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Junior dos Santos, Dana White equally pleased after UFC on FOX 1

White unbothered by an abbreviated main event in network television debut

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Junior dos Santos celebrates with his new UFC heavyweight championship belt at UFC on FOX in Anaheim, Calif. Dos Santos defeated former champion Cain Velasquez by knockout at 1:04 of the first round.

Dos Santos upsets Velasquez

KSNV coverage of UFC on FOX 1, Nov. 12, 2011.

Velasquez vs. dos Santos

Junior dos Santos, of Brazil, gets the title belt after defeating Cain Velasquez in the UFC mixed martial arts heavyweight title bout, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Anaheim, Calif. Launch slideshow »

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Junior dos Santos cracked jokes and detailed celebration plans during the UFC on FOX 1 post-fight press conference.

He acted with the exact temperament expected after dethroning previously undefeated UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez 64 seconds into their fight. What may have come as a surprise was that UFC President Dana White spoke just as positively.

“It was the perfect night,” White said. “Nothing went wrong.”

The first UFC fight ever on network television ending in barely more than a minute seemed the opposite of perfect. It featured nothing resembling momentum swings or heavy slugging exchanges that would have captivated casual sports fans.

But White said that didn’t matter. The focus on the first show of a seven-year deal with FOX, according to White, was to introduce a fresh audience to the sport with a flawless presentation.

He felt the UFC accomplished that goal. He described the co-production with the UFC and FOX on the evening as “seamless”.

“As soon as the fight starts, whatever happens, happens,” White said. “We can’t control the fights. That’s why I said this thing could go 30 seconds or 25 minutes. Everyone knew it had the potential to do either.”

Dos Santos, a 27-year-old from Brazil, had a vested interest in the bout concluding as quickly as possible. He knew it was his best shot to win.

Dos Santos’ boxing is his biggest strength, but he’s tended to fade in the later rounds against elite competition. Velasquez, 29, is known for his nonstop motor and world-class conditioning.

“I would have not liked to have fought five rounds with Cain,” dos Santos said. “It would be a big advantage for him because he has really good stamina. It was a different pressure on me.”

Dos Santos (14-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) finished Velasquez (9-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) at the first opportunity. As Velasquez ducked his head and came forward, he left himself open and dos Santos delivered an overhand right.

Velasquez fell to the floor and dos Santos came right behind him to throw more punches. Velasquez said he remembered the whole sequence, but couldn’t will his body to respond.

“It’s the name of the game with someone as talented as dos Santos,” Velasquez said. “In the fight game, it happens. You lose.”

Velasquez was somber at the press conference. He offered short answers and stared straight ahead without flinching for 35 minutes.

Dos Santos, meanwhile, was engaging and the life of the party. He looked every bit like a fighter who had just accomplished his career-long goal.

“I want to go back to Brazil and make a big, big barbecue for all my family and partners,” dos Santos said.

Dos Santos will have some time to enjoy his accomplishment before his next opponent is lined up. The winner of the UFC 141 main event between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem, scheduled for Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, will receive the first chance at dos Santos’ belt.

Dos Santos picked Lesnar in the showdown, but wasn’t confident with the prediction.

“I don’t have a preference,” dos Santos said. “I never choose an opponent. It doesn’t matter who’s going to be my opponent.”

Dos Santos doesn’t worry about what he can’t control. It was the same point White tried to make in the aftermath of UFC on FOX 1.

To White, the event was an overwhelming success regardless of how it finished.

“That’s what happens when you put two heavyweights in there who can bang,” White said. “Anything can happen.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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