Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Houston, Texas, for the third time on Saturday night (Oct. 19, 2013) and the pay-per-view (PPV) event was just as historical as the previous two trips, delivering one of the best fight cards in the company's history.
In the night's main event, Cain Velasquez battered Junior dos Santos and stopped him in the fifth round, handing "Cigano" the third loss of his career and easily the worst beating he has ever suffered. Velasquez not only holds two victories over the Brazilian bomber, but he comes out on top in the best Heavyweight trilogy this sport has ever seen.
Watch full Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos video highlights right here.
The co-main event did not quite live up to expectations, with Daniel Cormier beating Roy Nelson over the course of three rounds in a Light Heavyweight snoozer (watch video highlights here). It obviously could not exceed the fight that came prior to their showdown, with Gilbert Melendez edging Diego Sanchez in the frontrunner for "Fight of the Year" and one of the best scraps we have ever seen in the Octagon, let alone in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Watch full Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez video highlights right here.
Unfortunately, in a sport like MMA, each bout can only have one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs, while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows. Every competitor who steps foot in the eight-walled cage is looking for that moment of glory. Some capture it, others don't.
There were several shining stars on UFC 166, including knockout artists and a handful of surprises. With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser from the event in Houston.
Drum roll please ...
Biggest Winner -- Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez
Hopefully none of you have a problem with us cheating by putting both the winner of the fight, Melendez, with the man he ousted, Sanchez, in a scrap for the ages.
In one of the most wildest fights ever, Melendez and Sanchez engaged in a slugfest, along with scrambles and exciting submission attempts on the ground, beating out Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson in the "Fight of the Year" as it stands.
Although the fans had a problem with Melendez's win, the judges made the right call since "El Nino" edged "The Dream" in most of the stand up battles and the fight as a whole.
There may not be another fighter with as much heart as Sanchez, who never stops coming forward, despite wearing the crimson mask. "The Dream" even dropped Melendez and looked to submit him, but "El Nino" recovered and kept on slugging it out with his adversary.
This was simply one of the best fights in the history of the sport, and if these two want to do battle again -- let them go until one cannot go any longer. An absolute war for the ages that words cannot explain if you missed it.
Runner Up -- Cain Velasquez
In almost an identical performance from UFC 155 -- only a notch better -- Velasquez defeated dos Santos for the third time by stoppage to become the best Heavyweight in the world hand down.
This victory was more about Velasquez's legacy, and that he is the most well-rounded heavyweight the sport has ever seen, with his cardio, stand up, grappling and wrestling rounding him up as a talent we have never seen before.
With the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history, Velasquez avenged his first loss to "Cigano" by finishing him with strikes and was ultra close to finishing him in the third round with his "girly fists," too.
Velasquez now likely awaits Fabricio Werdum, and it is going to take a hell of a lot for the Brazilian submission expert to find a way through the dominat champion.
Biggest Loser -- Roy Nelson
Not that Nelson lost any worse than he did against Stipe Miocic (he actually looked better), his loss mostly affects his standing with the company. In other words, the future does not look bright for "Big Country."
He did not have many answers for Cormier's takedowns and his grappling, and the American Kickboxing Academy's wrestling coach mostly used his striking to brutalize The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 winner.
Nelson's lopsided loss costs him any chances of even being considered in a title fight anytime soon, and because he is not the most popular competitors on the roster in the eyes of Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, who knows what the promotion will do with him after only suffering two losses in a row (and being 3-3 in his last six).
As White told the media this past week, Nelson was "not too bright" and "cost him a lot of money" with contract disputes. The boss now has a reason to save some money if he feels the beer-bellied "Big Country" is not worth it.
Runner Up -- Junior dos Santos
All the science in the world could not help dos Santos in this fight, as he lost the third fight in his trilogy with Velasquez as nearly as badly as he did in the second at UFC 155 in Dec. 2012.
Without taking anything away from dos Santos' heart, Velasquez was able to rock him worse than he did in their rematch, with Herb Dean putting his hands on Velasquez in the third round as he was a split-second away from stopping the fight.
The familiar face of disappointment was tattooed on dos Santos' head, as he was incredibly frustrated with Velasquez's ability to find positives inside of the clinch, as well as staggering the former champion often in the third round, as well as the championship rounds.
With dos Santos eating close to 300 strikes landed, he will exit this fight still a top five heavyweight who still has the ability to knockout anybody in the division. He simply cannot beat this version of Velasquez, losing the trilogy with the last two fights being awfully lopsided.
For complete UFC 166: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3" results click here.