By Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times –
Junior Dos Santos defended his Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight belt for the first time Saturday, overwhelming older former champion Frank Mir with punching power and speed en route to a second-round technical knockout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Dos Santos (15-1) landed his deciding blow after Mir, 33, tried a left kick, but left himself open to a wicked right hand that Dos Santos landed on Mir’s chin, sending the 11-year UFC veteran to the canvas.
“I let my hands go,” Dos Santos, 28, said.
After Mir was downed, Dos Santos delivered a combination of punches. Mir tried to stand, but Dos Santos smacked him with another hard right, and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at the 3-minute 4-second mark.
“He hit me hard,” said Mir (16-6).
A submission specialist, Mir tried and failed to hold onto Dos Santos’ right leg in the first round, and never again could seriously threaten to get the fight to the ground.
Mir was left staggered in the final seconds of the first round after effectively resigning the round with Dos Santos winning with faster hands setting up a hard right to Mir’s temple.
“I couldn’t take them,” Mir said of Dos Santos’ strikes. “Very dangerous guy.”
Before the knockout in the second, Dos Santos hit Mir with a right that caused the challenger to tumble. Mir later apparently was poked in the eye before being belted down again.
Earlier, Cain Velasquez pronounced his full recovery from the disastrous surrender of his UFC heavyweight belt to Dos Santos in November.
The San Jose fighter dominated bigger heavyweight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, turning the bout into a bloodbath and scoring a first-round technical knockout in 3:36.
Velasquez (10-1) gave up his belt by suffering a first-round knockout 64 seconds into the massively watched UFC debut card on Fox.
Against Silva (16-4), Velasquez quickly grabbed Silva’s leg to score a takedown, then started delivering short elbows to the face, opening a nasty cut on the bridge of Silva’s nose that required medical attention.
When fighting resumed, Velasquez unloaded a series of hard lefts to Silva’s face that set up the stoppage.