The much anticipated all heavyweight main card event held Saturday, May 26, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was nothing short of epic. For the first time in UFC history, the entire main card consisted of heavyweight fighters, this not being an easy feat following the removal of Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem in early April due to failed drug testing. Shortly thereafter, UFC President Dana White announced that Overeem would be replaced by Frank Mir, who was originally slated to face Cain Velasquez. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was then shuffled into Mir’s spot, landing Dave Herman opposite Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Lastly, as if it weren’t confusing enough, Stipe Miocic then was matched up with Shane del Rosario, leaving Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve paired with Lavar Johnson, a third time UFC fighter.
After his loss May 28, 2011 to Travis Browne at UFC 130, Struve needed a big win, and Saturday night he simply strolled into the octagon and took it. Less than a minute into the first round, the Skyscraper pulled guard on Lavar Johnson, and seconds later took the “W” by submission with a textbook armbar. Struve definitely earned some respect not only for the level of skill he demonstrated, but also for the restraint he displayed by releasing Johnson’s arm the moment he felt the tap, rather than waiting for the referee to step in. This not only made his 16th career win by submission, but also Johnson eat his words after he boasted “I have two UFC knockouts, and tonight will be my third,” when interviewed prior to the bout. The exact opposite was the case for Stipe Miocic, who calmly stated that he will “…be faster, and more athletic, and tonight, whatever he does, I am going to have an answer,” when asked about opponent Shane del Rosario in the interviews prior to his bout following the very short, one round match between Struve and Johnson.
And have an answer for everything he did, there was virtually not a move that del Rosario brought to the table that Miocic wasn’t able to rebut. It was looking fairly even in the first round, del Rosario consistently landed solid kicks, both to the body, and the legs of Miocic, who repeatedly answered with extremely fast strikes to the head and body of his also undefeated competitor. In the end, del Rosario proved to be no match for the Croatian-American Strong Style fighter. After suffering a big take down by Miocic about a minute in to the second round, del Rosario eventually succumbed after receiving a barrage of hammer fists and elbows 3 minutes into round 2, ending in a TKO (elbows) with a minute and a half left in the second round. This loss put an end to Shane del Rosario’s undefeated status, and left Stipe Miocic virtually unscathed.
Following the trend of the evening, Roy “Big Country” Nelson wasted no time shoving Dave Herman’s words down his throat with a beautiful overhand KO a mere 51 seconds into the first round. Earlier in the evening, Herman had this to say: “I know Nelson is a tough opponent, but I am going for a first round KO,” and much like the first fight on the main card, the reality turned out to be the exact opposite. This was not the first time Big Country received a standing ovation for his performance in the octagon, but perhaps the first he did so while seated atop the octagon fence rubbing his hearty belly. The receipt of the “Knockout of the Night” bonus, alongside preliminary card fighter Dan Hardy, made the 3rd of Nelson’s career.
The KO that flattened Herman was execution style in its cleanliness and simplicity, whereas the fight that followed can only be described as a literal blood bath. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, the former Strikeforce turned Blackzillian fighter, was originally slated to fight Nelson in his UFC debut; however, after some alterations to the final main card were made, he landed himself a dicey slot up against former Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez Ramirez. 2 and half minutes into the round, after a brutal elbow split open Bigfoot’s face, causing blood to pour into his eyes and his vision to become obstructed, the fight was halted to ensure that the damage was not detrimental enough to cause Silva to withdraw. After an inspection by the doctor, the ref called “game-on,” and that was the end for Antonio Silva. It was very clear that his vision was impaired by the blood flowing from the cut above his eye, and there has been debate that the fight should have been called sooner; either way the UFC newcomer showed a ton of heart by hanging in there and refusing to tap, which in my opinion deserves credit even in the face of a loss. This has placed Velasquez in prime position for a re-match against Junior Dos Santos for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, and I would be surprised if he was not named as the next contender in the near future.
This brings us to the main event, which deviated from the extremely fast pace of its predecessors lasting almost two full 5 minute rounds. Frank Mir barely hung in for the first round after being visibly shook by a nasty right hook to the temple which he tried to counter with a sloppy take down attempt that only showcased his exhaustion and weakness at that point, after which he was literally saved by the bell. The rest between rounds enabled Mir to hold Dos Santos off for almost half of the second round, however, despite prior claims, he did not step his game up enough to take the belt…again. At 3 minutes and 34 seconds into the second round, DS knocked Mir down with a right hook to the eye and finished him with an almost immediate massive hammer fist for a victory by TKO (punches).
All in all this entire evening was nothing short of explosive with action, and with any luck, another all heavyweight event is in the cards
About the Author
Written by Amanda Gloster
I'm a small town girl with a double science major, a part time cashier job, a million purses and a dirty little sports addiction! I grew up as one of the guys and it's never changed...on the inside at least. On the outside I'm a complete girly girl, but don't let the french-tipped nails and stilettos fool you, I'm just as comfortable shopping as I am yelling and throwing doritos at the ref on TV for a garbage call like the rest of you ;)