ANAHEIM, November 12 – 64 seconds. That is all it took for Junior dos Santos to leap into the history books and become the first man to defeat UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez, the relentless Mexican-American fighter who until Saturday night hadn’t lost a single round in his five-year pro career. The dramatic knockout delivered an exclamation point to the UFC’s grand introduction to primetime viewers watching the title bout for free on the FOX television network (many of them possibly discovering the sport for the first time).
“I have no words to say what I’m feeling. It’s amazing, my life,” a teary-eyed dos Santos (14-1) said in the Octagon after being fitted with his new championship belt by UFC president Dana White. “I want to thank all my friends and family. I have a lot of good people around me. Thank you very much.” See post-fight interview with Junior Dos Santos
Dos Santos added that he entered the fight less than 100 percent, indicating he was perhaps hampered by an injury during training camp. But it didn’t matter in the least. Velasquez fired three leg kicks and dos Santos answered with two hard body shots. Then the heavyweight division’s fastest and most heavy-handed puncher delivered a thunderous overhand right that Cain perhaps never saw coming. The firecracker of a punch hit Velasquez around or behind his ear, dropping the champ to the canvas and with no sense of his whereabouts. Dos Santos pounced immediately, landing hard shots as Velasquez began to turtle over to his stomach rather than trying to regain his guard or intelligently defend himself. At that moment, a new era had been ushered in.
“It kind of messed up my equilibrium,” said Velasquez (9-1), the overwhelming crowd favorite. “He has a lot of power. I waited too much for him… So hat’s off to him tonight.” See post-fight interview with Cain Velasquez
Velasquez also felt as if he had let down his fans, many of them proud Mexican-Americans like himself.
“Sorry to all the fans, my family and friends,” he said. “I disappointed you. I will come back and I will get this belt back, for sure.”
The bout had marked the fallen champ’s first fight in 13 months; he had surgery on a torn rotator cuff but had said recently that he felt strong and ready for his most dangerous foe yet.
Dos Santos, meanwhile, is now 8-0 in the UFC and hasn’t lost in four years. The former toy store operator, who grew up poor in his native Brazil and sold ice cream on street corners to survive, has a feeling he may not have seen the last of Velasquez inside of the cage. In fact, the soft-spoken 27-year-old conceded he had battled fear and doubt leading up to the fight.
“Cain Velasquez was for sure my toughest opponent,” dos Santos said. “I was afraid to fight with him because he’s very tough. And I was not 100 percent for this fight so I was very scared.”
UFC on FOX Main Event - Dos Santos Dethrones Cain with Historic KO
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Saturday, December 3
Las Vegas, Nevada