The cherry on this talent rich card: A Heavy weight title event between the reigning, defending champion Junior Dos Santos and the challenger, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion (The man Junior Dos Santos took the belt from) Cain Velasquez.
Read more for a summary of the preliminary and main card fights held on Saturday 29th December at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
With Michael Johnson being 4-0 after a devastating win against Danny Castillo in his last outing this promised to be a short-lived affair.
Unfortunately Myles Jury had other ideas capitalizing on his size and superior grappling to continuously take Johnson down stuffing him with solid Ground’nPound. In the second Jury caught Johnson with a solid head kick with more of the same ground work happening again and again.
Verdict: With almost 10 minutes of top position and close to 50 strikes landed Miles Jury by unanimous decision
After a cancelled face off between the Former WEC champion Jamie Varner and the 66 fight veteran Melvin Guillard on the TUF 16 Finale Card 2 weeks earlier – Jamie Varner Pulls out of TUF16 Final – words had been spoken and sparks were ready to fly
What a crazy fight! Guillard started the round strong throwing solid outside leg kicks but struggled to loosen and couldn’t quite find his range and timing. Varner kept his a cool and found his range with some slick combinations to finish off the round. The second round saw more of the same on point striking and takedowns from Varner, although Guillard started loosening up finding his mark with jab and uppercut and landing a beautiful head kick. The third saw more takedowns from Varner with an attempted Peruvian necktie which Guillard managed to switch. Classy performance by both fighters
Verdict: Varner by split decision
The bantam weight division always promises high energy, explosive fights and this one delivered. After a flurry of exchanges, the fight went to the clinch with both fighters looking to assert their dominance with grappling and knees to the body. Perez won this one dropping Bloodworth with a nasty knee to the body followed by a vicious and never-ending barrage of strikes and elbows forcing refs stoppage
Verdict: Erik Perez TKO 3:50 Round 1
With 2 of the most explosive knockout fighters in the Bantamweight division this promised to be a barn burner and once again they delivered
3 rounds of superb toe-2-toe striking. Pickett drove forward continuously despite getting caught by an uppercut early in first round. Raining a barrage of vicious leg kicks and using great head movement Pickett kept on trying to get in close however Winelands’ slick on-the-mark striking was too good for Pickett who just could find his target.
Verdict: Eddie Wineland by Unanimous decision
Welcome back Chris Leben, welcome to the Octagon Derek Brunson :0)
Although this fight started off well with Brunson using a strong jab to keep Lebens’ dangerous left at bay and power takedowns with strong posture and ground control – the highlight was a big elbow thrown to Lebens forehead from guard – to dominate the first. From there unfortunately things fell a bit flat as Brunson gassed early in the second. Leben as always showed tremendous heart and an incredible chin taking a number of solid knocks along the way. Highlight of the fight Brunsons’ reaction to winning and Lebens reaction to Brunsons’ reaction – Classic!
Verdict: Derek Brunson by Unanimous decision
A grudge match 6 years in the making (Okami won their last meeting by decision) and both power strikers with a strong ground game this promised to be a high-octane battle.
Unfortunately over 15 minutes Belcher couldn’t find his range or groove and Okami once again used a jab, straight combination to set up takedowns from where he dominated Belcher with superior grappling and Groun’nPound.
Verdict: Yushin Okami by Unanimous decision
With both of these Middleweight fighters vying for a crack at the title and both with heavy hands and knockout power, great things were expected from this match up and they did not disappoint. Boetch started off strong with a head kick and takedown, Philippou making his mark with good combinations. Boetch finished the first round strong with a front kick to the face which dropped Philippou.
Unfortunately from there it was all downhill for Boetch, coming out in the second round with an injury (suspect broken right hand) followed by an accidental poke in the eye and an accidental headbutt which cut Boetchs’ forehead. Philippou easily stuffed Boetches takedown attempts and then punished him on the ground with vicious Ground’nPound leading to a refs stoppage in the 3rd round
Verdict: Costa Philipou 2:35 Round 3 TKO
Wow, what a battle between 2 warriors. 15 minutes of toe-2-toe action. From the starting bell, Miller barraged Lauzon with strikes, elbows, knees to the body and head, opening a long gash above Lauzons’ right eye and yet Lauzon kept on coming – strikes knees, ankle locks, knee locks, darce chokes and with seconds to spare an ‘I dont know what its called’ choke – unfortunately too little too late. Fantastic fight by both, great heart by Joe Lauzon
Verdict: Jim Miller by Unanimous decision
Holy kookamoor! When 2 champion heavyweights collide you know there are going to be fireworks! Cain Velasquez brough his ‘A’ game to this fight dominating from early in the first round when he floored Junior Dos Santos with a big right. From there it was all Velasquez – 5 rounds of relentless striking, clinching, dirty boxing and Ground’nPounding, out working and out striking the champion to a unanimous victory.
An honour and pleasure to watch 2 great champions in action
Verdict: Cain Velasquez by Unanimous Decision
A great night of fights with all fighters showing a range of slick martial arts skill, heart and true respect for one another
Fight of the night: A tough one with Guillard vs Varner, Miller vs Joe Lauzon and Dos Santos vs Velaasquez all getting me out of my seat. All worthy contenders for this recognition but for overall guts and glory my vote goes to Miller vs Lauzon
Finish of the night – This had to be Perez vs Bloodworth!
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