Number one UFC heavyweight contender Junior dos Santos completely dominated Shane Carwin last Saturday night in the main event of UFC 131 to retain and cement his status as the next challenger to Cain Velasquez’s belt.
Dos Santos avoided Carwin’s attempts to put and keep him on the mat, dealt with the 36-year-old’s cinder block fists and completely out-struck — and in the last round, out-wrestled — Carwin to earn a unanimous decision. Considering the lopsided nature of the opening round, which saw Carwin dropped to a knee and forced into survival mode, some have criticized dos Santos for being unable to finish Carwin.
“Cigano” spoke with gathered media following the fight and discussed referee Herb Dean’s decision not to halt the bout early on, as well as Carwin’s legendary power, which kept him honest throughout the three-round scrap.
“I think it was the right decision of the referee [not to stop the fight] because you saw Shane Carwin go back standing and keep fighting with me,” said dos Santos. “It was a good decision… I was prepared to fight three rounds. When the referee stopped the fight, I thought, ‘Maybe he could give me the victory right now.’ But Shane is a tough guy, and he came back for the fight. I think it was a good fight.”
According to CompuStrike, dos Santos landed 94 of 182 attempted shots, with 76 power shots landing, while Carwin landed only 13 of 58 strikes overall (these stats alone should be enough to quell most any criticism levied at dos Santos for his performance). Though he clearly outclassed Carwin on the feet, dos Santos admitted that Carwin doesn’t need to land much in order to cause damage, as it only took one punch from his ham-hock paws to touch dos Santos in a way he hadn’t experienced in seven previous UFC appearances.
“Just one punch made me feel a little dizzy. But he’s got heavy, heavy hands. I think it was the heaviest hands I’ve ever felt in the UFC,” he said.
Now at 13-1, dos Santos will look to employ his vaunted boxing skills in order to dethrone currently-injured champion Cain Velasquez.