Gonzaga was a well respected veteran who had fought in the UFC since 2003. He was known for having outstanding jiu-jitsu as well as knockout power. He was the more experienced fighter, having taken on some of the best fighters in the world. He fought Randy Couture for the championship in 2007 but came up short. He also took on Fabricio Werdum, Shane Carwin, and had a highlight reel knockout over Mirko Cro Cop.
Dos Santos entered into the UFC in 2008. He was establishing himself as a well rounded fighter. He was primarily known for his knockout ability and superior take down defense. He was 4-0 and had finished all 4 of his opponents. 3 by KO, and 1 by submission. His opponents included Stephan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Gilbert Yvel, plus his own highlight reel knockout over Fabricio Werdum. The odds seemed to be stacked in Gonzaga’s favor due to his experience, but Dos Santos exciting finishes and undefeated record made everyone curious to see if he could finish Gonzaga as well. Was Dos Santos the real deal? We were about to find out.
Round 1: Both fighters meet in the center of the Octagon. They start feeling each other out, circling each other, and not really doing too much in the first minute. Gonzaga lands a hard leg kick that moves Dos Santos whole body. Seconds later, Gonzaga shoots for a takedown and scores. Dos Santos, who has amazing balance and takedown defense, pops right back up only seconds later. Dos Santos breaks Gonzaga’s grip and they square off in the center once again.
They circle each other for the next 30 seconds, not throwing too much. Gonzaga fakes one jab then lands a moderate leg kick. Gonzaga follows up with an attempted punch, but Dos Santos lands a good right cross to Gonzaga’s face. Dos Santos starts to loosen up and starts throwing jabs to Gonzaga’s body. Dos Santos starts throwing more punches, becoming the more active of the two. His punches and his timing keeps Gonzaga at bay, who has not landed anything of significance for the last minute.
Gonzaga finally gets some space and attempts a wicked head kick that just misses. After trading a couple of attempted jabs, Dos Santos responds with a head kick of his own that Gonzaga blocks with his glove. Dos Santos throws another high kick that lands just behind Gonzaga’s head, on his back. For the next 30 or so seconds they both just feel each other out with light jab attempts, neither one lands.
Dos Santos gets loose and throws a strong over hand right to Gonzaga’s head that barely misses the mark. It moves Gonzaga back, and Dos Santos throws another one, again very close to landing to Gonzaga’s head. They square off again for a brief moment, then Gonzaga throws a kick to Dos Santos body. Gonzaga backs up briefly, and charges forward again, throwing yet another body kick. This time, Dos Santos is ready for him, and he throws a solid left hook that drops Gonzaga to the canvas. Dos Santos immediately pounces, throwing several punches to Gonzaga’s head while he lies on the mat. Gonzaga tries to cover his face to protect himself, but Dos Santos continues reigning down punches, eventually getting through Gonzaga’s guard. Dos Santos lands 4 to 5 more strong punches directly to Gonzaga’s face, then referee Josh Rosenthal jumps in to save Gonzaga from taking any further damage and stops the fight. Junior Dos Santos defeats Gabriel Gonzaga by KO in Round 1. We think Dos Santos is the real deal.