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UFC heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos stops by Burbank

MMA fighter Junior Dos Santos sits down at Morton's ahead of December title bout with Cain Velasquez.

October 25, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: UFC heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos stopped by Morton's Steakhouse in Burbank to talk about his upcoming bout with Cain Velasquez.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: UFC heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

BURBANK — It seems the only thing Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos does more frequently than knock people out these days is sport an ear-to-ear grin.

The affable and always-engaging “Cigano” sat down once more at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Burbank on Thursday afternoon, interrupting his training camp in his native Brazil, to promote his year-end title defense against Cain Velasquez.

For roughly two hours, the man who’s knocked out 11 opponents in a 15-1 career joked, laughed, smiled and spoke about his career thus far, Velasquez and everything in between while showcasing the friendly demeanor that’s quickly made him a fan favorite in the mixed-martial-arts world.

“I really believe in ... positive energy,” said dos Santos, who won the title from Velasquez in November 2011 with a first-round knockout in the UFC’s debut on FOX. “I really believe to deserve good things, you have to be a good person. I try to be the best I can to other people.”

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Tickets for the UFC 155 card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas go on sale Friday, as dos Santos will defend his title for the second time. It was the third time dos Santos dropped by Morton’s for a UFC media luncheon, as the knockout artist has quickly embraced the roll of UFC champ and all that it entails.

“I’m enjoying it, I like it,” he said. “Now people give me more attention — all kinds of people.”

Right now though, dos Santos’ attention is on Velasquez (10-1), an all-around talent with phenomenal wrestling skills and stamina who recently stopped Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva with a savage first-round beating.

With a crushing overhand right and a barrage of rights and lefts on the ground to follow, dos Santos defeated Velasquez in just 64 seconds when the two met originally. Should the fight stay standing again, dos Santos sees no reason for a different result.

“I love to knock people out. I will do my best to knock him out again,” said dos Santos, who is 9-0 inside the UFC’s octagon, having won six by knockout and another via submission due to strikes. “His striking is good, but if he accepts a fight standing with me, he’ll get knocked out again. I don’t think he’s gonna do that.

“If he gives me the opportunity again, it’s gonna be faster than last time.”

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