Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to pay-per-view (PPV) last night (Sat., May 26, 2012) with UFC 146: "Dos Santos vs. Mir." It was a historic night, too, as the first all heavyweight main card in the history of the promotion. This event premiered as one of the most stacked cards in company history, but failed drug tests and injuries dealt it serious damage in the past couple months. Regardless of those factors, it turned into a great card and the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, was treated to a wonderful evening of fisticuffs.
In the main event, Frank Mir stepped up to the plate after Overeem was dropped proceeding a failed drug test. At UFC 140, Mir was the first to submit Minotauro Nogueira via a Kimura that snapped Nog's arm. Junior Dos Santos rode an 8-fight win streak into this fight, including a first round KO over top HW Cain Velasquez, but he had to feel vulnerable to Mir's grappling as his only loss was via armbar.
Mir came out agressively with a precitable gameplan looking to bring Cigano to the ground. He pushed him against the fence and struggled handily to force a grappling match. JDS defended able, and, after that, the fight was all his. Dos Santon never looked to be in a bit of trouble throughout the fight and dropped Frank Mir in the 2nd round for the TKO victory.
Following this fight, the most enticing match for Mir is a Strikeforce match against Josh Barnett. this is a perfect fight between limited strikers who excel at catching their opposition in beautiful submissions. For Dos Santos, however, I predict a disappointing match against Cain Valesquez. I'll never try to discredit Cain's accomplishment, but JDS has the skills to make him look foolish in any fight,
Cain Valesquez seriously showed a return to form against Antonio Silva tonight. In the opening minute of the first round, Cain grabbed a slow leg kick for the easy takedown and followed it up with some brutal ground and pound.Cain broke Bigfoots face with a short elbow and blood flowed worse than I've ever seen. Silva showed true heart by scoffing at the idea of a doctor's stoppage, but eventually succombed to a TKO.
Considering the heavy marketing push the UFC backed for Cain as the first Mexican Heavyweight champion in combat sport history, I truly expect to see him in the next title fight. I, for one, will not be surprised if the rematch against JDS ends similarly to the first, however.
Despite the loss, there's no reason to discredit Antonio Silva here. Considering the disparity in competition, I would love to see him matched up against the other giant of the heavyweight division - Stefan Struve. Both fighter's have repeatedly displayed their Brazillian Jiu Jitsu abilities as well as solid skills standing. Chance are Bigfoot uses his size advantage to stifle Struve with top control, but Struve has shown on multiple occasions that he's never one to be counted outl
Roy "Hobo Beard" Nelson confidently made his walk into the Octagon despite being 3-1 in his last four UFC fights. Dave "Pee Wee" Herman, also was feeling the pressure coming off his first UFC loss to Stefan Struve. In the opening seconds, things were looking very good for Dave Herman, as he seemed to be abandon his historically wild style, looking to use his length and size punish Roy Nelson with straight punches. That didn't last long, though. Big Country shortly landed one of his patented overhand rights to drop Pee Wee and score the TKO with obligatory ground and pound. Roy will continue his balancing act between the top and bottom of the mid tier heavyweight after this bout while Herman will be in desperate need of a win in his next match against a lower level fighter.
The second fight of the main card featured two prospective talents of the HW division in Stipe Miocic and Shane Del Rosario. Rosario was heavily lauded as a true talent throughout his run through StikeForce, but it wasn't a fight that would call his success into question, it was a life threatening accident caused by a drunk driver. Over a year later, Joe Silva pitted him against the undefeated Miocic. Both fighters found some success in the first round, but it was Miocic who capitalized in the second with vicious ground and pound that stopped the fight.
The opening bout of the all heavyweight main card was Stefan Struve versus Lavar Johnson. Personally, I thought Johnson would punish Struve inside the short range Skyscraper would need to secure the takedown, but Struve proved me wrong. After eating a big punch and having his back against the fence, Struve pulled guard and made the armbar from bottom look easy.
The focus on the big men on the main card, definitely left room for some exciting action from the smaller guys on the undercard. Jason Miller disappointed once again in his decision loss to CB Dolloway. As mentioned repeatedly by Joe Rogan throughout the fight, Miller seemed to be battling a knee injury that impeded his ability to defend CB's oppressive top control as he lost the fight. That wouldn't be Miller's biggest issue of the night however, as he was released from the UFC due to some crazy shit backstage.
After four consecutive losses Dan Hardy saved his job in exciting fashion with a 1st round KO over Duane Ludwig in the opening bout of the FX portion of the card. Hardy has been looking at rough times since his decision loss to dominant champion GSP and many were calling for him to be cut from the organization after he gave up a last second submission to UFC mainstay Chris Lytle. Hardy wouldn't be dissuaded however, and hunted for the finish from the opening bell as he threw his lead left hook repeatedly until it finally landed with emphasis.
In spite of a very impressive and punishing first round, Diego Brandao lost the decision to Darren Elkins after the TUF vet gassed following the first 5 minutes. In the wake of one of the most amazing KO's in UFC history, Edson Barbosa was heavily favored against WEC fallout and short notice replacement Jaime Varner. That didn't matter to Varner, though, who systematically ran through the flashy striker en route to a TKO victory. Paul Sass put a stop to Jacob Volkmann's political post-fight ramblings witha first round triangle choke. Glover Texeira embarassed Kyle Kinsbury with an arm triangle in the first round of their fight. As one of the lowest falling former champions in Zuffa history, Mike Brown needed a win tonight in the opening bout of the night. He secured that win with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Pineda.