ANAHEIM-It was one and done for UFC heavyweight champion as Brazil’s Junior Dos Santos violently wrested the UFC heavyweight championship from Cain Velasquez to become the new UFC titleholder on Saturday.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship changed hands abruptly before a nationally televised audience with challenger Dos Santos (14-1) disappointing the mostly pro-Velasquez crowd at the sold out Honda Center with the knockout win. Fox televised the event.
Velasquez (9-1) was making his first heavyweight title defense since beating former champion Brock Lesnar in the same arena a year ago. Injuries forced the Mexican-American mixed martial arts fighter to keep from defending the title.
Dos Santos had knocked out most of his opponents but was unable to stop former challenger Shane Carwin in his last bout. For this fight he expected a knockout.
Velasquez met Dos Santos in the middle of the Octagon and both exchanged punches and kicks with neither causing damage. Then a right hand by Dos Santos seemed to clip Velasquez who retaliated and missed. They circled a bit and both exchanged again with the Brazilian landing an overhand right behind Velasquez’s ear. Down he went. Dos Santos delivered six more blows to the fallen champion forcing referee John McCarthy to stop the fight at 1:04 of round one.
“I have no words to say of what I’m feeling,” said Dos Santos in tears. “Cain Velasquez was my toughest opponent for sure.”
Velasquez said that the punch disable his senses.
“He messed up my equilibrium. He’s got power,” Velasquez said.
Dos Santos admitted being tentative but ready despite injuries.
“I was not 100 percent for this fight so I was scared,” he said.
Lightweight contenders Benson Henderson (15-2) and manic paced Clay Guida (29-9) electrified the crowd with slugging, brutal knees to the head and attempted submissions in a frenetic three round lightweight matchup.
Henderson took charge early with his knees to the head followed by withering punches that stunned Guida but never slowed his attack. Though both tried for submission holds throughout the bout neither could gain the upper hand very long.
After three high fueled rounds Henderson was judged the winner 30-27 twice and 29-28.
“He’s super hard to deal with,” said Henderson. “He has a high energetic pace.”
Guida didn’t contest the scoring.
Henderson will now meet UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar for the title.
“Frankie Edgar, we got a date,” Henderson said.
Louisiana’s Dustin Poirer (11-1) out-smarted North Dakota’s Pablo Garza (12-2) to force a submission at 1:32 of round two with a D’Arce choke in the lightweight bout. “I took my time because he’s a very dangerous and unpredictable fighter,” Poirer said.
Chicago’s Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas (11-2) survived a guillotine choke by Palm Spring’s Cub Swanson (15-5) to win by arm triangle at 2:16 of round two in a featherweight clash. “It was very tight,” said Lamas of the choke by Swanson. “I couldn’t breathe.” Lamas managed to turn things around and forced Swanson to tap out.
Utah’s Damarques Johnson (18-9) left hooked Atlanta’s Clay Harvison (9-5) out of there in 1:34 of round one for a technical knockout win in a welterweight fight. A left hook floored Harvison who paused to raise his hands but the fight wasn’t stopped until Johnson fired another right. “I thought it was over,” Johnson said.
San Francisco’s Darren Uyenoyama (7-3) upset Japan’s legendary Kid Yamamoto (18-5) and probably beat him twice to do it. In the first round it looked like the Japanese fighter tapped out but it was overlooked by the referee. Uyenoyama proceeded to dominate on the ground each and every round despite running into a big left hand in the second round. Two judges scored it 30-27 and one 30-26 for Uyenoyama making his UFC debut. “I never would have imagined myself here 10 years ago,” he said.
Escondido’s Robert Peralta (16-3) won by technical knockout over Virginia’s Mackens Semerzier (8-3) at 1:54 of round three. An accidental collision of heads floored Semerzier and Peralta kept pummeling the fallen fighter until the fight was stopped by referee McCarthy.
Miami’s Alex Caceres (6-4) began with a bang, landing every punch and kick in the MMA fight books against Fresno’s Cole Escobedo(17-9) in a bantamweight fight. Reverse punches, flying kicks and overall quickness proved a big factor in Escobedo’s win by unanimous decision 30-27 on all three cards.
Oregon’s Mike Pierce (13-4) used a stiff jab and overhand rights to control the action against Minnesota’s Paul Bradley (18-4) in a welterweight match to win by split decision after three rounds. One judge scored it 29-28 for Bradley and the other two 30-27, 29-28 for Pierce.
San Antonio’s Aaron Rosa (17-4) used his height and reach to beat Arizona’s Matt Lucas (14-3) by unanimous decision in a light heavyweight bout. After three rounds of punches and plus a point deduction for Lucas for losing his mouth piece twice, all three judges scored it for Sosa 30-28, 30-26 twice.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV