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UFC 155 preview: dos Santos-Valesquez II

The SportsXchange

LAS VEGAS -- If there's one thing Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez can agree on, it's that their rematch for the UFC heavyweight title on Saturday night won't go down the same as their first bout.

"Cain is a very good, very strong fighter," dos Santos (15-1) said Thursday. "If you're expecting a fast fight, you might be surprised."

On Nov. 12, 2011, Dos Santos needed just 64 seconds to dispatch Velasquez and take his championship. The bout in Anaheim, Calif., was the UFC's network television debut and was viewed by a mixed martial arts record 8.8 million people.

But while everyone concedes a lucky punch can happen to anyone at any time, both fighters expect something more substantial when the two tangle in the main event of UFC 155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"Can we stop talking about the last fight?" Velasquez asked. "I'm done talking about it. This is a brand-new fight, what happened then is done with."

Velasquez (10-1) can be forgiven for wanting to putting his only career defeat behind him. The former champion had the vociferous support of a predominately Mexican-American crowd in Anaheim when dos Santos tagged him with an overhand right and then finished off the fight.

The rematch's key question is no big mystery.

The Salinas, Calif. native was an NCAA Division I wrestling All-American at Arizona State. He likes to use his superior grappling to ground his foes and set up a ground-and-pound attack, which was the approach he used in defeating Antonio Silva in May to earn his title rematch.

That's easier said than done against dos Santos.

The Salvador, Brazil, native has won all eight of his UFC fights.

His boxing skills are considered by many the game's best, and he boasts 11 career knockouts. Many have tried to solve dos Santos' range and shoot in for a takedown, yet he's spent just over 30 seconds on the ground during his entire four-year UFC tenure.

Whether the rematch looks like a repeat or turns into something altogether different is entirely dependent on Velasquez's ability to solve dos Santos' standup skills.

"I greatly respect Cain's wrestling," said dos Santos, who defeated former champ Frank Mir in May in his most recent bout. "I'd be a fool not to."
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