By BOB EMANUEL JR. | Scripps Howard News Service
It took Junior dos Santos just 64 seconds to knock out Cain Velasquez and capture Ultimate Fighting Championships’ heavyweight title 13 months ago.
When the two face each other in a rematch in the main event of UFC 155 on Saturday night, dos Santos, 15-1, expects the bout will go much longer.
“I think the first fight was very fast,” dos Santos says. “It was a very quick fight. But I learned some things ….”
The first fight played straight into dos Santos’ strengths. He is known for his heavy hands and powerful strikes, with 11 of his 15 victories by knockout. It is no surprise he will attempt to do the same in the rematch.
“My fight game plan is something everybody now already knows,” says dos Santos, a 28-year old native of Brazil. “I will try to keep the fight standing against him again. That’s what I like to do. For sure, I think Cain Velasquez is going to come different for this fight, hungrier than the first fight. He’s going to try to improve his game to make his game. He’s going to try to take me down using his wrestling that he used very well. But my strategy is the same strategy. And I’m very well prepared for this fight, ready to win.”
Velasquez’s wrestling background was relegated to an afterthought in the first meeting. Dos Santos does not expect the same to happen in the rematch “because Cain Velasquez is an excellent wrestler and his game is like that.”
“He puts pressure on his opponents all the time,” dos Santos says. “So I think that’s what he’s going to try to do with me, put his pressure, take me down and use his ground and pound … And then I think I have to be careful with that and using my takedown defense and using my boxing skills, everything that I’m training now. But I’m very confident I’m going to win this again … I think I’m going to knock him out again.”
Velasquez, who defeated Brock Lesnar for the title in 2010 and lost his first title defense to dos Santos 13 months ago on the UFC’s premiere show on Fox, dominated his opponents before the loss. Velasquez, a 30-year-old native of California, won eight of his first nine fights by knockout. Velasquez rebounded from the loss by knocking out Antonio Silva in May to earn the rematch.
“The only reason I got into this sport was to be the champion,” Velasquez said. “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.”
Lightweights Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon will meet on the main card, which also features three middleweight bouts — Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou, Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher and Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson. The event can be seen on pay-per-view at 5 p.m. HST.
The preliminaries, which air live on FX at 3 p.m. HSt, include bantamweights Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland; bantamweights Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth; lightweights Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner; and lightweights Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury.
Three additional preliminaries — heavyweights Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee, flyweights Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga and featherweights Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway — can be seen live at www.facebook.com/UFC at 1:30 HST.