A beatdown is a terrible thing to waste.
That appears to be Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez's mindset heading into his rubber match against former champ and current challenger Junior dos Santos (JDS) this coming Saturday (Oct. 19, 2013) at UFC 166 from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Their series is, of course, tied at one win apiece.
In their first meeting, it was Dos Santos who walked out of Anaheim, California's Honda Center with the UFC heavyweight strap at UFC on FOX 1 back in November of 2011. The early finish came thanks to an overhand right that set the stage for a knockout of the formerly undefeated incumbent champ, Velasquez.
Things didn't go as well for Dos Santos in the return match, however. In fact, at UFC 155, Velasquez laid an epic, five-round beating on JDS that left the Nike-sponsored Brazilian's face looking like a wax dummy that had been blasted with a blowtorch for 25 minutes.
Velasquez may have gotten his belt back in emphatic fashion thanks to the hurting he laid on JDS, but he fell short of finishing the man who has proven to be the biggest rival of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career to date.
Turns out that wasn't by accident. In fact, the protracted ass-whooping Velasquez laid down was a calculated tactic designed to send a rather chilling message.
Velasquez elaborates to Yahoo Sports:
My style of fighting, I'd rather end fights with ground and pound and stuff like that. I felt he took something away from me that was mine, and I figured I had to make him pay for that. That's why I didn't go for the submission.
The reigning UFC heavyweight kingpin's training partner Daniel Cormier, who meets fellow heavyweight Roy Nelson at the UFC 166 pay per view (PPV) event, offers his own thoughts on Velasquez passing up obvious submission openings to lay more leather on JDS's already battered face, and they're no less frighting than the champ's.
As tough as Junior dos Santos is, the thought of going into that cage and going through that again can't sit well with him. By fighting him the whole way, Cain sent a message that, 'Hey, on your worst night, this can happen: You have to stay in there with me for 25 minutes, and I am going to beat on you and beat on you.'
Dos Santos attributes his poor performance in the second Velasquez fight to a potentially dangerous breakdown in muscle fibers cased by over-training.
In order to make sure he doesn't make the same mistake twice, JDS has been taking a more scientific approach to training and getting regular blood work done throughout his camp.
While Dos Santos is easily one of the two best heavyweight mixed martial artists on earth, who is to say that blood he's getting checked on a regular basis isn't running just a little bit colder when he thinks back on what happened last time he stepped inside the Octagon against the reigning and defending baddest man on the planet?
We'll find out soon enough.
For more on UFC 166 and Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos III, click here and here.