MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Cain Velasquez put on a masterful performance and thoroughly dominated Junior Dos Santos to regain the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 155 on Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).
Velasquez set a blistering pace right from the opening bell and took Dos Santos down nearly at will. Meanwhile, Dos Santos was a bloody mess by the end of the opening round and was visibly gassed. The Brazilian was unable to mount any significant offense throughout the five-round affair and was continuously mauled by Velasquez.
The Mexican-American Velasquez won with scores of 50-45, 50-43 and 50-44, becoming a two-time UFC heavyweight champion in the process.
"This is a Christmas present," said Velasquez, who was visibly emotional after getting his championship back. "The whole year, this was the hardest fight I've ever been through."
Dos Santos became the UFC heavyweight champion by knocking out Velasquez in just over a minute at UFC on FOX 1 last November 2011, and was making the second defense of his title.
But the Brazilian had no answer for Velasquez, who set the tone in round one with a series of jabs and takedowns. Midway through the opening round, Velasquez landed a right hand that floored Dos Santos, but the Brazilian managed to survive the round.
The second round featured more of the same, with Velasquez teeing off shots against Dos Santos, who spent most of the round covering up against the cage. The pace slowed down in the third round, allowing Dos Santos to recover slightly.
In the championship rounds, Dos Santos was able to defend better against Velasquez' takedowns, but was simply too tired to evade the challenger's punches. The Brazilian managed to get Velasquez in trouble late in the fourth round with a series of right hands, though Velasquez shook them off.
Velasquez sealed his victory with a head kick late in the fifth round, stuffing any hopes of a miracle comeback for Dos Santos.
Dos Santos, who showed no desire to quit despite getting beaten down, was classy in defeat.
"His game is very effective, and tonight, he was better than me," Dos Santos said. "His takedowns, his grappling game is very effective. Congratulations to him. "
Even as he sported a severely beaten-up face, Dos Santos still issued a warning to Velasquez: "Cain Velasquez, like you said, I'm gonna come back and I'm gonna take my belt again."
It was Dos Santos' first loss in the UFC.
In the co-main event, Jim Miller cemented his position as a top contender in the lightweight division with a unanimous decision victory over Joe Lauzon.
Miller was relentless in his assault of Lauzon, rendering his foe a bloody mess early in the first round due to cuts on his forehead and his eye. Lauzon managed to get Miller in trouble late in the final round with a series of submission attempts, but ran out of time.
"Joe was one of the toughest guys in the world, I knew I was going to have to give him everything I have," Miller said.
Costa Philippou defeated Tim Boetsch via a third round technical knockout after Boetsch broke his right hand early in the fight.