Junior Dos Santos UFC Heavyweight Champion

Junior Dos Santos (courtesy The MMA News)

Saturday, November 12th, the UFC Heavyweight Championship changed hands when Junior Dos Santos knocked out Cain Velasquez.

It was the UFC’s first event on the FOX network, a prime time event, and although they only aired one fight during the one hour of programing they had on network television, it was a success. The knockout happened in the first half of the first round, but it allowed the mainstream audience a chance to watch as a new era begins in the UFC Heavyweight division.

In three years since his UFC debut in October 2008, Junior Dos Santos hasn’t lost a fight, and he has faced some of the top contenders in the sport along the way.

The first of his UFC battles saw him defeat Fabricio Werdum by knockout in the first 90 seconds of the fight. Werdum’s claim to fame is that he defeated the epic winning streak of Fedor Emelianenko just 18 months later after beating two of the other top names in Strikeforce (a UFC competitor recently purchased by ZUFFA – the company which owns UFC).

Among the other victories on the resume of Junior Dos Santos since then include wins over, among others:

  • Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Gilbert Yvel, veterans with 40 and 50 fights on their resume, respectively, each having won over 70% of their professional fights
  • Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson, two fighters which some experts predict will be in Heavyweight Championship contention in the next couple years
  • Shane Carwin, the opponent against whom Brock Lesnar had his last successful title defense prior to losing the belt to Cain Velasquez. Carwin was undefeated going into the fight with Lesnar.

There’s no word yet as to whom Junior Dos Santos will face in his first title defense attempt. On December 30th a fight between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem will determine who will get a championship fight in 2012.