The UFC’s first venture into prime time is in the books and we have a new UFC heavyweight champion of the world in Junior Do Santos. The Brazilian striker floored Cain Velazquez with a big overhand right and after 8-10 follow up shots, referee Big John McCarthy jumped in to stop the fight at 1:04 of the first round.
The fight was hand picked by Dana White to kick off the UFC’s foray into prime time on Fox. While it didn’t last long, there was no shortage of fireworks. After a 30-second feeling out period, Velasquez tried to pick up the pace with some leg kicks but walked into a shot behind the ear that left the champion helpless. Velasquez was a short -160 favorite, Dos Santos backers cashed +120 on the take back.
The one-hour broadcast featured several slick well produced segments. It opened with an exciting introduction followed by a well thought out overview of the rules by Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. The pieces on Velazquez and Dos Santos were well done and showed both fighters as real life men and as warriors in the octagon. Brock Lesnar offered some articulate commentary on the fight and his verbal sparring with Dana White was entertaining.
The quick knockout was the UFC and Fox’ worst nightmare. Contingencies should be put in place for a second fight in the event of a quick stoppage the next time around or a montage of the undercard results. MMA has buried boxing in interest and pay-for-view by offering top matchups, plenty of them, and jam packed undercards featuring contenders and up-and-coming fighters. Say what you will about the sport. You get more bang for your entertainment buck with MMA.
The night’s co-feature of Ben Henderson and Clay Guida would have been a perfect second fight as it was 15-minutes of non-stop action. Henderson’s dominating 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 unanimous decision was not really indicative of an action-packed fight that left the crowd in the Honda Center screaming for more. Both fighter’s took home $65,000 fight-of-the-night bonuses and in the end, Henderson won like a -250 favorite should. Henderson will take on Frankie Edgar for the lightweight (155-pound) championship at UFC when the UFC returns to Japan in February.
In other results from the undercard ….
Ricardo Lamas survived a tough first round to slap on a triangle choke on Cub Swanson forcing the Palm Springs Featherweight to tap out. Lamas earned $65K for submission of the night but will need to clean up some aspects of his game if he hopes to move up to bigger and better things. Lamas was a luke warm -135 favorite in the fight.
Demarques Johnson and Clay Harvison were both fighting for their UFC lives. Johnson was 3-3 in his six UFC fights, Harvison 1-1 and off a bad loss. When the smoke had cleared, Johnson had dispatched Harvison with strikes at 1:27 of the opener taking down the $65,000 knockout of the night to boot. “Darkness” was a prohibitive -275 favorite and won like it.
Next Saturday, UFC 139 features Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson from the HP Pavillion in San Jose, California. Rick Story vs Martin Kampmann and Urijah Faber vs Brian Bowles highlight a loaded as usual undercard. Sportsbettung 3 will be back Friday with a preview of the event. Make Sportsbetting3 a daily destiination in your sports investing.