After tonight's UFC 131, there can be no doubt that Junior dos Santos is one of the UFC's top heavyweights. But is he the very best? He'll finally get the chance to prove it against champ Cain Velasquez when the champ is fully recovered from rotator cuff surgery.
That's IF you can truly recover from a surgery that serious. If Velasquez has truly suffered the kind of long term loss of power and flexibility in his right shoulder that many rotator cuff surgery survivors experience, dos Santos may very well be the UFC's best heavyweight already.
Against Carwin, dos Santos looked crisp, powerful, fast and dangerous. The only flaw in dos Santos' fight tonight was a failure to finish. He very nearly put Carwin away in the first, but couldn't quite do it. At one point dos Santos called for referee Herb Dean to stop the fight, but Dean let Carwin survive.
Carwin proved that was the right call by mounting a game come back in the second round, hurting dos Santos with a hard left hand. But dos Santos turned things back around with a smashing high kick to the head. Carwin managed to partially block it, but he never really got back into the fight.
Dos Santos continued to batter Carwin in the third, bloodying him and likely breaking his nose. He put a seal on it with two late take downs of the former national champion NCAA wrestler.
Dos Santos has been ready for a UFC title shot for a long time. Now he's finally been promised his shot.