twitter: @latimespugmire

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