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UFC 146 live blog: Junior dos Santos defends belt against Frank Mir

Cain Velasquez issues first-round beat down on Antonio Silva

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Steve Marcus

Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos of Brazil celebrates after a successful title defense against Frank Mir of Las Vegas before the fight was stopped during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, May 26, 2012.

Updated Saturday, May 26, 2012 | 9:21 p.m.

UFC 146: Dos Santos retains title

KSNV coverage of Junior dos Santos' victory against Las Vegan Frank Mir at UFC 146, May 26, 2012.

UFC 146 Weigh-in

Junior Dos Santos, left, and Frank Mir, right, face off with Dana White, center, after weighing in for UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, May 25, 2012. Launch slideshow »

UFC 146 Press Conference

Fighter Junior Dos Santos, left, and fighter Frank Mir, right, speak to the media with commentator Jon Anik, center, during the press conference for UFC 146 in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Thursday, May 24, 2012. Launch slideshow »

UFC 146 Workouts

Roy Nelson of Las Vegas talks to reporters during workouts for UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Wednesday, May 23, 2012.  UFC 146: Launch slideshow »

Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page for full results from the preliminary card.

The UFC heavyweight championship belt is finally staying with the same owner for more than one fight.

The golden strap is headed back to Salvador, Brazil, with Junior dos Santos. Former champion Frank Mir was no match for dos Santos, who officially claimed a second-round TKO victory at 3:04.

"I came here to defend my belt," dos Santos exclaimed in the octagon moments after his victory, "and I did it."

Dos Santos breaks a streak of four straight challengers prevailing in UFC heavyweight championship fights. It's the first time in two years — since Brock Lesnar, who sat octagon-side with UFC President Dana White — that anyone has defended the most prized possession in the promotion.

Dos Santos dropped Mir with a counter right-hand in the second round. A few seconds later, it was over after dos Santos chased after him and rained down punches on the grounded Mir.

"It's not bad for a nice guy, huh?" dos Santos said.

Another nice guy, former champion Cain Velasquez, also had quite the night. Velasquez defeated Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva by TKO at 3:36 of the first round in the co-main event.

In perhaps the bloodiest heavyweight fight in UFC history, Velasquez opened a deep cut above Silva's eye. The octagon newcomer bled profusely, eating elbows and ground-and-pound punches, before the referee mercifully stopped the fight.

"I took my time and waited to get good position to turn it on and finish the fight," Velasquez said. "I had to get really good posture and sit up in order to get power and land those hard shots. I knew if I kept the speed up the ref would step in and stop it."

Mir may have come up short in his quest to win a title, but another local was successful on the card. Roy Nelson knocked out Dave Herman with a right hand 51 seconds into their bout.

The win breaks a skid that saw "Big Country" lose three of his past four bouts. Stipe Miocic and Stefan Struve also picked up stoppages by beating Shane del Rosario and Lavar Johnson, respectively, to open the card.

Check below for round-by-round coverage of the main card and see preliminary results at the bottom. Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of the event later.

Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir

Second Round They touch gloves and get back to it. Mir looks to have re-gained his senses. But dos Santos continues to use his quick feet to land jabs. Mir eats a straight left 30 seconds into the round. Dos Santos counters a Mir strike with a right hand and drops the former champion. Mir wants dos Santos to come to the ground, but the champion isn't having it. Mir gets back to his feet. He kicks dos Santos in the chest, but takes a few punches before that. Mir is squeezing his right eye closed, indicating dos Santos may have poked him. Mir kicks dos Santos again, effectively keeping the champion timid. He blocks a combination from dos Santos, who is bouncing around and looks loose. Mir is more flat-footed. His head is moving less than it was in the first round. Mir lands two kicks to dos Santos' knee. Mir lands a knee, but dos Santos counters with a right hand that drops the challenger. Mir is in trouble. Dos Santos is swinging away on him on the ground. One final ground-and-pound strike does it. Dos Santos stays champion. Junior dos Santos defeats Frank Mir by TKO at 3:04 of the second round.

First Round No touching of the gloves, as the two immediately start to feel each other out with Mir at the center of the octagon. Mir shoots for a single-leg takedown, and dos Santos wiggles out after a prolonged period. Dos Santos fires and connects with two straight jabs. "Cigano" chants start in favor of the champ. It doesn't feel like Mir's hometown tonight in Las Vegas. Mir throws a combination and misses with a head kick. Dos Santos goes to the body after tossing another jab. "USA" chants now to give Mir some support. Mir lands a short right, but dos Santos counters to the body. Mir throws two consecutive leg kicks. The fight is taking place where dos Santos wants it — on the feet. Mir is moving forward two-and-a-half minutes in. Dos Santos tags the local with an uppercut followed by a left hand. Mir doesn't back down. Dos Santos uses his speed to land a right hand on Mir's temple. Mir kicks dos Santos' leg. Dos Santos is scoring more points, but Mir is staying competitive. Mir connects with two jabs now. He's got some of dos Santos' rhythm down, using head movement to evade some strikes. But dos Santos lands two consecutive shots to the body that hurt Mir. A right hand from dos Santos sends Mir back with around 30 seconds to go. Dos Santos wobbles Mir with a right. Mir is trying to hang on against the fence with 10 seconds to go. He falls down, but gets back to his feet. The bell saves him, but that will be a 10-8 round for the champion.

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva

First Round They meet in the middle, and Silva tries to chop Velasquez down with a leg kick. Velasquez instead lands a right hand that sends Silva to the ground. Velasquez is throwing ground-and-pound. Bigfoot is already in trouble. He gets a hold of Velasquez's head to stop some of the strikes. Velasquez is in Silva's half-guard throwing elbows when he can. Blood is pouring out of Silva's face. Velasquez has opened a huge cut on Silva. He's so bloody it's hard to tell where the cut originally opened from. The referee calls the doctors in to check out Silva. The cut is right above his left eye, a likely result of one of Velasquez's elbows. The doctors allow him to continue and they go back to the ground. Silva is using his legs to keep Velasquez throwing down with serious power. Velasquez punches to the body instead. Silva's eyes and forehead are covered in a red mask. Velasquez elbows him to the chin, transitions to the side and wails away. Silva is doing little to stop the barrage of punches from Velasquez. The referee finally steps in, probably a few blows too late. Cain Velasquez defeats Antonio Silva by TKO at 3:36 of the first round.

Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman

First Round Herman uses a push-kick to send Nelson back in the first few seconds. Herman continues to keep his distance with kicks. Nelson called him "the white Jon Jones" during the week, and that's how it looks here. Nelson throws a right hand and Herman crashes to the floor. One more strike follows before the referee jumps in. Roy Nelson knocks out Dave Herman at 0:51 of the first round.

Stipe Miocic vs. Shane del Rosario

Second Round Del Rosario throws an inside leg kick to get another round under way. Miocic surges forward with a combination. Like the first round, Miocic is winning as far as volume punching. Miocic takes del Rosario down and immediately gets into side control. This is a position he should be able to secure some damage from. He tries to mount del Rosario, but has to stand up when it's not there. Hammer fists rain down on del Rosario, as Miocic re-enters his guard. Elbows to the throat are now coming from Miocic, as he shows off his ground-and-pound game. The crowd bemoans the slowed pace, but this is where Miocic wants the fight. Del Rosario covering up big now, as the combination of elbows and hammer fists bloodies his face. He's got a major cut above his right eye and is also bleeding out of the nose. These elbows are getting brutal and the referee pulls Miocic off. Stipe Miocic defeats Shane del Rosario by TKO at 3:14 of the second round.

First Round Del Rosario misses with a leg kick to start the action. He connects to the body on the second attempt. Miocic is backing up as del Rosario catches him in the groin area with a kick. They touch gloves and get back to it, exchanging strikes. Miocic lands a couple right hands, but del Rosario stays active with continued leg kicks. A combination from Miocic leaves a little swelling on del Rosario's face. The former Strikeforce fighter also moves backward. Del Rosario is combating Miocic's punching advances with kicks. They are bothering Miocic, but not enough to stop him from coming in to land a stiff uppercut followed by a right hand. Miocic is using his quickness to land punches.Del Rosario gets Miocic in trouble with a combination followed by a kick to the body. The crowd loves it, but Miocic retreats and he's fine. It's his time to score, as a hook punishes the side of del Rosario's head. Miocic attempts to clinch up with del Rosario, who isn't having it. Del Rosario looks for a head kick, which Miocic throws away, Miocic jabs and del Rosario kicks his leg. Del Rosario sends Miocic stumbling back with a left hand. Miocic shakes it off and jabs again. They clinch up and del Rosario throws one knee before they break apart. Back in the clinch, Miocic has del Rosario pressed against the cage. Miocic's jab continues to land when they find their way back to the middle. But del Rosario punishes him with kicks to the body. Miocic shoots and takes del Rosario down late in the round. It's not enough to steal the nod on the scorecard, however, as del Rosario finishes one round up 10-9.

Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson

First Round Johnson comes out swinging and ties up with Struve along the cage. Johnson throws short knees into Struve's thighs. Struve pulls guard, bringing Johnson down to the mat. He's looking for an arm bar, and it's there. Johnson taps. He's rolling around and howling in pain. Struve submits Johnson at 1:05 of the first round.

Pre-main card

On the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas, the ultimate gamble is taking place inside of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The UFC’s decision to hold its first-ever all-heavyweight main card looks like the ultimate hit-or-miss proposition. In terms of stirring interest, it’s a knockout of an idea.

The heavyweight division continues to hold the most pizzazz in combat sports. The fights often deliver, and fans love nothing more than seeing 250-pound men wing punches with all their power at each other.

But heavyweight fights also end disappointingly at a higher clip than the rest of the divisions. The aforementioned heavy power that enthralls fans can also cause bouts to end before they ever really get started — see the one-minute knockout at UFC on FOX 1.

Heavyweights tend to get tired faster, too, sometimes creating slow, sluggish wars of attrition — see the two heavyweight bouts on the main card of UFC 135 last week.

But all of this was a risk worth taking for the UFC. The fans, which have already filled the arena, also give the impression that they are unconcerned.

They don’t seem to mind the massive re-shaping of UFC 146 following Alistair Overeem’s failed drug test, either. On paper, Junior dos Santos gets a much easier opponent for his first title defense.

Dos Santos was only a 2-to-1 favorite over Overeem, but oddsmakers see him as more than double that at 5-to-1 against Las Vegas native Frank Mir.

Mir’s ability to take a punch worried many UFC fans. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira rocked Mir before he came back to get a submission in their last fight. Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar also memorably made quick work of Mir within the last three years. But Mir has referenced recent wins over Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop for proof that he has a strong enough chin.

Mir says wrestling is his biggest disadvantage, so perhaps he dodged a bullet by getting pulled out of a co-main event showdown with Cain Velasquez, who now meets Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.

The more competitive matchups, by the odds, come in the first three pay-per-view fights. Cimarron-Memorial graduate Roy Nelson faces Dave Herman in a battle between two fighters looking to get back on the winning track.

Top prospects Stipe Miocic and Shane del Rosario meet in a bout that will give one of them a major boost toward their championship aspirations. The same could be said for the opening contest between Stefan “Skyscrape” Struve and Lavar “Big” Johnson.

Struve and Johnson are both on two-fight winning streaks and promised top opposition with another win.

Combined, around 2,500 pounds worth of heavyweights will enter the octagon tonight. Whether they soar or tumble will serve as the story of the night.

Welcome to UFC 146.

Stay tuned for a round-by-round live blog of the main card and read below for full results from the preliminary portion of the event.

Darren Elkins won a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Diego Brandao in a featherweight bout. Brandao rocked Elkins several times in the first round, but the former lightweight was able to wrestle "The Ultimate Fighter" 14 champion and use ground-and-pound to win the rest of the fight.

The return of former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner was a rousing success. Varner stunned previously undefeated Edson Barboza, scoring a knockout victory at 3:23 of the first round. Varner finished Barboza with a combination of punches along the fence, and also took down the Brazilian prospect earlier in the round.

Jason "Mayhem" Miller promised he would retire from mixed martial arts if he lost to C.B. Dollaway at UFC 146. It's time to see if Miller, now 0-3 in the UFC, will stick to his word. Dollaway defeated Miller by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28), out-wrestling "The Ultimate Fighter" 14 coach to pick up the victory.

"It's really good to be back," former top welterweight contender Dan Hardy exclaimed after completing a sure Knockout of the Night candidate. Hardy knocked out Duane Ludwig with a left hand at 3:51 of the first round to snap a four-fight losing streak dating back to his failed bid to steal the title from Georges St. Pierre.

Paul Sass continued his tear of first-round submissions in the UFC with a victory over Jacob Volkmann. Sass submitted Volkmann with an armbar at 1:54 of the first round to stay undefeated. Sass has submitted all three opponents in the UFC and 12 out of 13 in his career.

Talk about a memorable UFC debut; Glover Teixeira showed why fans have demanded to get him into the octagon for years. Teixeira submitted Kyle Kingsbury with an arm-triangle choke at 1:53 of the first round after rocking the usually durable light heavyweight veteran with strikes.

Mike Brown won a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Daniel Pineda in a featherweight bout. Pineda wobbled Brown with crisp striking in the first round and took the former WEC champion's back in the third round, but it wasn't enough. Brown prevailed in an exciting fight to open the card.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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