Frank Mir lasted a little longer than most of Junior dos Santos’ opponents have, reaching the second round Saturday night at UFC 146 at the MGM Grand.
But then the UFC champ defeated the Las Vegan like he has so many others, flooring him with his big right hand before finishing him off at 3:04 mark with one last hammer fist while on the ground—putting an exclamation point on the UFC’s first-ever all-heavyweight pay-per-view card.
“I’m feeling awesome!” Dos Santos (15-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) shouted to the pro-Brazilian crowd, which included 9-year-old Breno Luis Ferreira de Carvalho — a training buddy of Dos Santos back in their home of Salvador, Brazil, who the UFC flew in for the fight.
“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.”
Indeed the burly Brazilian nearly flattened the former two-time champ in the first round, as his fast hands and superior boxing left Mir (16-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) in a dazed state. He told his corner he thought he was inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center instead of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“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.”
Few fighters have. But co-main eventer, Cain Velasquez, who Dos Santos defeated for the title last fall, wants another opportunity.
Velasquez pulverized Antonio Bigfoot Silva on Saturday, creating one of the more colorful blood baths the UFC has seen in taking out the 6-foot-4 Brazilian at 3:36 of the first round.
“The whole reason I got into this sport was to be the champ,” Velasquez said. “I just don’t feel right, right now, without having that.”
UFC president Dana White hinted that Velasquez should get the next shot.
“I think it’s a good idea,” White said, at the post fight press conference. “I like it.”
So too does Dos Santos, who promised he isn’t relinquishing the belt anytime soon.
“That’s why I’m working so hard on my career,” Dos Santos said. “I’m taking everything very serious. I’m very positive and very confident. I’m here to stay.”
Also on the main card Las Vegan Roy Nelson needed just 51 seconds to stop Dave Herman. Stefan Struve choked out Lavar Johnson in the first round, while Stipe Miocic stayed unbeaten by winning an entertaining bout against UFC newcomer Shane Del Rosario.
“My plan was to wrestle, (but) my coaches had a different game plan, which was, `Hit him in the face,’” said Nelson, who had lost three of his previous four fights. “Guess it worked. Clearly my hands have dynamite in them, or small rocks or whatever.”
Octagon girl arrested
According to records with the Clark County inmate database, Octagon girl Arianny Celeste, whose real name is Arianny Lopez, was arrested early Saturday morning on a charge of domestic violence.
Celeste, who was held on $3,000 bail, missed the majority of the UFC 146 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but was met with a resounding cheer monitors panned in her direction right before Nelsons’ victory.
White released a statement showing support for Celeste, who started with the UFC in 2006 and graced the November 2010 cover of Playboy.
“Arianny is our baby,” he said. “She has been with us for over five years. She is a good girl and an amazing ambassador for the UFC. I don’t know all the details of what happened but we have her back and support her 100 percent.”