The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night for UFC 146. The all-heavyweight main card featured some of the top names in MMA starting off with the UFC Heavyweight Champ 28 year-old Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos (15-1) 6’ 4” tall, 238 lbs. defending his title against the former champ, 33 year-old Frank Mir (16-6) 6’3” tall, 240 lbs.
Since the popular Dos Santos frequently trains with the Nogueira brothers at the Black House Team Nogueira Gym on Miramar Road in San Diego, members of that gym like to lay claim to this fact and regularly attend his fights to cheer for him.
The other item worth noting is the fact that his opponent, Mir, beat Dos Santos’ dear friend and mentor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in UFC 140. Mir won a submission victory where he yanked Nogueira’s arm and shoulder out of their sockets with a painful Armbar.
After Mir latched onto his opponent’s leg, Dos Santos stepped free and the fighters traded blows. More than a few lefts and rights connected for Dos Santos as Mir concentrated more on his kicks. Dos Santos countered one leg kick with a left hook then followed with a combination.
Mir continued to throw kicks as Dos Santos answered with left hands. Then a hard right to the body scored for Dos Santos as he kept landing the stiff jabs. In the closing seconds, Dos Santos rocked Mir and swarmed him with punches, but Mir managed to stay on his feet until diving for a takedown just before time expired.
After Dos Santos landed two hooks, Mir went to the mat. Regaining his feet, he landed a side kick to the body. At this point Mir was accidentally poked in the eye. After being examined the fight was allowed to continue. With Dos Santos continuing to box, Mir returned to more leg kicks. Then Dos Santos countered with a solid right to floor Mir. Dos Santos immediately followed Mir to the mat with more devastating punches until the referee stepped in to halt the match.
As he predicted, Junior dos Santos gets the TKO victory at 3:04 of round two to improve to 15-1-0 and remains the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
In post fight interviews, the two combatants spoke respectfully of one another. Mir said, “Dos Santos is the champion for a reason. I was not used to fighting someone with his hand and foot speed. He surprised me.”
Dos Santos, who was praised for his takedown defense, said he was surprised at how Mir could take a punch, “I knew I had to beat him with my hands, but he can take a punch. Everything went as planned. I wanted to tire him out in the first round, then finish him off in the second.”
Cain Velasquez (10-1) 6’1” tall, 240 lbs. versus Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (16-4) 6’4” tall, 265 lbs.
Velasquez immediately caught Silva’s kick and sent him to the mat. From the top he landed a few blows until Silva landed a good up-kick. Velasquez then cut Silva with an elbow and followed with more. Silva began to bleed heavily from the bridge of the nose and blood went in Silva’s eyes.
At this point, time was called to check the cut. After the fight was allowed to continue, Velasquez was right back on top landing his punches while Silva kept scrambling to get back on his feet. On his back with Velasquez landing one punch after another, the referee finally stepped in to stop the carnage.
Winner: Cain Velasquez by TKO at 3:36 of round one. He now improves to 10-1-0.
Dave Herman (21-4) 6’4” tall, 242 lbs. challenged the irrepressible Roy “Big Country” Nelson (18-7) 6 foot tall, 263 lbs. in the third clash
Unlike the aforementioned matches, these two gents took their time and circled about for the opening 45 seconds. Then Nelson went for broke and landed this big overhand right. Herman collapsed to the mat. Nelson immediately pounced on Herman to land one final blow before the referee stopped the action.
Winner: Roy Nelson by knockout at 0:51 of round one. He improves to 17-7-0.
In his post-fight interview, Nelson was told, “In this fight it took you three punches to get him out of there.” Nelson, in an almost apologetic manner answered, “I can live with three punches.”
Stipe Miocic (9-0) 6’4″ tall, 240 lbs. versus Shane del Rosario (11-1) 6’4″ tall, 248 lbs.
From the outset, the two men were all action with Del Rosario fairing the kicks while Miocic answered with solid strikes and the occasional combinations.
Then Miocic changed up his tactics and started giving Del Rosario a wider variety of blows, countering with kicks and punches, even an uppercut.
Back came Del Rosario and he had Miocic backpedalling. An uppercut and a right cross from del Rosario were followed by a head kick. Miocic then scored a brief takedown just before the bell.
Round two began the same way Round one started with Del Rosario more comfortable landing the body kicks and Miocic answering with the punches to the body and head. Before long Del Rosario went down and Miocic was in hot pursuit trying to mount, but couldn’t.
Miocic continued to score with the punches but then stood up. Again he pounced on Del Rosario and began to land the nasty hammer-fists and short elbows. The beating continued from either the full mount or half-guard until the referee decided Del Rosario had had enough.
Winner: Stipe Miocic by TKO at 3:14 of round two. He improves to 9-0-0.
Also in the post-fight interviews we heard from the UFC CEO Dana White who exclaimed, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Now where have we heard that phrase before?
Then he was asked, “Who will Dos Santos face next?
“I haven’t even given it any thought,” said Mr. White.
Okay! We know Mr. White has never been one to make snap decisions. But in this case, I’m sure he’s given it a lot of thought. Surely a Dos Santos versus a healthier Cain Velasquez is on the agenda. At this point, it appears the two men are a stratosphere above of the rest of the competition and their performances at UFC 146 demonstrated that point, especially after they both put away their opponents with relative ease.