When UFC president Dana White announced earlier this week that the Roy Nelson-Junior Dos Santos winner would get the next heavyweight title shot against the Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez winner, it interjected a lot more juice into the UFC 117 fight.
It helped to legitimize Nelson's reputation as fighter just as much as his two previous knockout wins and "TUF 10" title.
But not of that helped Nelson in the cage against Dos Santos at UFC 117 in Oakland. Dos Santos, the rising heavyweight star, picked apart Nelson for 15 minutes and won a unanimous decision. Two judges scored it 30-27, and one scored it 30-26.
Dos Santos (12-1) dropped Nelson with a big right uppercut two minutes into the first round. He landed a few more shots in the next minute, capped off with another knockdown at the two-minute mark. Still, Nelson kept coming and throwing right hands. Impressive.
In the second round, Nelson (16-5) opened up a nice cut under Dos Santos' right eye and fought for the takedown. Dos Santos was too strong and too agile with the hips to let it happen. Dos Santos used the last part of the second round to tee off on Nelson and perhaps even steal the round.
Dos Santos opened the third round with a pair of leg kicks, landing both. Then some punches, then a takedown. Dos Santos basically sparred right now with a dummy in the ring. He did whatever he wanted to do. Still, Nelson absorbed it all. He may not have won the fight, but Nelson taught Dos Santos a lesson in how much punishment one man can take.
Something Dos Santos will take into the cage for next fight - a title shot against either Lesnar or Velasquez.