Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos were arguably the two heaviest hitters of their generation. This made them natural adversaries at the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division.
They faced off against each other three times between Nov. 12, 2011, and Oct. 19, 2013. Their historic tug of war defined a weight class for nearly two full years. Velasquez emerged victorious in two of the three meetings, with all three ending decisively.
Now, more than a decade after their final bout, the two men remain inextricably linked by their encounters inside the cage. As their rivalry fades into history, let’s take a by-the-numbers look at what made Velasquez vs. dos Santos so unforgettable.
707: This is the number of days between the first and third Velasquez-JDS meetings. Dos Santos floored Velasquez in a 64-second knockout at UFC on Fox 1 in November 2011. However, he lost their two subsequent rematches.
920,000: This is the number of pay-per-view buys for the two premium live events headlined by Velasquez-JDS. UFC 155 drew 590,000 buys, while UFC 166 garnered 330,000. Their first encounter marked the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s historic debut on Fox.
17,238: This is the number of fans who witnessed the third installment of the Velasquez-JDS rivalry in the UFC 166 main event at the Toyota Center in Houston. It was the highest attendance figure of the trilogy and resulted in a $2.5 million gate.
2,953: This is the number of seconds of fight time in the Velasquez-JDS series. They battled one another inside the Octagon for a total of 49:13—the equivalent of a little less than 10 rounds.
631: This is the total number of strikes landed by Velasquez and dos Santos in their trilogy. More than half of those (336) were tallied in their final meeting.
2: This is the number of submission attempts between Velasquez and dos Santos in their three bouts. Both men were credited with an attempt in their third encounter.
130: This is the number of significant strikes by which Velasquez outlanded dos Santos in their rivalry. The American Kickboxing Academy ace connected with 241 such strikes while absorbing only 111 in return.
13: This is the number of takedowns completed by Velasquez at dos Santos’ expense, having done so with a 27% accuracy rate (13-for-47). Dos Santos, meanwhile, missed on his only two bids for takedowns.
3: This is the number of knockdowns recorded by the two heavyweights in their three-fight series, though only one of them resulted in a stoppage. Dos Santos put away the Californian with an overhand right and follow-up punches in the first round of their UFC on Fox 1 main event to become the 13th undisputed heavyweight champion in the promotion’s history.
.438: This is the cumulative winning percentage between the two men after the completion of their trilogy. Dos Santos has compiled a 6-7 record across his 13 subsequent appearances, with wins over Stipe Miocic, Ben Rothwell, Blagoy Ivanov, Tai Tuivasa, Derrick Lewis, and Fabricio Werdum. Velasquez, on the other hand, fought just three times, went 1-2, and announced his retirement in October 2019.