The heavyweight champion of the world marked his territory at the expense of Frank Mir.
Junior dos Santos strengthened his stranglehold on the division and retained his title with a stirring second-round technical knockout over Mir in the UFC 146 main event on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Dos Santos (15-1, 9-0 UFC) put the finishing touches on his 10th consecutive victory 3:04 into round two.
“I’m feeling awesome,” said dos Santos, his body draped in the Brazilian flag. “It’s amazing.”
Dos Santos stuffed an early takedown from the challenger, waved his index finger in response and pecked away at Mir with stiff jabs, right crosses and brutal body blows. Late in the first frame, he cracked Mir with a right hook to the temple and flurried on the wounded Las Vegan. The round came to a close with Mir still very much in trouble.
The former champion’s situation only deteriorated in round two. Dos Santos, who had predicted a second-round finish all along, countered a knee to the body with a thudding straight right that sent Mir crashing backward. The Brazilian swarmed with punches and then backed away, with Mir diving desperately for his legs. One final hammerfist on the clearly out-of-sorts Mir brought referee Herb Dean into play, as he stepped in on the challenger’s behalf.
“I knew he’d be very difficult to take down with regular wrestling takedowns,” Mir said. “That’s why I even tried to pull a foot lock just to get a scramble on the ground. I didn’t want a boxing match with him. He just forced me into one, and I couldn’t get him down.
“He’s the champ. He’s fast. I couldn’t get out of the way,” he added. “He hit me hard, and there were too many of them. Those were the hardest shots I’ve ever taken, and, eventually, they built up and I couldn’t do nothing about it. I wish I could have gotten away and given a better performance, but he’s a very dangerous guy.”
Velasquez Dominates ‘Bigfoot’ in Bloodbath
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez put a savage beating on Antonio Silva, as he finished the monstrous Brazilian with cold and calculated ground-and-pound 3:36 into the first round of the co-main event. By the time it was done, much of the center of the Octagon was stained with Silva’s blood.
Velasquez (10-1, 8-1 UFC) struck for an immediate takedown and went to work with elbows and punches. It quickly turned bloody, so much so that referee Josh Rosenthal paused the fight to have the Brazilian’s facial cuts checked by the cageside physician. Silva (16-4, 0-1 UFC) was allowed to continue, but the break only prolonged the inevitable. Back on the ground, Velasquez resumed his assault and closed it out with a series of nasty punches from the top.
“It’s been great to look at what I did in the past and get over that,” said Velasquez, who bounced back nicely from his November defeat to dos Santos. “This is a step in the right direction.”
Nelson Right Hand Flattens Herman
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 winner Roy Nelson needed less than a minute to dismiss Sengoku, Bellator Fighting Championships and EliteXC veteran Dave Herman in their brief showdown at heavyweight. Nelson (17-7, 4-3 UFC) finished it 51 seconds into round one.
Herman (21-4, 1-2 UFC) attempted to use his reach to keep the former International Fight League champion at bay. He was unsuccessful. Nelson lunged in, fired the right hand for which he has become known and folded Herman where he stood. Referee Steve Mazzagatti was on the scene in an instant to prevent the Fort Wayne, Ind., native from absorbing further damage.
Miocic Stays Unbeaten, Stops Del Rosario
The undefeated Stipe Miocic kept his perfect record intact, as he dispatched Shane del Rosario with ruthless second-round ground-and-pound in a featured heavyweight matchup. A violent volley of elbows brought it to a close 3:14 into round two.
Del Rosario (11-1, 0-1 UFC) established his superiority on the feet in the first round, smashing Miocic’s legs, body and arms with a series of beautiful kicks. Round two was a different story. Miocic (9-0, 3-0 UFC) struck for a quick takedown, carved through del Rosario’s guard and bludgeoned him with forearms and elbows. The assault left del Rosario with his first loss and a hideous diagonal gash above his right eye.
Struve Armbar Submits Johnson
Stefan Struve submitted Strikeforce import Lavar Johnson with a first-round armbar in their heavyweight showcase. Johnson (17-6, 2-1 UFC) tapped out 65 seconds into round one, his face contorted by pain.
Johnson bloodied the 6-foot-11 Dutchman’s bottom lip with one of his heavy uppercuts but wandered into a tie-up on the cage. Struve (24-5, 8-3 UFC) pulled guard, shifted his hips into position for the armbar and locked up the finish.
“You want to see what your opponent does. I felt his control, and I thought I could get the armbar if I jumped guard,” Struve said. “I felt like I could get my hips in place and tap him out. He’s a heavy hitter, so I didn’t want to give him any chance at all to win against me.”
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