Published Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 | 7 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 | 10 p.m.
Note: Scroll to the bottom for full results from the preliminary card.
HOUSTON — The resignation in Junior dos Santos' voice spoke volumes.
After losing to Cain Velasquez in a heavyweight championship bout for the second time in 10 months — by TKO at 3:09 of the fifth round on this night — he had no excuses. There was no sugarcoating what happened in the UFC 166 main event, a 22-minute dismantling by Velasquez.
"What can I say," Dos Santos said while still in the octagon. "He beat me up."
Dos Santos connected on a few punches early in the first round, but had few bright spots for the rest of the bout. Velasquez appeared to be on the verge of knocking him out in the third round. In the fourth round, Dos Santos' eyes were so swollen and bloody that cageside doctors nearly stopped the fight — twice.
It was all over in fifth, with dos Santos in the fetal position on the canvas trying to get away from Velasquez's fists.
"He's a true champion," dos Santos said.
Believe it or not, however, UFC 166 might not be remembered for the most significant fight in the history of the heavyweight division. That's because Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez engaged in a bout surely to be praised for years to come earlier on the main card.
Melendez won a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) but that hardly seemed to matter with the warrior spirit both seemed to possess. They stood in the pocket and exchanged wild punches all night with Melendez almost always getting the best of it until near the end of the third round. Sanchez knocked the former Strikeforce champion down to ignite the Toyota Center but ultimately couldn't finish.
"It was a battle and exactly what I expected from him as an opponent," Melendez said.
In the two other heavyweight bouts on the card, Gabriel Gonzaga and Daniel Cormier emerged victorious. Cormier won every round against Las Vegas local Roy Nelson, while Gonzaga knocked out Shawn Jordan at 1:33 of the first round.
John Dodson had a first-round stoppage of his own, a knockout at 4:13 over Darrell Montague to kick off the main card.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of UFC 166 and look below for full results from the preliminary card as well as round-by-round coverage of the pay-per-view.
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos III
Fifth Round It looks like the doctor might stop the fight moments before they're set to engage, but he clears dos Santos. There's some concern of how the challenger can see with two eyes bloody and swollen. Velasquez pegs dos Santos once before taking him down. Dos Santos works for a choke off of his back, but Velasquez won't have any of it. He slides dos Santos to the cage before getting back to his feet. Velasquez dirty-boxes dos Santos for a solid minute-and-a-half before backing out. Dos Santos can't do much with the extra space. Dos Santos collapses to the ground with Velasquez. He's looking for a choke, but the champion is free. Dos Santos turtles up while Velasquez fires punches into his head. The referee mercifully ends it. Cain Velasquez retains his heavyweight championship with a TKO over Junior Dos Santos at 3:09 of the fifth round.
Fourth Round More of the same as the round opens with dos Santos crashing into the cage after Velasquez's power punches. Hard to see how much longer dos Santos can endure this, as Velasquez beats him up with another combination. Blood and sweat are coursing down the challenger's face. He's shown no offense through a minute and a half. Dos Santos hits Velasquez with a right hand when he breaks out but there's not much behind it. Dos Santos goes to an elbow after Velasquez pelts his feet with stomps. Velasquez has mangled dos Santos' face completely. The challenger's right eye is already swelling. The three elbows Velasquez lands with 1:30 to go can't help matters. Referee Herb Dean stops fight to get the doctor in the cage for dos Santos. After some evaluation, she lets the fight go on. Too bad for dos Santos, who again gets trapped against the cage. Dos Santos lands an elbow that gets the crowd to gasp but Velasquez hurts him with a left. Dos Santos keeps rubbing his eyes, perhaps in an attempt to clear the blood so he can see. Another round goes for Velasquez, who now leads 40-35 on the Sun's scorecard.
Third Round Dos Santos lets his hands go, and hits Velasquez with a couple punches until he's inevitably pressed into the cage again. Velasquez is punishing him there, kneeing while in the clinch and frequently breaking out for quick right hands. Dos Santos' face is starting to look like it did in their second fight — damaged. Dos Santos hits Velasquez with an elbow, but the champion lowers his shoulders and powers his nemesis to another part of the cage. Dos Santos breaks out and hits Velasquez again. Dos Santos' right hand is starting to work. It's been his best round, but Velasquez is still stronger with his wrestling. Sloppy exchange goes Velasquez's way and then he drops him with a left hand. Dos Santos is in trouble. Velasquez is raining punches. Dos Santos gets up stumbling. Velasquez presses him against the cage and lands several unanswered punches. He misses on a head kick, but it's clear what direction this is going. Velasquez clinches with dos Santos, giving the challenger time to recover. At least it seems. Dos Santos might be out on his feet, however, as Velasquez tees off on his chin. Dos Santos is wobbly, but the bell rings. Velasquez wins this round 10-8 to go up 30-26 on the Sun's scorecard.
Second Round Dos Santos lands a straight left, but Velasquez pounces forward with a combination. Velasquez locks up with dos Santos, briefly tipping him down. He's not giving dos Santos any room to operate. Up against the cage, Velasquez fires short punches into dos Santos' face. Dos Santos getting suupport now as the crowd chants "Cigano". Velasquez plasters him at the same time, breaking out of the clinch for both punches and kicks. Dos Santos breathes heavy as he circles around to the other side of the cage. Velasquez stays with his strategy of pressuring dos Santos. He's not getting dos Santos down, but trapping him against the cage has worked just as well. Dos Santos has no offense until he trips Velasquez to the ground. Velasquez is right up and clocks dos Santos with a right hand. Crowd gets lively again as Velasquez continues to pressure dos Santos. The Brazilian hits the champion with a right hand when given space with about 30 seconds to go. It's his best shot of the round, but not enough for the nod. Velasquez wins 10-9 again on the Sun's scorecard to go ahead 20-18.
First Round Dos Santos comes out swinging and hits Velasquez with a right hand. Velasquez takes a couple more punches before shooting for a takedown. Dos Santos gets out of the single-leg but Velasquez pressures him against the cage. Dos Santos breaks out and seemingly flings a punch a second. A couple hit Velasquez, but the champion gets out of the way of most. Velasquez gets dos Santos back in the clinch to neutralize the Brazilian's punching power. Big exchange against the cage as the two-minute mark lurks. Velasquez tries for another takedown but dos Santos uses he cage to keep him up. Velasquez lobs knees into dos Santos' leg to stay active. Velasquez finally gets dos Santos down right before the midway mark of the round. Velasquez gets out of dos Santos' half-guard and takes his back. It was a risky move for dos Santos, but he used the space to stand back up. Velasquez tries to trip dos Santos, but it doesn't work. He bounces out of the clinch to hit him with a combination. Dos Santos punches to Velasquez's body but takes a few knees in return. Velasquez wins round one on the Sun's scorecard, 10-9.
Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson
Third Round Sweat drips off of Cormier's chin and arms, but it's not affecting his pace. Cormier appears fresh as he circles around the octagon and dodges any advance from Nelson. Crowd's getting restless and starts to boo after a minute without action. Cormier pays them no mind. He does land a stiff straight right about 30 seconds later. Nelson tries to counter, but Cormier is too fast. Cormier attempts a spinning backfist that misses but a high-kick connects to Nelson's body. Nelson wins a boxing exchange midway through the round. Cormier uses kicks to keep his distance. Nelson can't close the gap. Cormier blasts Nelson with a right hand before launching forward for a takedown. Nelson gets right back up, but takes another kick to the chin shortly after. Cormier isn't hurting Nelson with the kicks, but he's surely frustrating him. Nelson drops his hands and implores Cormier to "come on". He's run out of other options. Cormier's combinations continue to score as the fight winds down. The Sun has Cormier beating Nelson 30-27.The judges award Cormier a unanimous-decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Nelson.
Second Round Both fighters stay patient for opening minute, seldomly engaging. Cormier buckles Nelson's lead leg with a big kick and starts to get looser. He lands a right hand. Nelson comes forward with a right of his own. Cormier pushes the pace with a combination around the two-minute mark. They wind up in the clinch against the cage. Cormier rocks Nelson with a left-hook and goes for a takedown. Nelson goes down for a moment, but gets up without much resistance from Cormier. They lock up against the cage. Cormier's strength is bothering Nelson, as he can't rotate positions. They trade dirty-boxing uppercuts with Cormier landing with more gusto as virtue of his position being able to give him more space. Back in the middle, Cormier throws a combination. The left hook at the end of it snaps Nelson's head back. Nelson takes more punishment, but gets Cormier off-balance with a leg kick. He fails to pounce, simply waiting for Cormier again in the middle of the cage. Cormier gets there and lands a few more strikes before the end of the round. The Sun has Cormier up 20-18 over Nelson after two rounds.
First Round No one lands anything for the first 45 seconds. Nelson swings, but Cormier ducks under and takes "Big Country" down with a single-leg. Cormier fights for position before resorting to ground-and-pound. He lets Nelson get up and attempts to take his back. Cormier continues to smother Nelson as the Las Vegas native stands up against the cage. Cormier scores another single-leg takedown, but Nelson pops up. Cormier starts to knee Nelson and one goes below the belt. The referee pauses the fight. Cormier kicks Nelson the body upon the re-start. Nelson stalks, but can't track Cormier down to land any strikes for nearly a minute. Nelson finally gets his patented right hand to hit Cormier in the temple. Cormier answers with a big combination that gets Nelson off-balance. Bell rings and Cormier wins round one, 10-9, on the Sun's scorecard.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez
Third Round Melendez jabs for the opening few seconds, keeping Sanchez at bay. When Sanchez comes in, Melendez grazes his chin with an elbow. Melendez's timing is impeccable, as every Sanchez advance is met with punishing shots. The two stand in the center of the cage and just wing big punches at each other. The crowd jumps out of their seats for a standing ovation at the spectacle. Melendez is landing with more accuracy and power, and Sanchez's bloody face tells the tale. Crowd chants for the underdog, then boos when the referee calls for the doctor to evaluate Sanchez's cut again. Melendez rests on a knee while Sanchez is checked out. Fight is allowed to continue, prompting a deafening roar. Sanchez grits his teeth and swings, but takes left hands from Melendez as punishment. Sanchez motions at Melendez to keep coming forward. Melendez is fine with that idea, as he's out-boxing him by a sufficient amoung. Sanchez finally has a moment and staggers Melendez. He drops him with a combination and follows Melendez to the ground. Sanchez tries a rear-naked choke. It's not there, so he goes to the guillotine. This is a Fight of the Year candidate. Melendez gets out and back to his feet. They re-engage and all 17,000 people in the Toyota Center are on their feet. Melendez drags Sanchez down until 30 seconds are left. They finish with a wild exchange that caps one of the best fights in UFC history. Sanchez wins the third on the Sun's scorecard 10-9, but loses 29-28 overall to Melendez.Judges agree, as Melendez defeats Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Second Round Melendez continues to be the aggressor. After Sanchez eat a couple punches, he invites Melendez forward. The former Strikeforce champion gets more tentative and slows down his approach. Melendez nails Sanchez with a right hand when they reconvene. Sanchez gets the best of a combination a minute into the round. Sweat flies off of Melendez's head as Sanchez scores again. Better round for Sanchez, until the referee stops the fight to call for the doctor to look at his cut. They wipe off some of the blood around Sanchez's eye and let the bout continue. Melendez comes strong after the restart — landing a left hook and a kick to the body. Strands of spit flow out of Sanchez's mouth as he comes forward and swings at Melendez. Most of his strikes miss, giving Melendez an opportunity to counter. Melendez blasts Sanchez with a punch when he tries to kick. Sanchez falls to the ground, though more from being off-balance than disoriented. He rushes in again at Melendez, who finds Sanchez's chin with a right hand. Melendez pieces together a combination that gets Sanchez's face gushing even more blood. Sanchez converts a takedown for all of one second before Melendez wiggles his foot free and stands up. Sanchez never stops trying to push the pace and come forward, but Melendez is thwarting everything. Another good round for Melendez, who goes ahead 20-18 on the Sun's scorecard.
First Round Melendez misses on a high kick, which Sanchez catches and takes the former Strikeforce champion down. Sanchez takes Melendez's back and tries to sink in a rear-naked choke. After a few moments of suspense, Melendez slowly walks to the other side of the cage and dumps Sanchez off. Melendez gets a combination to go against the fence for retribution. Back in the center, Melendez finds his distance with constant jabs and hooks. Sanchez locks up briefly, but Melendez gets out and blasts Sanchez some more. Sanchez shoots for a takedown, which Melendez denies midway through the round. Sanchez works his kicks, but lands nothing substantial. Melendez catches one and pushes Sanchez into the cage. Sanchez is cut around his left eye as Melendez keeps the pressure on. Sanchez is swinging heavy but Melendez is too quick to get hit. Melendez lands a combination with a minute to go, but Sanchez counters with a left hand. Bleeding more now, Sanchez comes forward and engages. The two trade much to the delight of the crowd as the round draws to a close. Melendez drops Sanchez right before the bell. Melendez takes the first round, 10-9, on the Sun's card.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Jordan
First Round Gonzaga leg kicks, but nearly loses balance after putting so much force into it. He connects with a couple jabs, and Jordan smiles at him. Gonzaga hits Jordan with a body shot. Jordan doesn't get a punch to go until 1:30 into the fight. Gonzaga immediately counters an advance and drops Jordan with an overhand right. Gonzaga follows with ground-and-pound to the downed Jordan, and the referee steps in. That's it. Gabriel Gonzaga knocks out Shawn Jordan at 1:33 of the first round.
John Dodson vs. Darrell Montague
First Round Starts with fast-paced action as expected with the 125-pounders. Dodson welcomes Montague to the octagon with a sampling of right hooks. He's not letting Montague get to him for any strikes. Dodson switches it up with a left hand, landing it right in front of the ear just like his rights. Dodson goes to his leg kicks midway through the round. He drops Montague with another right hand. When Montague gets up, Dodson slams him. Montague pops up again but Dodson puts him to the floor with a combination. The crowd is loving the resilience shown by Montague. But Dodson is teeing off, now to the body in addition to the head shots. Montague appears to recover after about 20 seconds and takes the next Dodson left hand in stride. Once wobbly on his feet, Montague has regained his bearings. He still can't hit Dodson, though, as the four-minute mark passes. Dodson knocks Montague down again with a left hand. He's out this time. John Dodson knocks out Darrell Montague at 4:13 of the first round.
Cain Velasquez is resolute. Junior dos Santos is seething.
One of them will leave the Toyota Center tonight after UFC 166 satisfied and validated. Leading up to the two best heavyweights in the world’s trilogy meeting, Dos Santos has taken exception to the constant recounting of their second fight from 10 months ago.
He knows Velasquez deserves acclaim for a dominating five-round performance at UFC 155, but feels as if everyone is ignoring what he did in the first fight. Put simply, dos Santos believes his first-round knockout at UFC on Fox 1 should carry more weight.
Velasquez has stayed characteristically reticent on the matter, but does say he believes he’s the better fighter and tonight will be the end of the rivalry.
The sold-out crowd in the country’s fourth biggest city can’t wait to find out.
With two other heavyweight bouts providing support on the pay-per-view card, which is minutes away from beginning, fans would normally expect some resulting clarity on the state of the division. But that’s probably not meant to be tonight.
Not with No. 2 ranked Daniel Cormier claiming he will drop to light heavyweight, win or lose, against No. 9 Roy Nelson. The other heavyweights facing off, Gabriel Gonzaga and Shawn Jordan, should provide excitement but are far outside of the title picture.
The lightweight class should get a more promising prospective title challenger on this night as the winner between Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez takes a step towards a shot at Anthony Pettis’ belt.
Before the UFC’s largest weight class is featured, the night will start with the smallest momentarily. Flyweights John Dodson and Darrel Montague are slotted into the pay-per-view opener.
Montague makes his UFC debut, while Dodson fights for the first time since his failed bid at Demetrious Johnson’s championship belt.
Stay tuned for round-by-round coverage, including scoring, of the UFC 166 main card and look below for results from the preliminaries.
Tim Boetsch defeated CB Dollaway by split decision (30-26, 30-26, 27-29) in a controversial middleweight bout. Dollaway appeared to easily win the first two rounds, but got a point deducted in the third for two eye pokes. That had most media members' scorecards — including the Sun's — make the fight a draw but two judges somehow awarded Boetsch every round.
Hector Lombard knocked out Nate Marquardt at 1:48 in the first round of a welterweight bout. In his debut at 170 pounds, Lombard landed successive left hands to put Marquardt on the ground where the former Bellator champion finished in rapid fashion.
Jessica Eye leapt through the air and let the tears fall. The former Bellator standout found success in her UFC debut, as Eye slipped past Sarah Kaufman by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a women's bantamweight bout. Kaufman clearly won the third by rocking Eye, who clearly out-landed her opponent in the first, so it all came down to the judges' interpretation of the second round where Eye started strong but Kaufman came on late.
K.J. Noons defeated George Sotiropolous by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a lightweight bout. A slow fight for the first two rounds with plenty of swings and misses from both fighters, it turned frantic in the third round with each landing significant strikes but Noons with more frequency.
The only native Texan on the card had his night ruined by a Russian. Adlan Amagov won his second straight fight in the UFC by knocking out T.J. Waldburger at 3:45 of the first round in a welterweight bout. Waldburger went out cold after Amagov sent him down with a left hook and followed with a barrage of punches.
"Welcome back baby," Tony Ferguson's cornerman yelled at him. In his first bout in a year-and-a-half, Ferguson submitted Mike Rio with a d'arce choke at 1:52 of the first round in a lightweight matchup. Ferguson was able to secure the choke after dropping Rio to the ground with a right hand.
Andre Fili said he cut 30 pounds in two weeks — coming up 2.5 pounds short of the featherweight limit — when given the opportunity to make his UFC debut. At least it went down as a success, as Fili knocked out Jeremy Larsen 53 seconds into the second round.
Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Dustin Pague by TKO at 4:02 of the second round in their bantamweight bout to start the night.