Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez II: The title fight rematch that no one wanted so soon

By Adam Martin Subscribe to Articles by Adam Martin

On Saturday night, UFC 155 takes place live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The main event features UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos defending his strap in a rematch against former titleholder Cain Velasquez, who dos Santos defeated to claim the belt back at UFC on FOX 1 in November 2011.

Although it’s a solid heavyweight fight, it’s not the fight the fans wanted. Actually, it’s not even the fight the UFC wanted, either, and because of this, don’t expect the pay-per-view sales for the event to be astronomical, despite the stacked undercard. If you ask me, this thing won’t break 500k buys, which — while solid — isn’t that much for the UFC’s New Year’s Eve blowout event.

The fact of the matter is the last time these two fought, dos Santos knocked Velasquez out with one punch just 64 seconds into their fight. Since then, dos Santos has defended the title once against Frank Mir, while Velasquez picked up a big win over Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.

But the win over “Bigfoot” really shouldn’t have thrown Velasquez immediately back into a title fight. It did because this fight is a placeholder for dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem, which was supposed to take place back at UFC 146, until Overeem was suspended for using a banned substance.

Still, even after that, the UFC still tried to book him against dos Santos, knowing that Overeem’s suspension would end in December, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission wouldn’t budge on their suspension, and instead the UFC gave up and ultimately booked Overeem vs. “Bigfoot” for early 2013. Remember, dos Santos vs. Velasquez was originally the main event of UFC 152, but for some reason it got pushed back to December when it was thought that there was a slight possibility Overeem could be inserted in, but once that was off the table, the UFC just decided to do the Velasquez-dos Santos rematch instead.

So not only was this matchup not the first choice for the fans, but it wasn’t the first choice for the UFC either.

That’s not to say it won’t be an exciting fight. I do expect Velasquez vs. dos Santos to be fun for while it lasts, but as far as I’m concerned it’s going to look very similar to their first encounter, when dos Santos won the title quickly and in devastating fashion. Velasquez may survive longer this time around, but in the end there’s a reason why dos Santos is a near 2-to-1 betting favourite.

And maybe that’s why there doesn’t seem to be much hype surrounding this fight; it may be perceived by fans to be a mismatch. While I wouldn’t go that far, the fact is their last fight happened only 13 months ago, and really, how much has changed since then? Not much, in my opinion.

We’ll see what happens on Saturday night, but my guess is this becomes another forgotten heavyweight fight that ends with dos Santos pounding out Velasquez for a TKO win, while some of the supporting undercard matches steal the show. Will that be worth the $55 pay-per-view fee? We’ll have to wait and find out.

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