There’s no secret regarding what Junior dos Santos’ strategy was at UFC 155.
He came in the Octagon focused on defending Cain Velasquez’ takedowns and had planned in his mind to deplete the stamina of the challenger by wearing him down and then counter-attacking him. But it didn’t quite work like that.
Cigano was so worried about the takedown issue that he not only forgot to defend his face from Cain’s punches but also didn’t use the jiu-jitsu that he had worked so hard with with Ramon Lemos and Yuri Carlton at Corinthians gym in São Paulo and at Champion Academy in Salvador.
Ramon, who also coaches middleweight champion Anderson Silva, told Portal do Vale Tudo (PVT) that his athlete was able to stuff the takedowns in the beginning of the first round, but then Junior got too cautious and didn’t attack Velasquez.
Like boxing coach Luiz Dorea, Lemos says the big punches landed by Cain in the first round changed Junior’s characteristic of moving into the Octagon and says that for this reason he was not able to connect with the usual shots that open the way for the knockout victories he acquired in UFC.
“We haven’t talked about the fight yet but we’re going to evaluate what could have been done. We spoke quickly after the fight, remembered some positions, and Cigano said: ‘Wow, why didn’t I do it?!’ There was a time when he sweept Cain and got the position to apply a leg lock but he didn’t try to grab it,” Lemos says.
“It was as I said: that punch in the beginning of the bout distracted him. Heavyweight strikes, when landed, can decide a fight even without knocking out. We’re going to work so that Cigano doesn’t take punches and keeps moving in the cage.”