Junior dos Santos threw down another gauntlet last night in the UFC 146 main event opposite Frank Mir. Photo of the UFC Heavyweight Champion by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting via SBnation.com.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last night (May 26, 2012) tied a very large ribbon around its historic all-Heavyweight pay-per-view (PPV) main card from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 146: "Dos Santos vs. Mir" featured 2,485 pounds worth of mixed martial arts (MMA) muscle (and Roy Nelson) in the five featured fights of the night, even though each and every one of them had experienced some sort of shake up. No matter, the big boys came to bang and that's exactly what they did, with only two bouts getting out of the first round.
The main event between UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir was among them; however, it almost ended in the opening frame thanks to the crisp boxing of "Cigano" and the terrible takedowns of the former two-time division champion.
Check that, takedown, singular, because Mir completely abandoned all attempts to get the fight to the floor, where he and everyone else knew his best chances to win existed, shortly after the Brazilian thwarted his first attempt in the initial moments of the marquee match up. Indeed, Mir appeared content to trade punches, which was bound to end badly the longer he continued to think he had more than a puncher's chance upright.
And it did.
Mir got clipped in the final minute of round one. He was dazed and very confused, but he managed to hang on until he was saved by the bell. But, it didn't matter because dos Santos was rolling, with each punch he landed, his confidence soared higher and higher.
It was a straight right that ultimately signaled the beginning of the end, with Mir falling straight back like a felled 6'3" oak tree, unable to even brace his landing. Dos Santos moved in for the kill, and when a punch-drunk Mir rolled the wrong way to try and grab a limb for survival, the Brazilian landed a clean hammerfist that compelled the referee in charge of the action to intervene.
This wasn't a close fight whatsoever. Kudos to Mir for stepping up and taking the spot of Alistair Overeem, but other than that there isn't much for him, or fight fans, to take away from this lopsided outcome. Dos Santos has proven once again that going toe-to-toe with him is a very, very big mistake.
Someone will eventually learn from the mistakes of others and attempt to test dos Santos on the ground. And who better than a wrestling powerhouse who has already learned this mistake firsthand.
I'm talking to you, Cain Velasquez.
"Brown Pride" was also in action last night, and he absolutely steamrolled Antonio Silva. I'm not even sure if that's an accurate statement because it was a complete ass kicking.
Velasquez quietly stormed out of his corner, grabbed "Bigfoot," tossed him to the canvas and then just went bonkers, unleashing six months of pent up fury on poor Antonio. The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) standout soon split open the Brazilian's forehead with a vicious series of elbows that turned the Octagon immediately into a crime scene.
The referee, mercifully, stepped in and sent Silva to his corner; however, the ringside physician deemed him well enough to continue getting his butt beat. And Velasquez was more than willing to oblige. Fortunately, once the official realized shortly thereafter that Velasquez was not going to relent -- his ground-and-pound was simply savage -- he waived off the the proud Mexican-American.
It was clear the Velasquez wanted to prove a point after his 64-second loss to dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1 late last year. And he certainly made it with an exclamation point: He's ready for a rematch!
Book it Dana White.
Sandwiched in the middle in the main card was the meaty Roy Nelson, who had dropped three of his last four fights inside the Octagon and desperately needed a win over Dave Herman to keep his job, or at the very least, his trademark beer belly.
Have it your way, "Big Country."
Nelson, who is known to have dynamite in his portly paws and granite in his chunky chin, needed only the former to dispatch of "Pee Wee" less than one minute into the first round. Nelson connected with a huge haymaker that folded up Herman like a beach chair.
It was academic from that point forward.
Nelson landed another shot to the slumping Herman, but all that appeared to do was stir him out of his nappy nap. Herman protested the stoppage, but the replays were pretty clear that he was in no condition to continue at the time the referee stepped in to save him from additional, and unnecessary, punishment.
It's safe to say that Nelson has lived to see another night inside the Octagon ... and another seat at the nearby Bellagio buffet.
In perhaps the most disappointing matchmaking in recent history, the promotion pitted two promising prospects -- Stipe Miocic and Shane del Rosario -- opposite one another to determine who would keep his perfect record intact and who would suffer his first professional loss.
Chalk another one up for the Croatian.
Miocic survived a very tough first round, during which del Rosario -- and accomplished kickboxer -- connected with several head kicks and clean strikes. Miocic, an accomplished amateur wrestler who also happens to have a Golden Gloves boxing pedigree, seemed confused by the southpaw, unable to mount much offense. Eventually, he wisely decided to shoot (and secure) a takedown, but he let him up just as the round ended.
Once it was pretty clear that del Rosario was going to continue getting the better of the stand up in the second stanza, Miocic once again came to his senses and took down the Strikeforce import and, this time, kept him there. In fact, Miocic did more than just that, he force fed del Rosario a healthy helping of elbows to the face, which not only caused a cut, but also set up an eventual technical knockout stoppage.
Del Rosario simply could not escape the assault and eventually the elbow overdose led to a stop on Queer Street and his first-ever taste of pro MMA defeat. Nonetheless, he demonstrated that he has high-level talent and hopefully it's not more than another year before his next fight.
Miocic, meanwhile, is now likely onto bigger and better things.
Lavar Johnson, on the other hand, couldn't get much bigger than the 6'11" Stefan Struve. The knockout artist, riding back-to-back "Knockout of the Night" performances, was looking to make it three straight against the stretchy "Skyscraper," but needed to bring the heat early to get 'er done.
And he did just that, connecting with a big punch early that appeared to get Struve's attention pretty quick. Unfortunately for Johnson, it most likely served as a not-so-friendly reminder that he needed to get the fight to the ground as quickly as possible to break the one-trick pony.
Johnson got lazy, or perhaps he was just unaware, when he was tangled in Struve's long limbs, attempting to deliver strikes from the top position. Struve, who is quite crafty, snagged Johnson's arm from his back, locked up his legs and rolled for a fight-ending armbar. He locked it in so tight and forced Johnson to tap before he even had the opportunity to really do some damage.
In doing so, Struve locked up his third straight victory and sent Johnson back to the drawing board, which hopefully includes shapes of Brazilian men and their submission holds. At the very least, a chapter on jiu-jitsu defense.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC 146: "Dos Santos vs. Mir" in the comments section below.
Is Johnson a just a Heavyweight Houston Alexander? Can Miocic hang with the top dogs in the division? Anyone still calling for Nelson to make the cut to Light Heavyweight? Who on Earth wants a piece of Velasquez? Does dos Santos (if it happens) have the ability to thwart such a barbaric attack? How about them Heavyweights!?!?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC 146 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Dos Santos vs. Mir" event right here. Last, and certainly not least, check out our complete UFC 146 results recap of the Facebook/FX "Prelims" right here.