Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
On Tuesday, a video by veteran MMA filmmaker Bobby Razak hit Youtube, which purportedly showed Cain Velasquez tearing his ACL just days before his November 2011 title match against Junior dos Santos. The injury was no secret -- its possibility was discussed on the night of the bout -- but the severity was.
We also found out then that dos Santos had a similar tale to tell. He, too, had injured his knee just days beforehand, tearing his meniscus less than two weeks before fight night.
But since Velasquez lost -- in 64 seconds no less -- he's the one who has had to live with the regret. If there is any.
"I don't think it was the best decision, but you know, I did it anyway, so it’s in the past," he said on Wednesday.
Velasquez has always been a man of few words, and that was true as ever on the UFC 155 conference call, where he only briefly touched on the ramifications of that choice and just how injured he was. Those words were as close as he's come to voicing any negativity about following through on the fight while hurt.
To his credit, he noted that it's a decision that is routinely made by fighters, including those at the highest level. And in that way, he refused to use it as an excuse.
"Junior was hurt, and I was hurt as well, so we’re just guys who get in there and fight," he said.
And that was mostly it. No explanations of what he could have done if 100 percent healthy, no complaining about losing his belt on one good leg, no promises about what he could do now. Just a man owning his decision.
No one expects the quick bout to be repeated this time around, including dos Santos, who said he is anticipating the aggressive, high-paced style of Velasquez at his best. Something like his recent mauling of Antonio Silva.
"Cain Velasquez is an excellent wrestler," he said. "His game is like that. He’ll put pressure on his opponents all the time. I think that’s what he'll try to do with me. Put pressure, use his ground and pound, try to take me down. That’s what I think he’s going to do. I have to be careful with that, using my takedown defense, my boxing skills, everything I’m training. I’m very confident I’m going to win this. It doesn’t matter what happens, I think I’m going to knock him out again."
The odds have dos Santos as a slight favorite to win and repeat his victorious outcome, but after their UFC on FOX 1 fight was affected by injuries, both men are quick to say one part of the fight will be different this time around.
"I'm 100 percent," dos Santos said.
"I'm ready to fight. No injuries," Velasquez said.
Where have we heard that before?
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