A word is worth a thousand pictures-Jude B

Mexican World War in UFC 166

Cain Velasquez had home court advantage from the large Mexican community in Houston vs Brazilian Junior Do Santos

Cain Velasquez had home court advantage from the large Mexican community in Houston vs Brazilian Junior Do Santos

Written by

Jude Bautista

UFC Pres. Dana White in a rare move joined sportscaster Joe Rogan at the end of UFC 166 telecast at Houston Texas last October 20, 2013 (Manila Time). Phrases like the “greatest fight card, greatest night of fights” were exchanged between them and there’s strong argument to believe that it really was one of the best nights for the UFC. The carnage of the Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez fight upstaged what could be one of the best heavyweights face offs in UFC history: Velasquez vs Dos Santos. The heavyweight title fight however, still has to be given more importance.

UFC Pres Dana White and Joe Rogan were ecstatic at the end of UFC 166, convinced it was the best fight card ever.

UFC Pres Dana White and Joe Rogan were ecstatic at the end of UFC 166, convinced it was the best fight card ever.

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Sanchez, Melendez and Heavyweight champ Velasquez are all of Mexican descent, which inspired White to call the night a Mexican World War. Junior Dos Santos is from Santa Catarina, Brazil. Cain even has BROWN PRIDE tattooed on his chest and walks out to a Mariachi band.

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HOUSTON ROCKETS’ from left: Chandler Parsons and James Harden tweet and text on their i-phones while Dwight Howard, hams it up ringside.

IMG_3437 Mexican flags were visible all over the TOYOTA Center in Houston, which has a strong Mexican population. Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons were seen ringside along with NBA great Charles Barkley. Parsons recently admitted to dating Filipina celebrity KC Concepcion during their preseason game here in Manila. James Harden and Cain Velasquez are both Arizona State Sun Devil Alums.

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James Harden meets with fellow Arizona State Sun Devils alum and heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez before UFC 166 media day begins. From official UFC facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151936645046276&set=a.10151936644826276.1073741907.46299886275&type=3&theater

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VELASQUEZ VS DOS SANTOS I & II

In their first meeting November 2011, Dos Santos took the heavyweight title from Velasquez with a devastating knock out at the opening minute of the fight.  It was an overhand right that sent Velasquez down. Although Velasquez was reported to have a knee injury and was not a 100%, the proud Mexican refused to make any excuses for his loss. Dos Santos had given him his only loss in the octagon while Dos Santos remained unbeaten. His one punch knock out power has been evident even before that destroying the likes of Fabricio Verdum, Stefan Struve and Gabriel Gonzaga.

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A year later December 2012, Velasquez had a rematch with Dos Santos. This time Velasquez walked through Dos Santos’ punches taking him down at will, putting on the ground and pound and punishing him in the clinches. The fight went the distance, even though Dos Santos was knocked down.

In the documentary UFC Primetime, Dos Santos claimed, “Cain hits like a girl. I gave him 5 rounds to knock me out and he couldn’t.” Cain’s striking coach Javier Mendez responded, “If that’s the case this girl dropped him.” Junior’s camp also claimed that he suffered from overtraining in his defeat against Velasquez that’s why he was gassed in the fight.

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley at Velasquez vs Dos Santos III

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley at Velasquez vs Dos Santos III

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VELASQUEZ VS DOS SANTOS III

There was an elevation of animosity between the two during fight night last October 19. Junior Cigano Dos Santos has a signature move during the call out by Bruce Buffer. He moves forward points to the canvas drawing an imaginary line. This time he moved all the way to the middle of the octagon and Cain met him with a steely glare.

Dos Santos went further than usual towards Cain during the Bruce Buffer call out. Cain was right there to meet him with a steely glare.

Dos Santos went further than usual towards Cain during the Bruce Buffer call out. Cain was right there to meet him with a steely glare.

When the first round started Cigano opened with an uppercut that caught Cain. Instead of getting knocked out he immediately went for a single leg takedown. Cigano got up but not after getting hit several times and getting pushed up against the cage where Cain punished his thighs with knees. The punches just kept on coming creating swelling on Cigano’s left eye.

JDS could not withstand the relentless attack of Cain pushing him up against the cage and constant takedown attempts. Just defending the takedowns are draining. And yet Cain hardly was out of breath in between rounds, prompting Joe Rogan to call him Cardio Cain.

JDS could not withstand the relentless attack of Cain pushing him up against the cage and constant takedown attempts. Just defending the takedowns are draining. And yet Cain hardly was out of breath in between rounds, prompting Joe Rogan to call him Cardio Cain.

Once in a while Junior would land an elbow or a punch but was overwhelmed by Cain’s attack. In the clinch strikes on Round 2 it was 47-9. Total strikes landed were 274-62 in favor of Velasquez. The bright spot for Cigano was the 9 other takedown attempts he defended successfully.

JDS lands a rare left hook and right uppercut. Cain walks right through it.

JDS lands a rare left hook and right uppercut. Cain walks right through it.

Rogan described Cain’s style as trying to fight a “wet blanket, constantly on you.” Cain used the style made famous by Randy Couture of dirty boxing in the clinch. He smothers his opponent by pushing him to the cage while landing punches and knees. Junior just could not handle the relentless pressure of getting pressed up the cage and getting hit with elbows, punches and knees. The accuracy of straight punches was something that Cain worked on for this fight.

Cain smothers Dos Santos by pushing him up the cage.

Cain smothers Dos Santos by pushing him up the cage.

Cain lands vicious right hook on Dos Santos.

Cain lands vicious right hook on Dos Santos.

from left hand corner: Cain lands the overhand right that scores a knockdown on the 3rd. When they get to the canvas Cain starts a vicious ground and pound.

from left hand corner: Cain lands the overhand right that scores a knockdown on the 3rd. When they get to the canvas Cain starts a vicious ground and pound.

By the 3rd round, Cain hits him with a powerful overhand right and knocks him down. Cain lands a couple of ground and pound punches but Junior still manages to get up but goes down again from being off balanced. As Cain pushes him onto the cage yet again, referee Herb Dean taps him on the shoulder as if wanting to stop the fight and yet changes his mind. At this point Junior was clearly out on his feet, dazed and was only a matter of time before the fight was stopped. Meanwhile Cain lands a jab and cross combination making Junior’s right eye bleed from a huge cut. The 4th round worsened both the cut and a swelling on the left eye.

Cain smothers Dos Santos by pushing him up the cage and landing an elbow here.

Cain smothers Dos Santos by pushing him up the cage and landing an elbow here.

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After receiving elbows, punches, JDS has a cut on the right and swelling on the left eye. His vision is checked by the doctor in between rounds and even during the fight.

Cain improved his striking, making them more accurate, left jab, right hook combination rips through Junior Dos Santos.

Cain improved his striking, making them more accurate, left jab, right hook combination rips through Junior Dos Santos.

The stoppage finally came in the 5th after a guillotine attempt was foiled by Velasquez on the ground. Junior was collapsed, head down on the canvas waiting for an imminent ground and pound. After one punch, Herb Dean mercifully stops the fight at the 3:09 mark of the 5th round.

After a foiled guillotine attempt by JDS, Cain scrambles (top left), gets up and lands another vicious punch (top right), Referee Herb Dean prevents another ground and pound sequence by stopping the fight at 3:09 of the 5th rd.

After a foiled guillotine attempt by JDS, Cain scrambles (top left), gets up and lands another vicious punch (top right), Referee Herb Dean prevents another ground and pound sequence by stopping the fight at 3:09 of the 5th rd.

Doctors check on JDS after the fight.

Doctors check on JDS after the fight.

Cain Velasquez retains his heavyweight title and personifies BROWN PRIDE tattoo.

Cain Velasquez retains his heavyweight title and personifies BROWN PRIDE tattoo.

Cain Velasquez raises the hand of Junior Dos Santos in sportsmanship.

Cain Velasquez raises the hand of Junior Dos Santos in sportsmanship.

In the post press con, UFC Pres. Dana White shared, “I’m not a doctor but I think the fight should’ve been stopped in the 3rd round. I’m a guy who’s been around this sport for a long time and boxing. Seeing men who are too tough for their own good.  I think Junior Dos Santos is one of those men in the last Cain fight and in this Cain fight. And I think that fight should’ve been stopped. I didn’t think he should not have been hit more. Yes Dos Santos hits hard, has heart like Diego. I just think a young talented guy shouldn’t take that kind of punishment when he’s out on his feet. I was kind of hoping someone was going to throw the towel in or the ref was gonna stop it. Or the doctor was gonna stop it. One eye was closed and the other eye was cut wide open.”

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After receiving elbows, punches, JDS has a cut on the right and swelling on the left eye.

Cain Velasquez retains his heavyweight title and personifies BROWN PRIDE tattoo.

Cain Velasquez retains his heavyweight title and personifies BROWN PRIDE tattoo.

Far right: Daniel Cormier was ready to be in Cain Velasquez’ corner immediately after defeating Roy Nelson in the co main event of UFC 166.

Far right: Daniel Cormier was ready to be in Cain Velasquez’ corner immediately after defeating Roy Nelson in the co main event of UFC 166.

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Gilbert Melendez vs Diego Sanchez

From the UFC post fight press conference Dana White summarized the fight, “Diego’s been out for a while with injuries. Everybody was questioning where Diego belongs in the division. He comes right in and fights the number 2 guy in the world and proved tonight Diego Sanchez showed he’s never out of any fight. One of the things I love about Mexican fighters, that’s a Mexican world war we have there. These are 2 guys who keep on moving forward who keep swinging and just awesome.”

A lot of fans thought Diego Sanchez was washed up going into the fight against Melendez

A lot of fans thought Diego Sanchez was washed up going into the fight against Melendez

Being at the TOYOTA center in Houston made it more special. UFC 69- GSP vs Serra (Apr 2007) was the top grossing event for the venue, followed by The Rolling Stones Concert and third is UFC 166 with 17,238 attendance grossing just over 2.5 million dollars.

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“In the 13 years I’ve been in this company we’ve seen some amazing fights. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fight like that. The fight was insane and being here in Houston the crowd was amazing. Everything about it was perfect. I don’t ever go to the preparatory fights for this one I was hell yeah I’m going there.  I talked to both these guys and I ran to you guys in the media,” said White.

UFC 167 Card

UFC 167 Card

Gilbert Melendez began as a training partner of Diego Sanchez, but has since won the Strikeforce & WEC Belt and rose to be the number 1 contender in the UFC’s lightweight division. While a lot of fans have dismissed Sanchez via Twitter as washed up, he proved them wrong. Joe Rogan described it best, “Diego believes in himself to the point of being insane. I give him the advantage of crazy and tenacious face.” Evidence of his heart is winning Fight of the Night, 5 times.

Melendez is a better striker, Diego has the advantage in crazy and tenacious face- Joe Rogan

Melendez is a better striker, Diego has the advantage in crazy and tenacious face- Joe Rogan

The first round came as expected with Melendez landing the crisper punches. Using his faster hands with body shots, jabs and hook combos he was able to cut Sanchez. The saving grace for Diego was 2 solid body kicks and slowed down Melendez. This encouraged Sanchez to go for a wild flurry of punches. Even though he was getting hit, he kept on throwing in spite of getting a cut above his left eye. The dying seconds of the first round became a wild exchange of punches from both sides getting a standing ovation from the crowd.

Melendez had smoother combos landing stronger more accurate punches on Diego.

Melendez had smoother combos landing stronger more accurate punches on Diego.

Mad flurry of punches between Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez

Mad flurry of punches between Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez

By the second round Diego’s cut worsened from even more accurate punches. A doctor inspected it and Diego said, “I’m good I just have some Vaseline in my eye.”

Diego overcame a cut to perform with courage against Melendez

Diego overcame a cut to perform with courage against Melendez

Diego Sanchez still kept on going forward even when he was getting hit by Melendez

Diego Sanchez still kept on going forward even when he was getting hit by Melendez

The third and final round was even more exciting. At the 3-minute mark both decided to stand in the middle and throw punches with abandon. Diego was even more reckless throwing wild punches while the cut slowly turned into a gash bleeding profusely into his face. The crowd was mesmerized with this damaged man who seemed to get stronger. After each punch he’d take Diego would thump his chest and ask for more. The crowd started to chant: DIEGO! DIEGO! DIEGO!

Diego Sanchez still kept on going forward even when he was getting hit by Melendez

Diego Sanchez still kept on going forward even when he was getting hit by Melendez

UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis watches out for Melendez performance whom he may face in his next match.

UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis watches out for Melendez performance whom he may face in his next match.

Out of nowhere Diego lands a wild uppercut that sent Gilbert Melendez to the canvas. Instead of slowing Melendez down he got up and still fired some shots. It leads to another wild exchange of punches where neither of them backed down even though both of them were obviously hurt. The flurries from both fighters went on til the very last second of the fight.

Out of nowhere Diego lands a wild uppercut (left pic) and follows up with a hook (right pic) that sent Gilbert Melendez to the canvas.

Out of nowhere Diego lands a wild uppercut (left pic) and follows up with a hook (right pic) that sent Gilbert Melendez to the canvas.

Melendez gets up after a hard shot that sent him down.

Melendez gets up after a hard shot that sent him down.

There was never a let up in the action even in the dying seconds of the fight making it an epic battle.

There was never a let up in the action even in the dying seconds of the fight making it an epic battle.

Melendez won by decision but Sanchez displayed incredible heart and nearly finished the fight in the third in spite of incredible odds. In the post interview Melendez was humble after the fight admitting he used to sleep on Diego’s couch and was honored to fight a warrior. Diego responds by waving his arms and gets the crowd roaring. He tells Rogan, “Houston baby give it up!! Do you hear that? That’s your decision.” He also adds that he’d like a rematch but only if its for 5 rounds.

Melendez won by decision but Sanchez won the crowd with his display of heart.

Melendez won by decision but Sanchez won the crowd with his display of heart.

Diego gets the crowd roaring. He tells Rogan, “Houston baby give it up!! Do you hear that? That’s your decision.”

Diego gets the crowd roaring. He tells Rogan, “Houston baby give it up!! Do you hear that? That’s your decision.”

The exciting match according to White puts Melendez for title contention. Even before the drama of Mexican fighters Sanchez and Melendez there are already talks between TELEVISA from Mexico and the UFC Network. White also hinted at the possibility of a TUF The Ultimate Fighter Mexico.

Melendez won by decision but Sanchez won the crowd with his display of heart.

Melendez won by decision but Sanchez won the crowd with his display of heart.

John Dodson wins KO of the Night for blasting Darrel Montague earning $60,000.

John Dodson wins KO of the Night for blasting Darrel Montague earning $60,000.

Sanchez vs Melendez won Fight of the Night Honor earning a bonus of $ 60,000.00 for each. John Dodson earned KO of the night for his win over Darrel Montague. Submission of the Night went to Tony Ferguson for his tap out of Mike Rio.

Gabriel Gonzaga KOed  Shawn Jordan 1:33 of the 1st rd.

Gabriel Gonzaga KOed Shawn Jordan 1:33 of the 1st rd.

Long time UFC barker/usher hugs UFC veteran Diego Sanchez after his epic fight.

Long time UFC barker/usher hugs UFC veteran Diego Sanchez after his epic fight.

Cain Velasquez ends his trilogy with Junior Dos Santos on top just like ALL time great Muhammad Ali did with Joe Frazier.

Cain Velasquez ends his trilogy by defeating Junior Dos Santos just like ALL time great Muhammad Ali did with Joe Frazier.

One response

  1. Pingback: Mexican World War in UFC 166 | Text and Photos by Jude Bautista

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