With all of the injuries, contract disputes, and quite frankly, bad luck, in which has plagued the Heavyweight division over the past several years, the Heavyweight title has rarely been defended. Months ago, however, the UFC decided on an all-heavyweight main card for UFC 146, in order to keep the division on a similar schedule, I would say despite the hoops that had to be jumped through, they put on one of the best cards of the year thus far.
Junior Dos Santos, the seemingly unstoppable UFC Heavyweight Champion, was slated to face former DREAM, and Strikeforce Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. However in the months prior to the much anticipated throwdown, Overeem tested off the charts with an elevated T/E ratio (indications of elevated and artificial testosterone levels, and had to be replaced. Entering the fray was former champion Frank Mir, coming off of a victory over Antonio Nogueira, as well as three consecutive wins.
The general consensus was that Mir would need to take the fight to the ground to stand a chance, and he made the effort directly following the opening bell. While it was a valiant effort, it ultimately failed, and after, was all JDS. The hand and foot speed of the champion is beyond anyone else’s at the Heavyweight level, and it showed, as he completely outclassed Mir (who is no slouch on his feet). Jabs, combinations, and his powerful straights knocked Mir around for the two following rounds, until ultimately referee Herb Dean stopped the fight, declaring Junior Dos Santos the winner by TKO.
With Frank Mir just defeated, Brock Lesnar retired, and Alistair Overeem suspended, who will be the next challenger? That question was pretty quickly answered, as former champion Cain Velasquez made a bloody mess of Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. Velasquez landed an early takedown and immediately split Bigfoot open. When I say there was a lot of blood, I am unable to describe the amount on Silva’s face. After being checked out by the ringside doctor, Silva was finished shortly thereafter, as the referee mercifully stopped the fight. It was announced after UFC 146 that Cain Velasquez would receive a rematch with Junior Dos Santos later this year.
Also impressive on the UFC 146 main card, TUF Season 10 winner Roy Nelson knocked out Dave Herman in less than 30 seconds, Stipe Miocic remained undefeated with a TKO win over Shane Del Rosario, and 24 year old, near 7-foot tall Stefan Struve picked up his third straight win against LaVar Johnson.
The preliminary card was also full of important fights, particularly in the cases of Dan Hardy (facing Duane Ludwig) and Jason “Mayhem” Miller (taking on CB Dolloway). Both were facing being cut by the UFC, and Dan Hardy was able to deliver, knocking out Duane Ludwig in the first round, effectively holding on to his UFC job.
The same can’t be said for Jason Miller however, who came out strong in the opening minutes of round one, but was held down for the remainder of the fight by CB Dolloway’s wrestling ability. Mayhem Miller was released by the UFC after UFC 146. Ariel Helwani reported that a backstage incident may have contributed to the matter.
THE VIRTUOUS ONE’S VIEWPOINTS
The all-heavyweight format was a success. It has been so difficult for the UFC to keep the Heavyweight title defended on a regular basis, and the idea of putting 10 heavyweights on the same card, means that five of those winners (plus the winner of Werdum/Russow at 147), will all be on somewhat of a similar schedule. Struve, Miocic, and Nelson are all on winning streaks now, and I could see Nelson or Struve facing Miocic by the end of Summer.
Junior Dos Santos looked absolutely untouchable Saturday night. His boxing is beyond so many UFC heavyweights, it has to be seen to be believed. JDS made Frank Mir, a future UFC Hall of Famer, look like an absolute goof. This situation was akin to the Barnett-Cormier fight, where the loser didn’t perform badly, but the winner looked so impressive, so unstoppable.
JDS will now have a re-match with Cain Velasquez, which given the state of the Heavyweight division, is the right choice. All I can say about Cain’s victory Saturday is……gross. That fight was gross. Sick. Disgusting. So much blood, leaking out of Antonio Silva’s head, is an image I will never have leave my memory. Furthermore, Silva, WHY DO YOU THROW A KICK AT A TOP LEVEL WRESTLER? You’re smarter than that, and you did a cool strut to the ring.
The aforementioned heavyweights that won, all looked impressive. Stefan Struve has a particularly bright future ahead of him, being only 24 years old, in a division dominated by fighters ranging from about 27-33 years old.
Roy Nelson’s knockout was perfect, and that’s about all you’ll see me say positively about him. His idea that “bigger, stronger, faster”, when he’s already terribly out of shape, quite frankly, is irresponsible. His rambling after his victory, saying that nobody would fight him was completely untrue, and I lost a great deal of respect for him after he claimed he would drop to 205 pounds if 100,000 fans “liked” his facebook page, and outright lied about it as a means of self-promotion.
Mayhem Miller appears to be done with the UFC after being defeated by CB “Lay and Pray” Dolloway. This wasn’t a good stylistic matchup for Miller, and I would imagine he’d be welcomed in Bellator. If you remember, this is the same guy that Nick Diaz ducked for nearly a year, as Strikeforce couldn’t get Diaz to take a fight with him. I’m willing to bet that isn’t the case now.
Jamie Varner also picked up a huge TKO victory Saturday over previously undefeated Edson Barboza. Only nine months ago, Varner contemplated retirement, as he had a major rough patch. It’s good to see a guy like Varner make a comeback, and is only 27 years old, so has plenty of time to improve.
If you didn’t hear, Brock Lesnar was in attendance Saturday night, which fueled rumors throughout the MMA and pro wrestling world. Dana White has made no secret he would welcome back Brock Lesnar, who still has one fight remaining on his UFC contract. While I won’t speculate on the amount of dates remaining on his WWE contract, I would imagine his unique deal would permit taking a fight in the UFC as long as it didn’t interfere with the WWE’s plans. A situation like that would only help WWE, UFC and Brock Lesnar. Say what you want about Lesnar, but he draws money, and anyone who says they aren’t interested in seeing him fight anymore, are flat out lying.
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