Junior dos Santos successfully defended his heavyweight belt, using a second-round TKO to defeat Frank Mir in the main event of the UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.
Dos Santos, who dominated the fight from the outset, turned aside a kick by Mir about two minutes into the second round and followed it up with a right hand. The blow knocked Mir down — and may have knocked him out briefly — although Dos Santos (15-1) landed one more punch before referee Herb Dean stopped the action.
“I’m feeling awesome, man,” Dos Santos said during the televised post-fight interview. “It’s amazing, you know. It’s not bad for a nice guy.”
Mir sought to join Randy Couture as the only three-time heavyweight champ in UFC history.
This was Dos Santos’ first title defense after seizing the crown with a first-round knockout of Cain Velsaquez at UFC on FOX 1 in November. It was the first bout between the two, although Mir is well familiar with Dos Santos’ mentor Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira — who had his arm broken at December’s UFC 140 by Mir.
“Nogueira is a tremendous fighter and Mire is a really good fighter, too,” Dos Santos. “That is between them. I don’t care about it. I respect my mentor so much, (but) I came here to defend my belt and I did."
Dos Santos predicted a the fight would end with a second-round knockout. One of the sport’s top strikers, Dos Santos was seen to have less of an advantage if the match went to the mat where Mir is tied with Nate Diaz and Kenny Florian for the most submission wins (eight) in MMA history.
This event was the first time in UFC history where the main card consisted entirely of heavyweights. The total weight of the 10 fighters involved in the final five bouts of the night weighed in at a total of 2,485 pounds.
Velasquez (10-1) fought for the first time since he lost his belt to dos Santos in Saturday’s co-main event. In the months since, he overcame a knee injury and it was clear from the outset he was ready.
He put Antonio Silva (16-4) on his back in the opening seconds of the first round as Velasquez began to pound away at Silva’s face. A gash above Silva’s right eye was opened up, causing blood to spill onto the met. The fight was stopped briefly before a doctor with the Nevada Athletic Commission allowed the bout to continue.
When it resumed, Velasquez continued his assault on Silva’s grill before the ref stepped in to give Velasquez the TKO win.
"Everytime you go in there it’s a new challenge," Velasquez said. "I knew he was going to be a tough guy to finish and he posed certain threats but I’m happy I was able to go in there and perform. I took my time and waited to get good position to turn it on and finish the fight. I had to get really good posture and sit up in order to get power and land those hard shots. I knew if I kept the speed up the ref would step in and stop it."
Roy Nelson was the oldest (35) shortest (6-foot) fighter on the main card, but he certainly had the best beard — and maybe the best strike of the night as he crumpled Dave Herman. An overhand right by Nelson (and another punch to Nelson’s head for good measure) led to a stoppage 51 seconds into the bout.
“A lot of eating,” Nelson said when asked what the secret to his punching power was. “I don’t want to miss a meal.”
Nelson improved to 18–7 with the win while Herman fell to 21-4.
"My plan was to wrestle. My coaches had a different game plan which was ‘hit him in the face,’ guess it worked," Nelson said. "Clearly my hands have dynamite in them or small rock or whatever. I have to congratulate Dave for stepping up and fighting me. Everyone kept dropping out. I think it’s clear to everyone that the fans are here to see me and not the UFC. Now I’m going to Carl’s Jr. and getting a western bacon cheeseburger."
Stipe Miocic (9-0) remained undefeated as a professional, although he had to endure several solid kicks in the first round by Shane Del Rosario (11-1). Miocic put Del Rosario on the ground early in the second round and began to batter him with fists and elbows, blows that left Del Rosario’s face with a large cut over his right eye and a bloody mouth. The fight was stopped at 3:14 of Round 2.
“Keeping throwing and make them stop it,” Miocic said when asked of his approach in the second round.
Stefan Struve (28-5) ended the first bout of the main card a minute into the first round as he put Lavar Johnson (17-6) in an arm bar. Johnson, who had Struve on his back, tapped out as the 6-foot-11 Struve upped his UFC record to 8-3.
"It feels really good," Struve said. "One minute and five seconds is always a good time to win a fight. Everyone kept telling me I was going to get knocked out. I didn’t want to give him a chance to do what he does best. They way he was holding me I felt like I could get the armbar so I went for it."
On the peliminary card, featherweight Darren Elkins (14-2) defeated Diego Brandao (14-8) by unanimous decision. Lightweight Jamie Varner (20-6-1, two no-contests) handed Brazilian Edson Barboza (10-1) his first career loss with a first-round TKO win.
Middleweight C.B. Dollaway (12-4) got the better of Jason "Mayhem" Miller, winning by unanimous decision. Miller had some comical moves early in the fight, even applying a "noogie" to Dollaway’s head, but that ended when Dollaway took control of the fight in the second round.
Dan Hardy opened the FX portion of with a win over fellow welterweight Duane Ludwig. Hardy (24-10, one no-contest) snapped a four-fight losing streak with a first-round KO win over Ludwig (21–13) at 3:51.
In the early prelims, lightweight Paul Sass improved to 13-0 with a submission win over Jacob Volkmann (14-3). Brazilian light heavyweight Glover Teixeira (18-2) made his long-awaited UFC debut one to remember with a win over Kyle Kingsbury (11–4, one no-contest) by arm-triangle choke at 1:53 of the first round. And featherweight Mike Brown (26-8) kicked things off with a unanimous decision win over Daniel Pineda (17–8).