Junior dos Santos almost got the knockout that he promised, but Shane Carwin showed the heart of a lion and hung tough throughout the Brazilian’s technical onslaught. Dos Santos did more than enough to capture a unanimous decision over the former interim champ though and proved that he is the rightful next contender to Cain Velasquez’s heavyweight strap.
The two men showed respect for each other’s power early on, but dos Santos began to run away with the striking exchanges thanks to his stiff and precise jab. The Brazilian slugger kept Carwin from taking him down for the most part and got back to his feet quickly when the 36-year-old did put him on the mat. Dos Santos dropped Carwin to a knee with a big punch as the round began to wind down and absolutely hammered him before realizing that he would punch himself out to no avail if he kept the onslaught up. He backed off of a profusely bleeding Carwin and got ready to get things going again in the second round.
From there on, the fight belonged to dos Santos. “Cigano” picked Carwin apart on the feet and was only taken down once by the NCAA Division-2 champion, at the start of the third round. Dos Santos hit two solid takedowns of his own toward the end of the third, which sealed a fight that was already his.
Carwin showed that he is not to be counted out in any fight at heavyweight, fighting through a mangled face and beyond the point that the doctor was called into the cage, giving him an out if he had wanted one. Carwin also answered the long-standing questions about his cardio, recovering from dos Santos’ first round onslaught and keeping the bounce in his step until the last bell sounded. His record now stands at 12-2.
Dos Santos was met in the cage by champ Cain Velasquez following his eighth consecutive victory, sealing the fact that they will meet for the next heavyweight title fight.
“Much respect for Cain Velasquez, but I’m coming for you,” dos Santos said to Velasquez after the bout.
“He showed awesome standup like he does in all his fights,” Velasquez said. “He’s the No.1 contender. I’m excited to fight someone like this.”
Dos Santos is now 13-1 overall and has his sights set on Velasquez’s belt.