LAS VEGAS Cain Velasquez reclaimed the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title Saturday night, battering Junior Dos Santos on the way to a lopsided unanimous-decision victory in UFC 155.
Velasquez (11-1) took early control of the rematch of his only loss, flooring the champion with a right hand midway through the first round. Velasquez spent most of the match stalking and pounding on Dos Santos (15-2).
"I was so tired, but I had to endure," Velasquez said. "My coaches and everybody helped me so much. He's tough, too. It feels so good to get this. This is my wife's Christmas present. I promised her I would do this."
Velasquez won every round on every judge's scorecard. The three judges scored the bout 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.
Dos Santos took the belt from Velasquez in November 2011 in just 64 seconds, earning a first-round stoppage win with one vicious overhand right in Anaheim. Velasquez refused to blame a knee injury for the loss, and in the rematch, he demonstrated what he can do at full strength.
Velasquez pursued Dos Santos from the opening bell and backed up the champion. Velasquez then floored Dos Santos with that huge right to the head midway through the round, and Dos Santos had to cover up in the corner while barely surviving an onslaught of strikes and ground-and-pound.
Velasquez went to work on the ground in the second round, and the former Arizona State wrestler repeatedly got the boxing specialist into bad positions. Dos Santos struggled to regain his rhythm after the early knockdown, and Velasquez managed another takedown early in the third round before repeatedly tagging the champion with shots that left his face swollen and puffy.
"His game was very effective, and tonight he was better than me," Dos Santos said. "It's not usual for me to take a punch, but he walks forward all the time. His takedowns, his grappler game is very effective, so congratulations for him."
On the undercard at the MGM Grand Garden, Jim Miller won a narrow unanimous decision over Joe Lauzon in a bloody bout, and rising middleweight Costa Philippou stopped Tim Boetsch in the third round. Yushin Okami grappled his way past Alan Belcher, and Derek Brunson easily beat veteran Chris Leben.