Today In MMA History: Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

Junior dos Santos
BROOMFIELD, CO - MARCH 21: UFC fighter Junior Dos Santos (Top) is held back by referee Josh Rosenthal (Middle) after knocking out UFC fighter Gabriel Gonzaga (Bottom) during their Heavyweight fight at UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Jones at the 1st Bank Center on March 21, 2010 in Broomfield, Colorado. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

We’re back with a new Today in MMA History article. Since COVID-19 has cancelled most MMA events, MMASucka has decided to take a look at some fights from the past. Today’s article looks at the co-main event from UFC Live 1, a pivotal moment in a young heavyweights career. That’s right, we are talking about Junior dos Santos‘ TKO victory over Gabriel Gonzaga.

March 21, 2010- Junior dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

This fight was huge for the heavyweight division back in 2010. The winner would clearly show that they were a contender for the heavyweight championship. Dos Santos came into this fight 4-0 in the UFC with wins over names like Mirko Cro CopStefan Struve and Fabricio Werdum. Another crazy fact going into this fight was that in eleven professional MMA fights Dos Santos hadn’t had a fight go to the judges scorecards before. Let’s get real, back in the day Dos Santos had some of the craziest knockout power in the division. If he landed an uppercut it was lights out for his opponent.

Gonzaga came into this fight off a first round TKO win over Chris Tuchscherer way back at UFC 102. Similar to Dos Santos, Gonzaga had a highlight reel knockout win over Cro Cop at UFC 70. He was the type of fighter that would stand and bang but he was also a Jiu Jitsu blackbelt. Over his career Gonzaga secured seven submission wins, nine knockout wins but also had ten knockout losses.

The first round started out slow, both fighters were sizing each other up with leg kicks and faints. Gonzaga shot for a take down early, but Dos Santos was able to bounce back up. The action picked up with under two minutes to go in the first round as Dos Santos started to find his stride. He dropped Gonzaga with a left hook and proceeded to rain punches down on him forcing referee Josh Rosenthal to stop the fight at 3:53 of round one.

This win was a huge moment in Dos Santos career. It proved he was a contender, and it showed he was one of the scariest fighters in the heavyweight division.

After The Fight

Dos Santos would go on to defeat Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin before he was able to knockout Cain Velaquez in the first round to become the heavyweight champion of the UFC. He held the title for 413 days defending it once against Frank Mir but eventually lost the title in a rematch against Velaquez. One of the baddest heavyweights of his time, Dos Santos last fought in back at UFC Fight Night 166 where he was defeated by Curtis Blaydes.

Gonzaga would go on to defeat names like Ben Rothwell and Ednaldo Oliveira but was never able to get wins over the big name guys. He suffered losses to Stipe Miocic, Matt Mitrione and Derrick Lewis. His last fight came in 2018 where he was defeated by Aleksander Emelianenko at RCC 2.

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