By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC 155: DOS SANTOS VS. VELASQUEZ II
DECEMBER 29, 2012
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
=====Facebook Prelims Quick Results=====
--John Moraga def. Chris Cariaso via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:11 of the third round
--Max Holloway def. Leonard Garcia via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
--Todd Duffee def. Phil De Fries via TKO at 2:04 of the first round
=====FX Preliminary Card=====
The welcome sounds of Jon Anik welcome in the FX audience to the two-hour preliminary card broadcast, running down the fights that are scheduled for the FX portion of the card. Bringing in Joe Rogan, they hype up the Heavyweight Title rematch tonight between JDS and Cain Velasquez. After the brief intro, it's on to tonight's fights!
FIGHT ONE: MICHAEL JOHNSON VS. MYLES JURY (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Johnson took the center as Jury circled. Jury threw a leg kick and got hit by a counter. Johnson threw a couple more punches. Jury caught a kick but missed the follow up punch. Johnson threw a few more hard leg kicks. Jury went high with a kick. The action got a bit tentative with both fighters feeling out the range. Jury faked a strike and scored a nice takedown into half guard. Jury got out to mount, but Johnson escaped nicely. Jury scrambled and landed a couple of strikes in half guard. Jury passed again and landed some big shots. Johnson just covered up as Jury unleashed a flurry of punches and elbows. Johnson got back to half guard, but Jury looked to pass to side control. Jury landed some nice ground and pound. Jury looked to attack for a kimura as JOhnson left his arm out. Johnson defended, but Jury used it to pass to side control. He landed a knee to the body and a few punches. Jury then passed to mount. He landed a few big strikes and took Johnson's back. He went for a choke but the clock ran out on the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Jury. Johnson just didn't have any offense after the first minute. Jury looked very good on the ground, and Johnson couldn't do much of anything from his back. Very surprising start.
ROUND TWO: Johnson took the center again to begin the round. He's got a big hole to come back from after that first round. Johnson landed a left. Johnson landed another hard left after avoiding a strike from Jury. Jury went high with a head kick that was partially blocked. Johnson was wary as he tried to engage. Jury landed a leg kick and backed away from the counter. Jury scored another trip takedown into the guard. Johnson tried to hold his guard tight. He tried to grab wrist control, but got hit with an elbow from Jury. Jury landed a couple more elbows. He postured up and kept the pressure on Johnson. Jury stood and landed a couple more elbows to drop in. Johnson did a much better job defending in the guard, but Jury continued staying busy to avoid a standup. Jury rode out the round on top.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Jury. He's completely surprised Johnson in this fight, and he is controlling the ground aspect of the fight. Johnson needs to be in desperation mode in the final frame.
ROUND THREE: Johnson landed an early left. He swung wild again and had to shake off a takedown attempt. Jury ate a shot and grabbed a clinch. He scored a nice trip on the cage. He passed to half guard and continued looking to advance. He almost snuck out, then stood and landed some elbows. Johnson rolled and Jury landed a bunch of strikes. Jury continued to control him, then almost trapped his arm. Jury landed another nice series of strikes on the ground. Jury continued to control from top position, and stayed active with punches and elbows. Johnson tried to get out, but Jury was relentless with his passing. Jury tried to step over to mount. Johnson got to a knee and tried for a guillotine at the very end of the round. Big, big win for Myles Jury.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Jury. Dominant, but not nearly as much offense as he had in the first round. Still, very big performance from Myles Jury here. Impressive.
WINNER: Jury via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Not the most thrilling fight start to finish, but that was very impressive work from Jury from start to finish. He knew he had the advantage on the ground, and Johnson never got comfortable on the feet during the fight.
FIGHT TWO: MELVIN GUILLARD VS. JAMIE VARNER (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Both fighters circled early, and Guillard landed a leg kick to start things off. Guillard threw a left, then another leg kick, and stayed fairly patient on the outside. Varner got in a kick of his own. They traded strikes as Varner engaged. Varner landed an inside leg kick, but both fighters continued to stay tentative early. Guillard threw a leg kick. Varner tried to close the distance and landed a big right. Guillard circled out and reset. Varner went high with a kick but it was blocked. Guillard rushed in but didn't land anything. Guillard landed a leg kick. Guillard landed the kick again, but Varner countered with a left. Guillard landed a body kick, then another leg kick as Varner tried to walk him down. Varner missed a right as Guillard side-stepped it. Guillard landed another leg kick. Varner landed a short combo as Guillard stepped in. Varner kept Guillard's back to the cage. Varner shot in, but Guillard held it off. Varner walked him back again. He ate another leg kick. Varner landed a nice strike. He got in another combination. He hurt Guillard with a shot but Guillard popped back up. Varner tripped Guillard up and went for a late choke. A few more seconds and he'd have had it. Great final minute from Varner.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Varner. Guillard's leg kicks were the most significant offense through four minutes, but Varner stole it back with a very strong final minute.
ROUND TWO: Varner landed a right early in an exchange. Guillard landed a leg kick again. Varner pressed him back to the cage and scored a takedown. Guillard tried to get up, but Varner stayed on him. He tried to take Guillard's back, but Guillard threw him over his shoulder. Guillard landed a knee as Varner got back up. Varner landed a right. Guillard went back to the leg kick. He landed a hard head kick, but Varner continued walking in on him. Guillard landed a jab. Varner landed a left. Varner landed a nice combination on the cage. Guillard connected. They traded big shots. Varner ducked under a punch and scored another takedown. Varner tried to drag him back to get mount. Guillard tried to climb up. Varner landed a few strikes as Guillard got to his feet. Guillard landed a hook. He landed a kick to the body. Varner landed a huge right hand to the jaw, but Guillard took it. Guillard landed a kick to the body but took one to the groin simultaneously. Very accidental, but Guillard was hurting. They restarted with 30 seconds left. Varner scored with a couple of punches. Guillard landed a knee to the body. Varner continued stalking and landed a strike as Guillard launched a knee at the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Varner. More offense overall plus a couple of takedowns. Guillard landed some nice strikes, including that head kick, but Varner walked through it.
ROUND THREE: Guillard threw a jumping kick and came out wild early. Varner shot in for a single but it got stuffed. Guillard landed a kick. Varner landed a left. He landed a couple more strikes and scored another takedown. He tried to look for a guillotine, then opened up with a few strikes on the cage. He looked for the choke again. He tried for the Peruvian necktie, but Guillard slipped out and got on top. Varner's shin was bleeding from one of the kicks in the fight. Varner got his back to the cage and stood up. He ate a knee, but landed a right on the break. Varner shot in again and scored another takedown, dragging Guillard down. Varner postured up for a couple of strikes. Guillard gave up his back, but got to his feet. Varner ducked under a strike and scored a third takedown. Guillard closed his guard. Varner stayed busy in the guard. Guillard went for an armbar. Varner tried to take his back but Guillard reversed it. After another scramble, Varner hit a switch and wound up back on top. Guillard kicked Varner off and got to his feet. Guillard landed a hard knee. Varner got Guillard turned around on his back, and then dropped him on his head by sitting down. The fight ended right after.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Varner. Three takedowns and the better of the ground exchanges gave him the round and should give him the fight.
WINNER: Varner via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**+) Entertaining fight for the most part. Really smart performance from Varner throughout, and he picks up a nice win. However, whichever judge scored that fight 30-27 for Melvin Guillard needs to be fired. If that's not a mistake, it was one of the single worst scorecards handed in this year.
FIGHT THREE: ERIK PEREZ VS. BYRON BLOODWORTH (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Bloodworth landed an early strike, but got hit by a couple from Perez. Perez landed a few more. Bloodworth initiated a clinch, but Perez pressed him to the cage. They traded knees in the clinch. Perez landed a nice elbow, but Bloodworth turned him around with the opening. Perez turned him right back around on the cage and landed some hard body shots. He continued throwing hard punches to the body. He tossed in some knees as well. Perez dropped Bloodworth with a knee to the body and landed some strikes as he dropped into his guard. He postured up and landed a few strikes. Perez stayed busy in the guard. He landed some elbows from the top. He continued to work from the top. The damage continued as Perez stayed relentless from the top. He battered and bruised Bloodworth, who finally curled up, bringing about the stoppage. Another impressive fight from Perez.
WINNER: Perez via TKO at 3:50 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) That was an excellent performance from Perez. He was very active in the clinch, and got Bloodworth to the ground with a huge knee to the body. His instincts on the ground were great as well, and he delivered a great finish with his ground and pound.
FIGHT FOUR: BRAD PICKETT VS. EDDIE WINELAND (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Wineland ran out to the center. Pickett landed a leg kick to kick things off. Pickett missed a couple of early strike attempts as Wineland stayed out of the way. Pickett landed a hard right, but Wineland landed a couple of nice counters. Pickett landed a nice body shot after eating a right. Pickett landed a left again. Pickett got in with a right again. Pickett landed a leg kick. Pickett landed a nice short left. He landed another big strike, but then Wineland staggered him with a right. He landed another and Pickett was on wobbly legs. Pickett recovered, though, and continued pressing in. Wineland landed a few counters. Pickett landed a hard right to the body, but got tagged again. Wineland is very effective with his strikes here. Pickett shot in, but Wineland nicely held it off. Pickett landed a left. Pickett landed a body shot, but had a big right blocked as Wineland circled away. They traded a few more big strikes. Pickett landed another nice shot to the body. Wineland landed a hard right. Pickett continued moving in. He ate a right and Wineland landed one back before the end of the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Wineland. The power difference is the story right now. Wineland's gotten hit by a few big strikes, but he's staggered Pickett when he's landed his. Pickett has to find a way to change that momentum in this one.
ROUND TWO: Wineland landed an early right. He continued being more effective early. Pickett landed a nice over hand left. Wineland landed a nice right, Pickett countered well. Wineland looked a lot more comfortable in the cage. Wineland landed a left. Pickett landed a leg kick. He got in another and blocked a punch from Wineland. Pickett landed a body punch. They each barely missed a big strike. Pickett continued having difficulty getting in the range of Wineland. Wineland landed a nice jab. They each landed a nice strike in the center. Pickett landed another leg kick. Wineland connected on a punch to the body. Pickett landed a left. Wineland got in a good right. Wineland continued to get out of Pickett's way. The crowd got a little restless as the action slowed a bit. Pickett landed a nice left hook. He again landed a left. That opened a cut over Wineland's eye. Pickett landed a nice right, then another before eating a counter at the end of the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Pickett. Very close round, but I'm giving the Brit a slight edge for pressing the action, and connecting strong in the final half of the round. Wineland didn't do as much offensively that round.
ROUND THREE: Pickett landed a few strikes early. Pickett got in a knee as he got in close. He ducked under a left from Wineland. Pickett connected on a couple, but Wineland came right back with a few punches. Pickett landed a left. He got in a leg kick. Pickett with another jab. Pickett landed a hard right to the jaw, but it didn't faze Wineland. Pickett landed a hard leg kick. Pickett continued moving forward and landing strikes. Wineland landed a few jabs. Pickett landed another big strike. Wineland landed a nice right and popped back. They traded strikes. Pickett landed a kick and Wineland landed a right. Pickett landed a few strikes as he continued moving forward. He landed a hard body punch. Pickett landed a left. Wineland landed a right. Pickett kept the pressure on with another few strikes. Pickett landed a couple more strikes. Wineland was landing short strikes in counter, but Pickett continued pressing in. Pickett kept the pressure on but missed a big right at the end.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Pickett. Another close round. Wineland was scoring with short counter-strikes, but Pickett was pressing throughout, and landed the bigger power strikes in that round. It's going to be close, really could go either way here honestly.
WINNER: Wineland via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Not quite the non-stop excitement fans were hoping for from that one, but a solid fight nonetheless. Wineland had a very effective performance, but the second and third rounds were very close and he could have given them a way by being a bit too passive in his counter-striking gameplan.
-Anik and Rogan welcome in the pay-per-view audience, running down what's still to come tonight. Then it's on to the first fight on pay-per-view, with Chris Leben's return after 14 months out of the cage.
FIGHT FIVE: CHRIS LEBEN VS. DEREK BRUNSON (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Leben took the center, and Brunson threw an early kick to the body. Leben caught a kick. He looked to trip Brunson up, but Brunson instead grabbed a body lock and took him down. Leben tried to work from his back, but Brunson avoided the submission attempt. Leben landed a strike from his back. Brunson got out of a triangle attempt and got back on top in half guard. Leben got him back to guard well. Brunson landed a couple of elbows from the top. Brunson landed a nice elbow again. Leben shot up for a triangle again and Brunson backed off, but he came right back as Leben tried to get up. Brunson went for an arm triangle, but Leben got out. Brunson got to mount briefly, but Leben got back to half guard before eating a big elbow. Brunson continued working from the top patiently, but Leben again escaped to full guard. Brunson landed a few strikes from the top. Leben got his back to the cage. Brunson tried to set up a choke on the cage but let it go. Brunson landed a hard strike as Leben got to his feet. Leben got in a nice knee to separate before the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Brunson. Leben defended well, and tried to attack from his back throughout as well, but Brunson held positional control and was efficient enough with his ground attack to take the round.
ROUND TWO: Leben caught a kick and threw an early punch. Brunson landed a leg kick. Leben tried to walk him down. Brunson shot in and Leben stuffed the takedown.Brunson landed a knee to the body. Brunson tried to power Leben down, but Leben got loose. Leben landed a hard left and Brunson looked tired. He dropped down, shot in, and drove Leben down. Leben landed some strikes from the bottom. He shot his legs up and continued throwing punches from his back. He landed some elbows to the back and worked to his feet. He broke Brunson away. Brunson landed a strike, but Leben came forward. Leben landed a really nice uppercut. Brunson landed a couple of nice strikes, but Leben continued moving in. He shrugged off a takedown attempt. He landed a leg kick. He continued throwing kicks and stalking. Brunson landed a nice two punch combo. The Vegas crowd chanted for Leben. He landed a left. Brunson grabbed another clinch. Both looked exhausted with a minute left in the round. Leben landed a right. Leben landed a left. Leben landed a leg kick. Brunson shot in again but Leben stopped it on the cage. Leben landed a knee to the body. Brunson landed a strike. Leben missed a winged left as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Leben. He landed more strikes, landed more on the ground when taken down, and might be able to mount a comeback with Brunson as exhausted as he is.
ROUND THREE: Leben pressed in early and Brunson tried to hold him off with jabs and leg kicks. Brunson landed a left. He shot in, but Leben held it off and landed a short elbow. He rushed back to put Brunson's cage on the back. Brunson shot in again, ate a knee, but scored a takedown again. Leben got to full guard and landed strikes from the back. Leben tried to get his back to the cage. He got to his feet and Brunson landed a knee to the body as Leben stood. Leben missed a couple of strikes. Both were slowed way down. Leben missed a power strike. Brunson landed a couple of nice left hand strikes. Leben landed a couple of leg kicks. He landed a left, but Brunson continued circling out. Brunson looked to the clock with two minutes left. Leben landed a couple of leg kicks. Brunson landed a few strikes as Leben came in. Leben landed a hard leg kick. The crowd started to boo the fight. Leben landed a left and Brunson circled. Leben landed a left. Brunson shot in and scored another takedown. Leben tried to attack from the back. He kicked Brunson off him with very little time left. He tried to rush in with strikes. He landed a couple late, but the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Brunson. I guess. Bad round between two very tired fighters. Leben just didn't do enough to counter the takedowns in that round, not to mention the strikes Brunson did land in the round.
WINNER: Brunson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*) Bad fight. Brunson took the fight on a week's notice, so his cardio was nowhere near what it would have been with a full camp, and that led to one of the slowest fights in quite some time. Leben's year out of action didn't help him, and short notice didn't help Brunson.
FIGHT SIX: YUSHIN OKAMI VS. ALAN BELCHER (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Belcher took the center, and the two middleweights circled around each other. Belcher landed a leg kick. He got in one high, but it was partially blocked. Okami landed a strike. Belcher avoided a rush from Okami. Belcher missed a left hook as Okami engaged. Okami pushed Belcher over as he threw a high kick, then rushed in with a clinch. Okami landed a good knee to the body, but Belcher defended well in the clinch. Okami went for a trip, but Belcher held it off. He went for a guillotine, but lost it as Okami got on top. Okami tried to pass, and got to half guard. He passed to side control. He landed a knee to the body and continued smothering Belcher. Belcher rolled to grab a leg. He got to a sprawl and a knee. Okami tried to take his back, and ended the round in that attempt.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Okami. Belcher made a mistake with that guillotine attempt, and it cost him the round, but he's far from out of this fight at the moment.
ROUND TWO: Belcher pawed in with a couple of strikes, but it was Okami who quickly closed the distance and clinched. Okami had a body lock and went for a takedown, but Belcher wound up on top. Belcher again grabbed a guillotine and dropped to guard, but he lost it and Okami wound up on top. Okami worked from half guard. Belcher tried to get out from the bottom, but Okami was stifling. Okami passed to side control. Then they were stood up. Bad stand up, but gives Belcher a chance to come back here. Belcher rocked Okami with a right. He tried to follow up with a kick. Okami recovered and ate a right as he closed the distance. Okami clinched again and pressed Belcher's back to the cage. Okami dragged Belcher to the ground again and into half guard. They were stood up again after a stalemate in half guard. Belcher landed a couple strikes and ate a kick from Okami. Belcher's got a lot of work to do in the third.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Okami. Belcher gave the round to Okami again with an ill-advised guillotine. He rocked him with a right midway through, and he'll need a finish in the third or he's losing this fight.
ROUND THREE: Okami immediately tried to clinch but Belcher backed him off. Belcher then dropped Okami with a right, but Okami popped up. Belcher landed a couple more rights. Belcher dropped his hands. Okami rushed in and clinched again. Belcher wound up on top as Okami tried to trip him and Belcher wound up in mount. Okami gave up his back and Belcher got a hook in. Okami held wrist control and got to his feet. Belcher again grabbed for a standing guillotine as Okami got turned around. Belcher again went for the guillotine and Okami wound up on top. Okami moved to the mount. Belcher tried to explode from the bottom but Okami stayed on him. Okami didn't do much in the mount, but he held positional control. He postured up and started throwing punches. Belcher gave up his back and Okami got his hooks in. He landed some strikes, and Belcher landed a vicious elbow from his back, but Okami held position to the end of the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Okami. Belcher again gave the round away with a guillotine attempt. He rocked Okami early, he had mount in the round, and he still lost the frame. Just not a smart fight at all from Belcher, and Okami's strength was the key tonight.
WINNER: Okami via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*+) Frustrating fight to watch. Okami wasn't doing a ton once on the ground, but he did pass and keep smothering control throughout much of it. But Belcher was having some success on the feet, and even had positional control himself a few times. Unfortunately, he gave it up with three ill-advised guillotine attempts, and was stuck on his back in each round because of it.
FIGHT SEVEN: TIM BOETSCH VS. COSTA PHILIPPOU (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Boetsch immediately walked Philippou down and tried to close the distance. He backed Philippou to the cage and shot in for the clinch. He landed a hard knee to the body. Boetsch landed an uppercut and a couple more knees. He landed a hard knee to the body. He got in another hard knee to the body and scored a takedown with a single leg. Philippou got to his feet, but Boetsch stayed on him on the fence. Boetsch landed another hard knee to the body and thought about a single leg. Boetsch landed a few short strikes and more knees. Philippou landed a knee and separated. Boetsch landed a leg kick. He landed a hard one and pressed Philippou back. Philippou landed a short right. Boetsch connected with a right. He landed a hard straight kick to the body. He went inside with the leg kick and landed a right, but got hit by an uppercut as he got in for the clinch. Philippou spun out and separated. He rushed in, but Boetsch ducked under and scored a takedown. The crowd got a bit restless after two less than thrilling fights to kick off the card had them impatient. They were stood up rather quickly. Philippou landed a nice kick and landed a nice combination on Boetsch against the cage before backing out. Boetsch dropped Philippou at the end of the round with a front kick to the face.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Boetsch. Philippou had one nice exchange, but he got hurt a few times, got taken down, and got beat up a bit in the clinch early.
ROUND TWO: Philippou landed an early jab. Boetsch landed a nice two punch combo. Boetsch ducked under a spinning kick and clinched. He went for a trip and missed a big punch before clinching again. Boetsch got in a knee. Boetsch got cut on the forehead from what looked like an uppercut. Boetsch may have a broken hand. Philippou landed a right. Boetsch landed a right. Boetsch shot in but Philippou stuffed him. Boetsch just missed a left but landed a right. He threw the front kick again. Boetsch knocked Philippou's mouthguard out and Philippou poked him in the eye. Replay was nasty it was right in his eye. The crowd booed as the doctor came in to look at his eye. They restarted. Boetsch threw the front kick again but it didn't land flush. Philippou tried to be the aggressor, but Boetsch avoided him. He shot in and Philippou shrugged it off. Boetsch was getting worn down. Boetsch pulled guard into half guard as Philippou was on him. That eyepoke really messed him up. Boetsch landed an elbow and blocked a few strikes. Philippou landed a right and an elbow. Philippou got in a few elbows, but couldn't do a ton before the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Philippou. Boetsch was winning the round, but the eyepoke led to Boetsch on his back and it cost him the round.
ROUND THREE: Boetsch shot in, got stuffed, then tried to lock up half guard. He ate a few big punches and Philippou went to work on top. He backed off and Boetsch went for the leg. Boetch scooted and was bleeding badly. Philippou closed in, stuffed a takedown, and Boetsch again pulled half guard. Philippou made him stand up again. Boetsch again tried to pull guard, and Philippou landed a few punches. Winslow told Boetsch to fight back, but he couldn't and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Philippou via TKO at 2:11 of the third round
STAR RATING: (**-) Not much better than the first two fights, but slightly. Boetsch told his coach Matt Hume that he couldn't see after the second round, and he said he probably broke his hand in the first. Coach's job in that spot to take him out of there. He was in an impossible spot in the third round and only got hurt worse because he couldn't see to do anything. He's not going to take himself out.
FIGHT EIGHT: JIM MILLER VS. JOE LAUZON (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Miller landed a few good strikes early. Hekept pressure on Lauzon with combinations and kicks. He landed a hard knee to the body in the clinch, but ate an uppercut. Miller landed a couple more in combination again. He tripped Lauzon up with an inside leg kick and landed more strikes in the clinch on the cage. He landed a hard left after they separated. Miller landed a hard kick to the body. He had Lauzon hurt and stayed on him, pressing him back. Lauzon fought right back off the cage with a few punches. He dropped Lauzon with another leg kick. He landed a body punch. Miller landed a nice short forearm. He hurt Lauzon with another combo, and started lighting him up with a huge series of strikes that bloodied up Lauzon. He went for a standing arm triangle as Lauzon was bloodied badly. He lost the hold and the fight was halted to check the cut. Doctors let him continue. Miller went right back on the attack. Lauzon shot but got stuffed and ate a knee. Miller threw a head kick and kept landing strikes. He got in a knee to the body and Lauzon fought back with an uppercut. Lauzon landed a nice knee. Miller came back with a combo. He landed a hard left. They tripped with kicks but popped up. Miller kept up the attack. He slowed a bit. Lauzon's face is a bloody mess. Lauzon land a right, and Miller landed another combination. He hurt Lauzon again and backed him to the cage. Lauzon came right back. He rushed in with a knee to the body at the end of the round to get the crowd going. Amazing round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Miller. Lauzon did enough offensively to avoid a 10-8, but Miller beat him up for the majority of that round. Miller may have tired himself a bit, but he's in complete control of this fight right now.
ROUND TWO: Miller went right back on the attack to start the second round, and he opened the cut immediately. Miller shot in under a strike and scored a big takedown. Lauzon's face was again a bloody mess. Miller passed to half guard, and tried to pass further. Lauzon held him in half guard, but Miller continued working and got to mount nicely. Lauzon got him back to half guard. Miller moved to strikes with a few big elbows. He locked up an arm and continued the assault. Miller went for a D'Arce choke, but Lauzon got out and turned the tide on top. They were stood up to cut tape off Lauzon's glove, which had come way loose. They restarted with Lauzon on top. Lauzon tried to lift Miller up and he passed to half guard. Lauzon went for a leg lock, but Miller got his leg loose and he had to let it go. Miller grabbed a leg and Lauzon sprawled to get to the third round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Miller. Lauzon ended on top, but Miller won the first three minutes of the round. Great striking in the first, good ground action in the second.
ROUND THREE: Miller went back on the attack. He tripped Lauzon again with a leg kick. Miller landed a few strikes. Lauzon fired back. Miller was tired. He tripped Lauzon again with the kick. He landed a kick to the leg then backed off. Miller landed a short elbow. Lauzon's face was bleeding profusely again. Miller landed a few more strikes. Miller landed a hard leg kick. Miller landed a couple more strikes and Lauzon fired a jab. MIller landed a left and an elbow. Miller landed a hard left to the jaw. Lauzon landed a hard knee to the body that backed Miller up. He got in a few strikes in combination. Miller landed a few as he recovered. Miller grabbed a clinch and landed a few nice strikes. Miller landed an uppercut and a left hook. More uppercuts from Miller. He landed a kick to the thigh. Lauzon continued to zombie-step forward. Lauzon landed a right. Miller grabbed the clinch and landed more strikes. He landed another elbow to the cut location. Miller landed a hard knee in the clinch, but Lauzon continued moving forward. Miller with another combination. Lauzon then flew in and grabbed a heel hook. He turned it to an ankle lock. Miller got loose. Lauzon went for a guillotine in desperation at the end, but Miller held on for the round and the win in a thrilling fight.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Miller. Lauzon tried to steal it at the end, which would have been incredible, but Miller kept the onslaught on throughout the fight. Credit to Lauzon for being one tough son of a bitch, but he was getting beat up throughout the fight. Miller wore himself out beating him up in the first, but was able to keep the attack on throughout the second and third to win this one.
WINNER: Miller via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (****) That lived up to every expectation you could have had for the fight. The first round was one of the most thrilling of the year, and Miller put on an absolute beating, only to have Lauzon continue fighting back through the blood. Then they added in some great ground work in the second, and Miller continued the beating in the third before Lauzon tried to steal it with a last second submission. Amazing fight, maybe the best of the year, let alone the night.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT NINE: JUNIOR DOS SANTOS VS. CAIN VELASQUEZ (HEAVYWEIGHT)
-The crowd booed Velasquez and mostly erupted for JDS. The co-main got them in the mood, and this should be a good one!
ROUND ONE: Velasquez came forward swinging immediately. He tripped dos Santos up, but dos Santos reversed and popped right back up. Velasquez telegraphed the next attempt and got shrugged off. He landed a left as dos Santos backed up. Dos Santos landed a right. Velasquez landed a jab. Dos Santos landed a hard jab. He landed another jab. He landed a right and got his foot away as the fight officially went longer than the first one. Velasquez pressed in and dos Santos just missed the uppercut. Dos Santos again defended the single leg, then landed a hook to the body. Velasquez landed a right. They traded jabs. Velasquez landed a nice jab and a nice right behind it. He landed another jab as he kept dos Santos' back on the cage. He shot in again and dos Santos walked away. Dos Santos landed a couple of nice jabs. They traded punches again. Velasquez closed the distance and clinched. He landed a few short strikes before dos Santos circled out. Velasquez landed a right. Dos Santos landed a jab. Velasquez swung a few wild strikes. He landed a right. Velasquez knocked dos Santos down! He landed a big series of strikes and got on dos Santos' back. The Champ tried to recover on his knees and Velasquez continued landing strikes. Dos Santos got up briefly, but got pulled down again. Velasquez stayed on dos Santos and landed strikes. Velasquez ended the round with a hammer fist and the Champ wobbled to his corner. Wow.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Velasquez. Changing the score immediately. Knockdown and beatdown score too big for Velasquez.
ROUND TWO: Velasquez came straight ahead. Dos Santos threw an uppercut and missed, got hit by a couple strikes and taken down immediately by Velasquez. Dos Santos tried to scramble, and eventually worked to his feet. Velasquez stayed on him and took him right back down. Dos Santos got to his feet again, but he was very tired from this relentless assault, and Velasquez took him right back down again. Dos Santos worked back to his feet again. Velasquez landed a big left hook on the cage. He dragged dos Santos back down again. He landed a few strikes from half guard. Dos Santos tried to scramble and Velasquez rolled for an armbar. Dos Santos got out and got to his feet. Dos Santos landed an elbow, but Velasquez stayed on him in the clinch. Velasquez backed off and landed a combo before clinching again. They traded strikes, then Velasquez landed a couple more on the cage. The round ended in the clinch.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Velasquez. Dos Santos had zero offense that round, still feeling the effects from the huge knockdown in the first round. Dos Santos is in big trouble as this fight continues.
ROUND THREE: Dos Santos landed an early uppercut and tried to keep Velasquez at bay with a jab. He landed another uppercut to the body. Velasquez shot in and scored a takedown. Dos Santos walked up the cage. Velasquez landed a couple strikes. Velasquez tried for a single leg but dos Santos held it off and they separated. He landed a left hook but Velasquez clinched. Dos Santos landed a left and separated again. Velasquez closed the distance again and landed a nice right hand. Dos Santos landed a nice left and ate an elbow. He got away again. Velasquez to the clinch again and landed an uppercut. Dos Santos again broke free. He landed an uppercut to the body. He landed a left, but Velasquez kept on him to the clinch. Dos Santos dropped his hands and Velasquez landed a couple of strikes before going back to the clinch. Velasquez landed another hard combination. Dos Santos turned him around. Velasquez tried a trip and dos Santos held it off. Back to the clinch. Velasquez broke off with a combination. Dos Santos landed a left. They separated again. Dos Santos landed an uppercut. He got in a body shot and had a little life in him into the championship rounds.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Velasquez. Dos Santos is getting a little life back in him, but he needs to stop this to retain his title. No other way to come back.
ROUND FOUR: Velasquez closed the distance again, but ate an elbow from JDS on the outset. Dos Santos landed a jab. Velasquez landed a leg kick. Dos Santos landed a left and Velasquez clinched. Dos Santos landed a couple uppercuts to the body. Velasquez took him down briefly, then landed a knee to the body. Dos Santos landed the short elbow in the clinch again. Velasquez landed a two punch combo. Dos Santos stuffed another takedown. Dos Santos then looked for a takedown of his own. Velasquez took dos Santos down again. Dos Santos again worked back up. Velasquez landed a hard body shot and a nice left hook. He landed a couple more strikes as he walked dos Santos down again. Dos Santos landed a jab. Velasquez returned the favor. Back to the clinch. Dos Santos tried to get separation again as Velasquez stayed on him. Dos Santos landed a knee, but Velasquez stayed on him. Dos Santos landed a nice elbow as he broke off. He landed an uppercut. Velasquez shot in again but got held off. Dos Santos landed a body shot. Velasquez clinched once more to end the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Velasquez. Velasquez is now very tired as well, and this could still be open to JDS in the final round.
ROUND FIVE: Velasquez closed the distance and again shot in. JDS held it off by grabbing the fence and got a warning. Velasquez clinched again and dos Santos landed a couple of strikes. Dos Santos landed a right. Dos Santos stuffed another takedown and missed a big strike. He landed an uppercut. He got in a couple of short elbows, but Velasquez clinched again as time started to work against him. Dos Santos landed a right. Velasquez pulled off a nice trip halfway through the final round. Velasquez worked well from half guard, but dos Santos worked to his feet again. Into the final minute, Velasquez landed a head kick and a strike on the cage. The clinch battle continued into the final horn, and Velasquez will regain the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Velasquez. The last three rounds were really bad heavyweight action, and the drama in the background was whether or not JDS could come back. But Velasquez did the damage in that first round, continued it in the second, and that was it from there.
WINNER: Velasquez via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-43, 50-44)
STAR RATING: (***-) For two rounds, that was one of the best Heavyweight Title fights in UFC history. Velasquez knocking JDS down in the first round and nearly finishing him was huge, and he continued that beating in the second. Then, he got tired, and a completely worn out JDS attempted to make a comeback. That led to extensive clinching and little legitimate action, and outside of the drama of a comeback for JDS, it seemed like an overly long extension of a fight that had long been concluded.
-That's it for the UFC in 2012! It's been an interesting year, to say the least, and we'll be looking back on all of it as we head into the new year and another packed month of action in MMA in January. Thanks for sticking with us for another event, and make sure to check back for our reactions throughout the week!