UFC 146: Junior dos Santos punishes Frank Mir
The UFC 146 Heavyweights promised thunder Saturday night, and delivered. It’s been a long time coming for the UFC to offer a full main card of the big men---till now the talent pool has simply been too shallow. No longer.
Junior dos Santos v. Frank Mir—Heavyweight title fight
Former two-time HW champ Frank Mir came in on as underdog to champion Junior ‘Cigano’ dos Santos on virtually everyone’s docket. While Mir is the most experienced, decorated heavyweight currently fighting, the fight with Cigano was a stylistic nightmare for the Las Vegas native from the day the fight was announced.
Mir proved himself a worthy challenger, and that he can take a punch. He started the fight as many analysts thought, with an immediate takedown attempt. The single leg almost held, but dos Santos wriggled free, and began to implement his near-perfect boxing rooted in technical footwork.
“He hit me hard, I couldn’t get out of the way, ” Mir told Rogan.
That quote told the tale. Dos Santos’s body shots buckled Mir, and his jabs and straights went right down the pipe. It wasn’t that Mir had no game---he landed several lefts and at least a dozen powerful leg kicks. But Mir barely weathered a late fury in round one, and by late round two couldn’t withstand the sheer number of power punches thrown by the Brazilian.
“He can take a punch, man. My hands are sore,” the champ said.
The straight right that was the beginning of Mir’s end was thrown by a dos Santos whose facial expression was that of a man writing a note with a pencil. With an attitude like that, it’s hard to imagine anyone beating dos Santos anytime soon, especially considering his destruction of Cain Velasquez, the consensus #1 challenger who looked stellar again tonight.
Junior remains undefeated in the UFC.
Cain Velasquez v. Antonio Silva
The UFC’s Frankenstein, the lovable Brazilian Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva---who had to cut weight to reach the 265 pound limit--- was awarded the difficult task of fighting former HW champ Cain Velasquez, a man with ridiculous cardio and heart to boot. But speed counts more than size.
A brilliant performance by Velasquez got Silva down early. Silva, a BJJ black belt, couldn’t protect himself from Cains speed of movement in the top game, and soon short elbows opened up a nasty cut between his eyes. Velasquez doesn’t come with a lot of perceivable power compared with most heavyweights, but the sheer volume and result of this fight underscores how dangerous he is. Cigano is the only fighter to beat Velasquez, and may be the only one capable of that feat.
Roy Nelson v. Dave Herman
Dave 'Pee Wee' Herman: tall, ripped, tanned, and good looking. Roy 'Big Country' Nelson: short, rotund, alabaster white and not too good looking. But as with many things in life, it's technique and not looks that count. Nelson timed a perfect overhand right to the Herman’s jawbone, and Pee Wee was out before his ass hit the mat. When asked by Joe Rogan to what he attributes his great timing, Nelson said, “Lots of eating.” Enough said.
Stefan Struve v. Lavar Johnson
With only three weeks since his last fight---a TKO win over Pat 'HD' Barry—the imposing replacement in the injury-riddled UFC 146, Lavar 'Big' Johnson had the unenviable task of fighting the Skyscraper, 6’11” Stefan Struve. Johnson’s tactic was to get inside, clinch, and nullify Struve’s tremendous reach advantage. Struve’s tactic was to get hold of Johnson’s arm, pull guard, and use those long limbs to sink in an arm lock. Struve didn’t bother waiting for the tap and cranked the move, popping the arm. It’s the risk a heavy hitter takes when fighting a good submission artist.
Stipe Miocic v. Shane Del Rosario
Undefeated Shane del Rosiario punished undefeated Stipe Miocic from the first bell with brutal body kicks and world class Muay Thai. Miocic, a golden gloves boxer and former Division I NCAA wrestler, got the fight down once, but let del Rosario up, saying later, “It didn’t feel right”.
The punishment continued into the second round, till Miocic got the fight down, controlled del Rosario on the mat and finished the fight with a long series of short, chopping elbows. Del Rosario suffered his first loss in MMA. This fight for me won 'character of the night' homors.
Click here for all the results
Follow me on Twitter @RenkoStyranka