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UFC 160: Looking ahead to Las Vegas’ Memorial Day weekend card

Velasquez, dos Santos could set up a trilogy fight with victories at MGM Grand

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Steve Marcus

Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos top, gets hit by Cain Velasquez during a heavyweight title bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Velasquez reclaimed the belt by unanimous decision.

Velasquez Reclaims Title in UFC 155

Cain Velasquez holds up the championship belt after defeating Junior Dos Santos during a heavyweight title bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Velasquez reclaimed the belt by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

James Te Huna Men In Black entrance

Instead of moving on from the fight that left him bruised and beltless, Junior dos Santos chose to relive it repeatedly.

Dos Santos, the former heavyweight champion, has watched the film of his UFC 155 unanimous-decision loss to Cain Velasquez more times than he can remember.

“I wanted to watch it because I wanted to learn what I did wrong there,” dos Santos said. “I for sure made a lot of mistakes in that fight.”

The only thing that could help him momentarily get the performance out of his mind is a victory where he mends those mistakes. Dos Santos (16-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) will have his opportunity when he meets Mark Hunt (9-7 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at UFC 160 on May 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It’s the same night Velasquez (11-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) looks to defend his belt against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (18-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in the main event. Dos Santos knows it could put him and Velasquez, whom the Brazilian knocked out previously before losing in the rematch at UFC 155, on the same timetable once again.

“Something was wrong with me that night, and he did well, too,” dos Santos said of the second Velasquez meeting. “He won the title back. Now we have to get this third fight.”

It’s nothing personal, though. If Velasquez loses to Silva, a third meeting isn’t something dos Santos will seek out.

Dos Santos wants his championship belt back, not revenge.

“The title is more important,” dos Santos said. “The title is the objective of all fighters I think, but it’s definitely my objective.”

Check below for a complete rundown of the other fights scheduled for UFC 160.

Light heavyweight bout: No. 4 Glover Teixeira (20-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs. James Te Huna (16-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC) With an injury to Teixeira’s original opponent Ryan Bader, Te Huna steps into a golden opportunity to boost his profile. No word on if the Australian will break out his “Men In Black” entrance routine for another fight, though.

Lightweight bout: No. 3 Gray Maynard (12-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC) vs. No. 6 T.J. Grant (20-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) Just two fights removed from his failed championship bid against Frankie Edgar, Maynard will get another shot at the lightweight title if he wins. The same goes for Grant, as UFC President Dana White announced this bout would be a title eliminator after champion Benson Henderson’s last victory.

Lightweight bout: No. 5 Donald Cerrone (19-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) vs. K.J. Noons (11-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) Expect exhilaration in the evening’s pay-per-view opener. Noons, former Elite XC champion and Strikeforce top contender, and “Cowboy” both come from a kickboxing background and rely on aggression in the cage.

Welterweight bout: Mike Pyle (24-8-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) vs. Rick Story (15-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) Two of the tougher welterweights in the UFC, Story has only been finished once in his career and Pyle rides a three-knockout streak into this bout. The winner could break into the top 10 of the UFC rankings, as both are just outside at the moment.

Featherweight bout: Dennis Bermudez (10-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) vs. Max Holloway (7-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) Both fighters’ UFC careers have played out jarringly similar. They both lost by first-round submission in their UFC debuts before winning three in a row, though they won their most recent fights by controversial decisions.

Welterweight bout: Colton Smith (3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Robert Whittaker (10-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) One day before Smith captured “The Ultimate Fighter 16" title, Whittaker won the reality-show crown for the season that pitted Australia against England. One of them will become the unofficial ultimate “Ultimate Fighter” at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Click to enlarge photo

Khabib Nurmagomedov grabs the leg of Gleison Tibau during their bout at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Lightweight bout: Khabib Nurmagomedov (19-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs. Abel Trujillo (10-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) The 24-year-old Nurmagomedov is one of the most heralded 155-pound prospects in mixed martial arts. Since coming to the UFC, the Russian has shown off his versatility with one knockout, one submission and one decision.

Welterweight bout: Stephen Thompson (6-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Nah’shon Burrell (8-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) Two of the more exciting fighters in the 170-pound division square off, as Thompson is a former kickboxing champion and Burrell got into a memorable brawl against Yuri Villefort in his UFC debut.

Bantamweight bout: No. 8 Brian Bowles (10-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. George Roop (13-9-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) Ravaged by a continual loop of injuries, Bowles fights for the first time in 18 months over Memorial Day weekend. That the former WEC champion has held on to a spot in the UFC rankings speaks to his status.

Featherweight bout: Jeremy Stephens (20-9 MMA, 7-8 UFC) vs. Estevan Payan (14-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) Stephens, a six-year UFC lightweight veteran, will try to reinvent himself at 145 pounds after enduring the first three-fight losing streak of his career. Payan comes over from Strikeforce.

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

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