The fight game is a dangerous business, as former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos can attest. Following his bout with current champ Cain Velasquez Saturday night at UFC 166, dos Santos was visibly battered and beaten before the fight-ending TKO in the fifth round.
Apparently, he is somewhat unclear on how that happened.
According to Combate.com (via Fighters Only), dos Santos remembers very little of the fight with Velasquez, and actually thought the bout ended in Round 2. His corner believes that he made it to Round 5 "on autopilot."
The fight came less than an hour after Diego Sanchez worried fans with an incoherent post-fight speech following a 15-minute brawl with former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. It had some wondering aloud if the original "Ultimate Fighter" may be showing signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
JDS rocked Velasquez almost immediately after the start of the bout. After that, however, Velasquez dominated the fight, outworking the Brazilian with nonstop dirty boxing and ground-and-pound. Velasquez landed 274 total strikes (123 significant) by the time the fight ended.
While alarming, this sort of revelation isn't unheard of in MMA.
Dos Santos' team basically repeated what former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin discussed following his UFC 147 bout with Wanderlei Silva. Per MMA Fighting, Franklin stated after the fight, "When that kind of stuff happens, you remember bits and pieces...my coach told me not to get greedy, to pick my punches. I thought I did a good job of that. I was operating on autopilot."
The fight was the third run-in between Velasquez and dos Santos. In their first fight, "Cigano" scored a big upset victory by landing a hard right hand and finishing the fight in just over a minute. The second bout was radically different, with Velasquez repeatedly scoring big takedowns and landing a bevy of strikes to reclaim his heavyweight strap.
The third fight was essentially identical to the second, with the only major difference being that dos Santos was finished in Round 5.