It wasn't for a lack of trying, but Cain Velasquez simply couldn't put away the tough as nails Junior Dos Santos in their heavyweight title fight at UFC 155 this past weekend (Dec. 29, 2012) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the highly-anticipated rematch between the top two big men in all of mixed martial arts (MMA), Velasquez got his much-desired revenge on "Cigano," the man that ended his title reign by knocking him silly in just over a minute at UFC on Fox 1 back in 2011.
Many onlookers, however, questioned Cain's punching power, seeing as how JDS was absorbing strike after strike to the dome, using his face as a shield instead of his hands, which were laying down low in an obvious sign of exhaustion.
Cain, who rocked the Brazilian bomber early in the first round, sending him crashing to the canvas, said even though he tried to end the fight via strikes, it was simply too ‘hard' to get the amount of power needed once they were on the ground.
The cardio and effort it takes to hold such a massive man down on the canvas, doesn't make it easier.
Looking to avoid punching himself out and be 'smart,' Velasquez tells ESPN he ‘slowed it down' a bit once he knew his foe had recovered. What ensued was a 25 minute punishment session that left Dos Santos battered and bruised and earned him an immediate trip to the hospital.
"It was hard, you know? I know I hit him with a good shot. When we were down, it was hard you know I really wanted to keep a lot of weight on him and keep him down, but also throw a lot of power in my punches. And, I couldn't get the amount of power I wanted to knock him out on the ground, it's very hard to do that. So, I just tried to be smart, so once he recovered, (I) kind of slowed it down a bit and tried to take it back down."
Shane Carwin learned the hard way the dangers of punching yourself out at UFC 116 when he rocked Brock Lesnar early in the opening frame, but was unable to finish the job after he seemingly gassed out after an onslaught of failed strikes. Lesnar weathered the storm and eventually earned a second round submission victory over "The Engineer," who simply had nothing to offer after his adrenaline dump in the first round.
Looking to avoid suffering the same fate as Carwin, the former Arizona State college wrestler, Cain, slammed Junior to the canvas on more than one occasion, then proceeded to batter and bruise him for five rounds en route to a clean sweep on the judge's scorecards to reclaim his world title.
On the flip side, Dos Santos showed the heart of a champion, refusing to wilt under the non-stop pressure of Velasquez, however, he simply had no answer for the former Sun Devil this time around as Cain was able to impose his all-around skill set.
How about it Maniacs, are any of you still questioning Cain's punching power? Or are you applauding his discipline and smart tactics of not punching himself out unnecessarily?