Junior dos Santos is planning on a cautious approach against Shane Carwin. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Junior dos Santos sees one major difference -- one-punch knockout power -- between his original opponent at UFC 131, former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Brock Lesnar, and the man standing before him now, Shane Carwin.
Dos Santos will meet Carwin in the main event on Saturday at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. He does not plan to throw caution to the wind with his strikes.
“I’m training hard and focusing on my boxing, which is what got me here,” Dos Santos told Sherdog.com. “I have great confidence in myself, in my hands, and I always look for the knockout. The difference is that with Lesnar I could be bolder in striking. Now I’ll have to be more careful.”
Carwin, 36, last appeared at UFC 116 in July, when he succumbed to a second-round arm-triangle choke from Lesnar at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Greely, Colo., dominated the first five minutes and nearly finished Lesnar with ground-and-pound, only to run out of steam in round two. Carwin has since undergone neck surgery.
Still, the hulking heavyweight’s track record of quick finishes -- five of them in less than a minute -- has Dos Santos’ attention.
“He has a very good boxing that I must respect,” the Brazilian said. “I take all my fights seriously. I always think the next one will be the most important one of my life. I’m preparing for this and will be there to bring home another victory for Brazil.”
The change in opponent after Lesnar bowed out with another bout of diverticulitis forced only small alterations to Dos Santos’ preparation.
“I’m not too worried about opponents,” said Dos Santos, who was in line to face UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez before the American Kickboxing Academy ace went down with a shoulder injury. “Of course, I have great respect for Carwin and Lesnar, but I really want to fight. I haven’t fought since August. I’m in a great phase of my life, feeling good about fighting, but my opponents got hurt and I had to wait. Thankfully, the UFC has not changed the date for this fight. The strategy will change a little, but I’ll be prepared for Carwin.”
A victory over Carwin will put Dos Santos back in position to challenge the undefeated Velasquez, perhaps sometime this fall. At the moment, his focus remains on the here and now.
“My goal is still to be number one in the world, but now I’m focused on Carwin,” Dos Santos said. “I believe in my strategy. I’ll be prepared to give a good show on the day of the fight and, God willing, I’ll come out victorious.”
Dos Santos -- who owns a perfect UFC mark at 6-0 – has eight knockouts among his 12 career victories. Many view the 26-year-old as the heavyweight division’s best pure boxer, and he expects fists to fly against Carwin.
“Fans can expect buckshot both ways,” Dos Santos said. “He has heavy hands, but I trust in mine. I will seek the knockout the whole time, and I think I’m faster than him. I’m going to win by knockout.”