- UFC 166
Velasquez dominates dos Santos in Houston
There will be no need for a fourth fight. Not any time soon, at least.
The heavyweight trilogy between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos delivered a conclusive result on Saturday, as Velasquez dominated en route to a TKO finish in the fifth round at UFC 166.
Velasquez (13-1) defended the belt for the second consecutive time, becoming just the fourth fighter ever to do so. His only professional loss came to dos Santos in November 2011, via a first-round knockout.
"[The game plan] was the same as the last fight," Velasquez, who won the second meeting by unanimous decision, said. "Pressure, but throw better punches. Crisper punches, so I could beat him to the punch. He has great heart."
Dos Santos (16-3) struggled with Velasquez's aggressive style from the opening round. He staggered Velasquez early with a short right hand, but even that didn't stop the former collegiate wrestler from coming forward.
It felt as if dos Santos was fighting two opponents: Velasquez and the cage. The 29-year-old Brazilian could not circle off the fence, leaving him with no space to throw his notoriously dangerous knockout punches.
A straight right hand by Velasquez dropped dos Santos in the third round. He managed to recover and get back to his feet, but the damage was irreparable. He suffered a deep cut over his left eye, which required medical attention twice.
"What can I say? He beat me up," dos Santos said.
Similar to the display of heart he showed in the second fight, dos Santos willed himself to throw dangerous punches even in the later rounds. He backed Velasquez off in the fourth with a left elbow from the cage, but Velasquez was never in trouble.
In the final round, dos Santos attempted a standing D'Arce choke. Velasquez shrugged it off violently, throwing both heavyweights to the ground. Dos Santos remained on his knees after the collision with nothing left. Velasquez moved in with punches, and referee Herb Dean stopped the bout at the 3:09 mark.
The trilogy was the 10th in UFC history, in which all three fights took place in the Octagon. Fabricio Werdum is expected to face Velasquez as the next No. 1 heavyweight contender.
Meanwhile, Daniel Cormier (13-0) remained unbeaten as a professional, defeating Roy Nelson in a clean, decisive unanimous decision. All three judges scored it a sweep for Cormier, 30-27.
Expectations were high for a lightweight fight between Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez. No one could have quite expected what it produced, though.
Melendez (22-3) earned a unanimous decision over Sanchez in a three-round, instant favourite for Fight of the Year. All three judges scored it for Melendez: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. The win marked Melendez's first win inside the Octagon.
"It was a great feeling getting my first UFC win," Melendez said. "It was a battle and exactly what I expected from him as an opponent. He didn't go down at all."
Elsewhere, Gabriel Gonzaga (16-7) earned his third win of the year with a first-round knockout of Shawn Jordan (15-5), while John Dodson (15-6) also earned an opening-round KO on Darrell Montague (13-3).
This article originally appeared on ESPN.com