UFC 160’s main card had something for everyone – lightweights and heavyweights; kickboxing clinics and submission showcases; fan favorites and underdog wins; classic decisions and last-minute KOs. The only thing it lacked, in retrospect, was a boring fight, and in the process a heavyweight defended his belt and two new contenders were minted.
Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva
Cain Velasquez’ heavyweight title defense against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva played out the same way that their first meeting did: Velasquez via TKO in the first. This go-round was even shorter and less bloody than their UFC 146 meeting, if somehow less competitive.
Bigfoot started out in a low stance, shrugging off Velasquez’ first attempt at a single-leg. Back on the feet, Velasquez threw a few hands as Silva tried to find his opening, defending yet another takedown attempt in the process. Velasquez then dropped Silva with a short right, and followed him to the mat with ruthless right hands from Silva’s back until Silva flattened out and bout was ended at 1:21 – a full minute and 15 seconds shorter than when the two first fought.
Velasquez moves to 12-1 with the win, and is primed for a third bout against former champion Junior dos Santos. Silva slides to 18-5.
Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos went toe-to-toe with knockout artist Mark Hunt for more than 14 minutes, outpointing him and taking him down before ending things with an unbelievable head kick in the final minute.
Round one was mostly Hunt standing in the center with “Cigano” circling and fighting long. By and large the only action came via Hunt’s leg kicks and left hands, while dos Santos landed a handful of rights. Oh, and one of those right hands dropped Hunt, who fell completely down, rolled over and then bounced up as if it were nothing. A couple of flashy moves from each guy spiced up the end of the round but both men’s power had the crowd breathless regardless.
Hunt bullied dos Santos against the fenced and winged his best shots a few times in the second, but largely dos Santos outclassed him, connecting on straights, spinning attacks, and more of those merciless right hands. Mid-way through the round, dos Santos easily got one of the takedowns that MMA fans have long heard about but had yet to see in the UFC. Hunt held him in half-guard and tried to neutralize the elbows dos Santos threw through. Dos Santos passed to side control before the round ended, then punched Hunt once more as they stood.
Dos Santos used more footwork in the third, which was perhaps as much strategy as it was the fact that Hunt appeared too tired to do much besides slowly plod forward, hoping to back dos Santos against the fence. Hunt’s long, delayed journey from Australia and his career-long with cardio were evident in the final stanza as he worked to muster up the energy for one kick or punch at a time. Hunt was wobbled by a left and ate rights from dos Santos that seemed to do little more than push the iron-jawed Aussie backward… that is, until the never-before-seen-from-a-heavyweight spinning back kick from dos Santos that dropped Hunt and the follow-up right on the ground that put him out at 4:18.
The win positions dos Santos to fight Cain Velasquez for the title again, as his record moves to 16-2. Hunt moves to 9-8, a win ratio that belies his recent success in the Octagon, where he went on a four-fight win streak before being stopped by dos Santos.
"He has a very dangerous standup game, but I trust my hands so I used them," said dos Santos. "His first punch he landed drew blood above my eye and I was like ‘Wow, he hits hard!’ When the fans were booing I was thinking, 'Take it easy, that’s my strategy. I have to confuse him!'"
Watch Junior's post-fight interview
Glover Teixeira vs. James Te Huna
Light heavyweight prospect Glover Teixeira continued his brutal tear through the division, stopping fellow slugger James Te Huna by submission in the first round.
It came as a surprise to roughly no one that the two light heavyweights came out slugging, going Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots-style out of the gate. Te Huna looked in particular for an uppercut and sprinkled in a couple of kicks, which opened the way for Teixeira to go for a leg pick. He succeeded on his second attempt, then threw some elbows and worked hard to escape Te Huna’s half-guard before finally letting him up. Crafty Teixeira stayed heavy on top with an over-under hold as Te Huna got to his feet, then pulled guard and got the arm-in guillotine tap at 2:38.
With a win, his 19th in a row, practically ho-hum at this point, Teixeira was still giddy after the win. “Mike Tyson was here, I can’t believe it man!” said a starstruck Teixeira in his post-fight Octagon interview. “He was telling me yesterday at weigh-ins I was going to be champ someday so it was amazing getting a win in front of him. I used to watch him as a kid late at night."
Teixeira now stands at 21-2, including wins in all four of his UFC bouts. Te Huna’s digits drop to 18-6 in his first loss since facing Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 127.
Watch Teixeira's post-fight interview
Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant
In a lightweight contender bout between submission artist TJ Grant and power wrestler Gray Maynard, the two ground specialists slugged their way to a first-round TKO, with Grant presumably earning the next shot against current champion Benson Henderson.
Maynard and Grant squared off to begin, with Maynard occasionally lobbing what could best be described as single, whizzing haymakers from every direction. But then Grant took his turn, wobbling Maynard with a right and following him to the fence with more fists. Maynard escaped, but was tagged next with right hand to the body, a left and a right fist that dropped him against the Octagon wall. Grant rushed with nonstop strikes, only letting up to knee Maynard every time he stood, the pressure sending him back to the mat two more times. As Maynard covered up with no answer, the fight was waved off at 2:07.
Grant’s win is his fifth in a row, as he stays unbeaten at lightweight with an overall record of 21-5. "I knew if I left it all out there, the fans would love it," said Grant, who's flown under the radar for much of his 11-fight UFC career. "Gray is not a guy I wanted to go to the ground with and I saw he didn’t move his feet too well so I knew there were openings. I wasn’t necessarily looking for the knockout, I was just looking to connect to the face. I felt good things would come from that.” Maynard drops to 12-2-1 (1 NC), with his only other loss coming to Frankie Edgar in the third of their lightweight title fights.
Watch Grant's post-fight interview
Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons
Lightweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and KJ Noons put on a true mixed-martial arts exhibition for the fans at MGM Grand Garden Arena, with Cerrone picking up the unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Both lightweights launched leg kicks and they exchanged immediately, signaling to the crowd that there would be no feeling-out process on this main card opener. Cerrone tossed off body kicks like they were confetti, and when Noons fired back in kind, Cerrone caught a kick and threw for a takedown, delivering a knee as Noons stood. Cerrone made Noons come to him, and Noons did the best he could, throwing left jabs and right straights with bad intentions. Cerrone mixed his attacks up, firing off a body-head-elbow-kick combination late in the round that drew a nod of appreciation from Noons. Cerrone’s kicks hit their marks, be that the leg, body or head of Noons, and Cowboy also charged with another big takedown before the round ended.
Cerrone went forward immediately in the second, pushing the takedown, getting a headlock and again kneeing Noons on the way up. They traded freely with their fists, both showing off their precision and nearly identical reach. Noons hit a perfect left to Cerrone’s jaw, but Cerrone reflexively moved forward with his own punches and another knee to the head. Cerrone was again wobbled, and as he shot for a takedown, crashed into Noon’s oncoming knee. He recovered in Noons’ guard, passed to a nearly perpendicular half-guard and continued throwing big hooks, hammerfists and backhands to Noons’ body and head as Noons struggled to make space and escape.
The crowd roared as the third round began – louder than this reporter has ever heard it in Las Vegas or elsewhere – and the two went back to business. Noons held his hands down, leaving him open to strikes, and as he goaded Cerrone forward, he instead was taken down and ground and pounded from guard again. Cerrone’s elbows bloodied Noons and his top control frustrated him for the remainder of the fight, which ended with Cerrone in side control.
Cerrone gets back in the win column after his first knockout loss, which came at the shin of Anthony Pettis in January. His career total is now 20-5 (1 NC), including 7 wins in the UFC since coming over from the WEC in 2011. Strikeforce standout Noons drops to 10-6 in his UFC debut.
Watch Cerrone's post-fight interview
Cain Defends His Crown: UFC 160 Main Card Results
May 25, 2013