Cain Velasquez regains UFC heavyweight title, looks ahead
BY JOHN MORGAN USA TODAY December 30, 2012 9:08PM
Cain Velasquez, center, of San Jose, reacts as UFC president Dana White secures the UFC heavyweight championship following his victory over Junior dos Santos, left, of Brazil at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec, 29, 2012 in Las Vegas. Velasquez won the bout with a unanimous decision. (AP Photo/David Becker)
LAS VEGAS -- Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White fully expects top heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos to meet in a rubber match, but it could be a while.
Following Velasquez’s spectacular five-round domination of Dos Santos (15-2, 9-1), White said the Brazilian slugger will need rest and a win or two before renewing his rivalry with the new champ.
“I think trilogies are always awesome, especially when both these fights went the way that they did,” White said. “I mean, I want to see the third fight. It will be interesting.
“But this isn’t like losing a regular fight. He got beat up pretty bad. It usually takes a little longer to recover from what he went through.”
Instead, White said the next challenger for Velasquez (11-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) probably will be former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem (36-11, 1-0), should he get past Antonio Silva (17-4, 1-1) at February’s UFC 156 event, which also takes place in Las Vegas.
Velasquez and Dos Santos met for the first time in November 2011. On the UFC’s first live event on FOX, Dos Santos needed just 64 seconds to score a knockout victory against then-undefeated Velasquez and claim the UFC’s heavyweight title.
However, Velasquez dominated the rematch at Saturday’s UFC 155 event in Las Vegas, landing 210 total strikes and 11 takedowns, according to a FightMetric report, in the 25-minute affair. It was the promotion’s first heavyweight title fight to go the distance since UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture’s victory against Tim Sylvia in March 2007.
A battered and bruised Dos Santos was taken to a local hospital after the loss but was released after it was determined he had suffered no serious injuries.
He immediately took to Twitter to promise fans he would focus on regaining the belt.
“In my life, I’ve learned that no loss will defeat me,” Dos Santos wrote on Twitter. “I will regain my belt.”
New York date: While mixed martial arts is not yet regulated in the state of New York, that isn’t stopping UFC officials from targeting Madison Square Garden for a November 2013 fight card to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the promotion.
“I plan on being in New York in 2013 for the UFC’s 20th anniversary,” White said. “That’s my goal, so we’ll see.”
Only three state athletic commissions â(euro) “ New York, Connecticut and Montana â(euro) “ don’t regulate MMA. The state of Alaska lacks a regulatory body to do so. Earlier this year, a bill to regulate the sport passed the New York senate before assembly speaker Sheldon Silver declined to bring a bill to the floor for a formal vote.
White said the promotion has gone so far as to reserve a tentative date for the event, but declined to offer a reason for his new-found confidence that regulation will come to the Empire State next year.
The New York state senate and assembly return to session in January.
“We’re just working hard on it like we always were,” White said.
The UFC held its first event Nov. 12, 1993 in Denver. The promotion has since hosted a total of 181 fight cards in the U.S. and another 43 on foreign soil.