In a division filled with behemoths who like to ground and pound, Junior "Cigano" Dos Santos prefers to do his pounding with both feet on the ground. Tonight was another warning, you'd better not stand with the young Brazilian unless you want to leave the Octagon on your back.
Gabriel Gonzaga, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, had difficulty getting Dos Santos down so he turned to his kicks. Unfortunately, he began to use the same pattern of right leg kicks and Dos Santos figured it out. After narrowly missing, on two prior counterpunching attempts, Dos Santos perfectly timed a left hook in response to another Gonzaga leg kick. Gonzaga went down in a heap. That's where Dos Santos pounced on him, unleashed a half dozen vicious punches and Gonzaga went limp. Dos Santos picks up his fifth straight UFC win at 3:53 of the first.
"We hoped to win by knockout. I'm looking for the knockout in all my fights," Dos Santos told UFC.com. He said he trained a lot on countering Gonzaga's kicks. "I just waited for the right moment."
Gonzaga (11-5, 7-4 UFC) paid for a lack of patience.
"I tried a kick when I should've waited," Gonzaga told UFC.com.
Gonzaga said his gameplan was to draw Dos Santos in and when he tried combinations, put him on his back.
Dos Santos, who has knocked out all five of his UFC opponents, four coming in the first round, said he thinks he can knockout anyone in the UFC's heavyweight division. Suddenly, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic's third round loss against Dos Santos isn't looking so bad. With Dos Santos, 25, and Cain Velasquez, 27, the UFC has some tremendous prospects to pair with experienced big boys like Frank Mir, Shane Carwin and heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar.
Dos Santos (11-1, 5-0 UFC) also showed solid ground skills even if only for a moment. Gonzaga secured a takedown 90 seconds into the fight, but Dos Santos showed excellent speed and athleticism in getting to his feet in a matter of seconds.
For anyone wondering what Cigano means. Dos Santos was given the nickname as a young guy in the gyms back home in Brazil. It is Portuguese for gypsy.