The two first met in November 2011, when dos Santos defeated Velasquez by knockout early in the opening round to capture the UFC heavyweight title. Velasquez avenged the loss and regained the belt at UFC 155 in a one-sided unanimous decision. Their third encounter was even more lopsided, and UFC president Dana White felt the fight should have been stopped earlier than it was. The end eventually came in the fifth round.
“I think that fight should have been stopped in the third round. It should have been stopped,” said White following Saturday’s event in Houston.
Velasquez landed a right hand that knocked dos Santos down. Dos Santos was able to get back to his feet, but Velasquez continue to land clean shots. The cage seemed to be the only thing keeping the former champion on his feet.
“If you watch that third round again, when he’s getting hit, his arms are like this,” said White, showing his arms down at his sides. “He wasn’t defending himself. He doesn’t have his hands up. He’s out.”
The UFC president felt dos Santos was taking unnecessary punishment and that his corner should have considered throwing in the towel.
“I wanted to throw in the towel,” he said. Of course, only a fighter’s corner can throw in the towel. White knows this, but was making a point.
“I don’t want this to come out the wrong way, but I always like to say, if anybody in his (expletive) corner cares about him, please throw in that towel.
“I thought that fight was done in the third round. Is Junior dos Santos tough enough and does he have the heart to go through it? Yeah, but does that mean he should?” continued White. “If you look at the fight – when did it end? The fifth? It ended in the fifth, so that guy took seven, eight minutes more of punishment that I believe he didn’t need to take until it ended… I don’t like it.
“I’m just being honest and telling you want I think. I would have loved to have seen that (the towel thrown in). Junior is a young and talented guy, and the inevitable happened in the fifth round,” he added.
Referee Herb Dean is one of the most respected referees in the business and almost stopped the fight. He was so close that he literally put his hand on Velasquez before making the determination to allow it to continue.
“I respect Herb Dean. You guys have heard me talk about Herb Dean as a ref, but even the best have bad nights,” said the UFC president. “And in my opinion, that should have been stopped in the third.”