- The All-Heavyweight main card proved to be a success, delivery-wise, as all the heavyweight fights ended in spectacular finishes. One risk in having these heavyweight fights was the tendency for the fights to be slow and somewhat boring given that the big dudes are not known for amazing cardio. Luckily, their power and technique was enough to bring excitement to the table and end fights early.
- The Las Vegas crowd was amped all night, which can only mean good things. The Mexicans and Brazilians (droves of) in attendance certainly added to the fanfare. And did I say Charlize Theron was also in attendance? Goodness gracious. Oh yeah, Brock Lesnar was there too. Hi Brocko.
- While I’m not a big fan of Dan Hardy, his KO victory of Duane Ludwig made me smile. You can clearly see in his eyes after the referee stopped the match that he has longed for his winning ways to come back, dropping 3 back-to-back losses that started in his failed *and a bit premature* title fight with GSP.
- Very sad for Edson Barboza’s loss. Beating Jamie Varner could have elevated his stature in the lightweight ladder. However, his experience wasn’t just enough to overcome the veteran Jamie Varner. I hope he will learn many things in this loss and bounce back stronger as he’s a very exciting prospect to watch. I was also irked by the fact that Varner wasn’t even warned when he was blatantly grabbing the fence while raining down punches on the grounded Barboza. It wouldn’t have affected the outcome, but it was still a rule that was broken and should have warranted some repercussion.
Now, onto the main card:
Stefan Struve defeats Lavar Johnson – Submission (armbar) 1st Round
- Stefan Struve has some legit submission skills and his length and reach will only enhance that. He was also very confident with his skills for pulling guard and it paid off. Now give him a higher-tiered fighter and see how he hangs with the big boys.
Stipe Miocic defeats Shane del Rosario – TKO (elbows to the ground) 2nd Round
- Stipe Miocic has one of the most vicious ground elbows in the division. Apparently he has some good dribbling skills as well as evidenced by Shane del Rosario’s head bouncing repeatedly off the canvass. He can still improve on his defense but he’s still an interesting young athlete to look out for.
Roy Nelson defeats Dave Herman – TKO (punch) 1st Round
- Roy Nelson’s power right hand was in full effect tonight as Dave Herman didn’t even know where he was after being hit by that haymaker. The Las Vegas crowd seemed to root for him too, getting one of the most cheers of the night (just in: his belly checked on Dave and got some fans). He may not be able to hold UFC gold but he’s good enough to be a top-level gatekeeper. Now, if only he can make it to light-heavyweight…
Cain Velasquez defeats Antonio Silva – TKO (punches) 1st Round
- Arguably the best performance of the night came from one Mexican-American in the name of Cain Velasquez. We knew Antonio Silva was out of his league but the beating he gave Big Foot was as impressive and as dominant a man can ever do to that giant. He absolutely molested Antonio from the ground, busting him open with hard elbows, giving Antonio a dose of the proverbial crimson mask he gave to Fedor a while back. Cain has absolutely epitomized that technique will overcome size and power (well, most of the time). Cain is back and he’s gunning for that title hungry and motivated.
Junior Dos Santos defeats Frank Mir to retain the UFC Heavyweight Championship – TKO (punches) 2nd Round
- Junior dos Santos did what we all think he would do, keep the fight standing and blitz Mir with his punches. To Mir’s defense, he also did what we all think he would do: try to take the fight to the ground, fail and keep eating punches until the referee stopped the fight. While this fight should have generated the most buzz with the title on the line, the fight itself felt flat. It had some moments every time JDS connected and Mir struggled to control his groggy stature but in general, the fight was a bit slow for my liking and both fighters were a bit shy to engage in war. Having said that, JDS was smart enough not to make the same mistake as his mentor Big Nog did: mess with Frank Mir’s ground game. There were times in the fight that Mir fell to his back and would have gladly welcomed Junior jumping to his guard. However, JDS was patient enough to let his opponent stand up and rinse and repeat his success with his boxing.
- On that note, Mir may just have competed at his last title match. He has the tools to submit any heavyweight out there but as we all know, all fights start on the feet. His chin has gone very questionable after his last two fights and he’s not getting any younger either. As for Dos Santos’ future, it’s still premature to say he’s the best heavyweight ever. He’s still young and can still hone his skills (and I still dream of a match where he can be grounded by his opponent). A rematch with Velasquez is not far behind but the Overeem matchup is still the most intriguing of the two. Let’s just hope Overeem can overcome his issues as of the moment. Until then, Junior Dos Santos is still the reigning, adult-punching, baby-kissing heavyweight champion of the world.