Holy Heavyweights!!! Saturday night in Las Vegas the UFC showcased an all-heavyweight main card for the first time in the organization’s history. Some fans and pundits were not all that impressed with the action and some were extremely excited at how the event panned out. However, history will tell you not to expect these goliaths to do anything other than what they did last night and that was beat the living hell out of one another.
There were some very interesting fights on the undercard as well. Former WEC lightweight champ Jamie Varner entered the Octagon for the first time in five years as a late replacement for an injured Evan Dunham, taking on undefeated Brazilian prospect Edson Barboza. Not many gave Varner a chance, but lo and behold a more mature and humble Varner took the fight to Barboza and earned the TKO victory just three-and-a-half minutes into round one. Varner has been training alongside the UFC’s 155-pound title-holder, Benson Henderson, and it seems to have paid off in a big way.
UFC fans were finally treated to the debut of another Brazilian, this time in the form of light heavyweight Glover Teixeira as he completely dominated Kyle Kingsbury. Between visa problems and other assorted issues it has taken a long time for Teixeira to enter the Octagon, but man did he make a serious statement. His trainer Chuck Liddell came in and gave him a huge congratulatory hug after the fight had ended via Arm-Triangle choke at 1:53 of the opening frame. The win was the sixteenth in a row for Teixeira who last tasted defeat in March of 2005 to UFC middleweight Ed Herman.
Dan Hardy finally got back in the win column with a first round knockout over Duane Ludwig. I can’t say I was all that impressed with “The Outlaw” who was losing the round in my opinion, but a win is a win and he saved his job with his performance last night. Jason Miller once again looked awful last night in a losing effort against C.B. Dolloway. With an unimpressive performance against Michael Bisping hanging over his head Miller needed a win here and he didn’t get it. It looked like he injured his knee in the first round, but apparently he was cut after an altercation backstage. At this time no one knows exactly what happened, but it was enough combined with his lackluster showings for Dana White to let him go.
In other undercard action TUF 14 featherweight winner Diego Brandao looked like a monster in the first round against Darren Elkins but subsequently lost rounds two and three after he seemingly stopped fighting. Maybe he gassed or got injured, but he was not the same fighter in the last two rounds that he was in the first. Paul Sass ended Jacob Volkmann’s five-fight winning streak with a first round submission and former WEC featherweight champ Mike Brown won his second consecutive fight with a Unanimous Decision victory over Daniel Pineda.
In the first heavyweight bout of the night Stefan Struve didn’t need to take any significant strikes from Lavar Johnson to know he didn’t want to stand with the man who just knocked Pat Barry out in the first round just three short weeks ago. Struve quickly jumped and pulled guard on the Madera, CA native earning a Submission of the Night bonus for his armbar victory just 55 seconds into the first round. Struve displayed the kind of fighting smarts that can take him along way considering he has all the physical tools to be a top heavyweight for years to come. He just turned 24 in February and already has 29 career fights with eleven of those in the UFC.
In a battle of undefeated heavyweights Stipe Miocic took on Shane del Rosario in the night’s second heavyweight tilt. Del Rosario had been out of action for well over a year after being injured in a car accident and started off the first round strong, but Miocic took the former Muay Thai Kickboxing Champion down in the second round and earned a TKO victory at 3:14. Miocic is an excellent athlete having played baseball and was a nationally ranked wrestler at Cleveland State University. On top of being a fighter he works as a firefighter and emergency medical technician. Sooner or later he will have to devote 100% of his time to fighting if he wants to advance his career in the UFC. He is now 3-0 with wins over Joey Beltran, Phil De Fries and Del Rosario since signing with the organization.
How can you not love Roy Nelson? “Big Country” always brings it and is as entertaining a fighter outside of the cage as he is inside of it. He may never compete for a world championship, but he is a tough fight for any UFC heavyweight as evidenced by being only one of two men to take UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos the distance. He also packs a powerful right hand and has a very underrated ground game. He took on Dave Herman last night after having his first two opponents changed due to injuries and changes in the card. Kudos to Herman for taking the fight on such short notice, but he didn’t last very long succumbing to a Nelson bomb just 51 seconds into the first round.
Holy sh*t!!! That just about sums up the fourth fight between former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and his meal for the night, Antonio Silva. Velasquez looked like a man who was pissed off and caught a kick from Silva just ten seconds into the fight and pummeled the snot out of the Brazilian giant. A well placed elbow opened up a nasty cut on Silva’s forehead leaving both “Bigfoot” and the canvas a bloody mess. After being checked on by the ringside physician, Silva said he could see, but by the way he was shaking his head to keep the blood out of his eyes it was just a matter of time before the fight was stopped. The referee finally stopped the fight at 3:36 of the first round. Velasquez wanted to make a statement and he most certainly did last night.
In the main event two-time heavyweight champ Frank Mir took on Dos Santos for an opportunity to wear the strap for the third time. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if the fight stayed on the feet Mir was going to get knocked out. After a futile attempt to take “Cigano” down, Mir decided he would have a kickboxing match with the Brazilian slugger. Things did not turn out well for Mir who barely survived the first round before being extinguished at 3:04 of the second round. There’s no shame in losing to Dos Santos, and Mir came into the fight in great shape, but he stood no chance unless he got the fight to the mat.
It looks like we will see a rematch between Velasquez and Dos Santos for the title. If the Velasquez who fought last night shows up in that fight then there’s a pretty good chance he will become a two-time champion himself. On another note former champion Brock Lesnar was in attendance at the MGM Grand last night and unless White is just playing games with us it looks as though we could see him back in action soon. Maybe he’s not enjoying his time with the WWE although that shouldn’t come as a surprise as he loathed the business in his first go around. White was almost too comical when the discussion turned to Lesnar so maybe it’s just him screwing with everyone, but stranger things have happened.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC