Dos Santos stops Mir, keeps UFC heavyweight titleBy Greg Beacham
LAS VEGAS – Brazilian Junior Dos Santos flattened Frank Mir with a huge right hand and finished him on the ground at 3:04 of the second round Saturday night, emphatically defending his heavyweight title at UFC 146 on Saturday night.
Dos Santos (15-1) picked apart the two-time ex-champion with superior boxing throughout the fight, finishing Mir with one last blow to the head.
Dos Santos then wrapped himself in the Brazilian flag while celebrating his first title defense since taking the belt from Cain Velasquez last fall.
“I’m feeling awesome!” he said to the crowd. “It’s not bad for a nice guy, huh? … Frank Mir is a really good fighter, too. I came here to defend my belt, and I did it.”
Velasquez stopped Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva late in the first round at the MGM Grand Garden.
Roy Nelson, Stipe Miocic and Stefan Struve also won on a card topped with five heavyweight fights, a first in UFC history.
Dos Santos never faced trouble in the fight’s eight minutes after easily avoiding an opening-minute takedown attempt by Mir, who hoped his superior jiu-jitsu skills would allow him to avoid Dos Santos’ unparalleled striking ability.
Mir, who turned 33 on Thursday, has the most heavyweight victories in UFC history, but he couldn’t match Dos Santos’ skills.
“He’s a champ,” Mir said. “He’s fast. I couldn’t get out of the way. He hit me hard. There were just too many of them, and they were hard shots. I couldn’t do anything about it.”
Dos Santos downplayed the revenge element of beating Mir, who broke the arm of Dos Santos’ mentor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, in a fight last December.
Mir (16-6) had won three straight fights since losing a title shot to Shane Carwin in March 2010, but couldn’t reclaim the belt he held in 2004 before getting into a serious motorcycle accident and again in early 2009 before losing to Brock Lesnar.
Velasquez (10-1) finished Silva at 3:36 of the first round, but only after pulverizing the 6-foot-4 Brazilian with a relentless series of blows after an early takedown. Silva (16-4) was cut on his face early in the beating, sending streams of blood down his face and onto the canvas, eventually coating both fighters’ torsos.
“I knew he was going to be a tough guy to finish, and he posed certain threats,” Velasquez said. “But I’m happy I was able to go in there and perform.”
Nelson stopped Dave Herman with an overhand right just 51 seconds into the first round, and Miocic remained unbeaten with a second-round stoppage of fellow heralded prospect Shane Del Rosario. Struve, a 6-foot-11 Dutch heavyweight, stopped Lavar Johnson in the first fight.
Early on the UFC 146 card, veteran lightweight Jamie Varner upset previously unbeaten Edson Barboza, stopping the touted Brazilian prospect with a long series of blows to the head.
Varner, the former WEC lightweight champion who was released from that promotion after an 0-3-1 skid, made the most of his chance to be an injury replacement for Evan Dunham in his first UFC fight since March 2007.