By Robert Dean
Cain Velasquez stole the show at UFC 155 after beating Junior Dos Santos to regain the Heavyweight belt at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas.
Velasquez won a unanimous points decision in a fight where he landed an impressive 11 takedowns and 111 significant strikes.
The victory was even sweeter for Velasquez as he gained revenge for a first round, knockout loss to Dos Santos just over a year ago.
The fight started at a frantic pace with Velasquez firing multiple takedown attempts, which Dos Santos was able to stuff.
However this early pressure started to pay dividends by the of the first round as Dos Santos visibly slowed and was caught with a huge overhand right, with 1.23 minutes remaining.
The punch, which Velasquez called the “power special” and had been worked on with his coach, seriously wobbled Dos Santos and forced him to go into survival mode to see out the remainder of the opening round.
Dos Santos never really recovered from that shot and for the next two rounds was dominated by Velasquez’s high paced, grappling style.
He showed great heart to see out the fight and continued to plug away but, in truth, he was never able to launch any of the slick boxing attacks that he has become famous for.
After the fight Velasquez said, “It feels great to win but I know he’s going to come back stronger, so I have to keep getting better. That’s the name of the game, constantly getting better.”
Elsewhere Jim Miller beat Joe Lauzon with a unanimous points decision, to win fight of the night honours, in the co-main event.
Miller gave an impressive, well rounded performance, landing lots of sharp, inside leg kicks and opening up a deep cut on his opponent’s forehead in the first round.
Referee Yves Lavigne called time out towards the end of the round to have the doctor check the severity cut, though he saw no reason to stop the fight.
Lauzon did not quit, however, and was unlucky not to connect on a slick heel hook attempt in the third round.
But, in the end, Miller’s class shone through and he confirmed his position as a top contender in the, talent rich, 155 lbs division.
When asked about the doctor nearly stopping the fight, Miller said, “I was hoping he wouldn’t. When I step in the ring I like the three guys in the there to decide the outcome and no one else.”
The rest of the main card was reserved for the Middleweights with Cypriot, Costa Philippou, defying the odds to end Tim Boetsch’s impressive winning streak.
Philippou, who was a last minute replacement for top prospect Chris Weidman, was able to take advantage of an early hand injury to Boetsch and use his elite boxing skills to earn a third round TKO victory and put himself in the title mix.
Yushin Okami will, also, now be dreaming of another shot at Anderson Silva and the Middleweight belt after defeating Alan Belcher on points.
With both fighters ranked in the top ten this was an all or nothing fight, with Okami now that one step closer and Belcher having to work his way back up the ranks.
The biggest shock of the night came when UFC debutant Derek Brunson beat veteran and fans favourite Chris Leben.
Leben, famous for his brawling style and antics in the Ultimate Fighter house, never really got going and appeared to be suffering from ring rust after an enforced, year long, hiatus due to injury.
Brunson also looked gassed early on but was able to score four telling takedowns to win the very low quality bout.
Unfortunately the British contingent, on the under card, were both unsuccessful fighting away from home.
London Bantamweight, Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett was unlucky to lose a close split decision to fellow contender Eddie Wineland.
Phil De Fries, the Heavyweight from Sunderland, was convincingly knocked out, by Todd Duffee, in the first round.
The performance earned Duffee knockout of the night honours in his first fight back with the promotion since being dropped two years ago.
- Erik Perez beat Byron Bloodworth first round KO/TKO in the Bantamweight division
- Jamie Varner beat Melvin Guillard split decision in the Lightweight division
- Myles Jury beat Michael Johnson unanimous decision in the Lightweight division
- Max Holloway beat Leonard Garcia split decision in the Featherweight division
- John Moraga beat Chris Cariaso third round submission (submission of the night) in the Flyweight division