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SHAWN ENNIS, MMATORCH SENIOR COLUMNIST: (8.0)
Very solid card tonight. I've been awake for most of the past 48 hours and it's starting to catch up with me, so let me just share a few things that I know:
-If you get into a slugfest with Junior dos Santos, you're going to lose.
-Frank Mir is too heavy, and that's not a good idea for a guy who doesn't have the best cardio to begin with.
-If you're trying to put together a crowd-pleasing card, put together a main card full of high-level heavyweights and give it a really good undercard to fill in the space on the pay-per-view.
-Remember when we talked last time and I said Lavar Johnson would have trouble with a grappler? Yeah, if Pat Barry almost gets you with an Americana, that's not a good sign. When the fight hit the floor, there was no question what would happen.
-Roy Nelson isn't going to be Heavyweight Champion, but he's also not going to be unemployed until he chooses to be.
-As @coachmjr said on Twitter tonight, I just wish Dave Herman was better.
-Were we talking about sketchy gas tanks? Yeah, Diego Brandao has one of those.
-Paul Sass has made a believer out of me.
-Cain Velasquez is a stone cold killer, and I think he's got a great shot against JDS in the inevitable rematch.
-I still don't know what to make of Jamie Varner beating Edson Barboza. I can't even process it. It doesn't compute to me.
I liked the heavyweight theme tonight for the main card, and I think it's a really nice idea once a year or so if you can make it work that often. Hopefully we'll be able to see something like this again, because as far as pacing and excitement, it doesn't get much better than UFC 146.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST: (9.0)
No doubt one of the best cards in a long time. Each fight was solid, plenty of finishes, and most importantly, the heavyweight only main card delivered in a big way. Roy Nelson came out swinging (literally) with a great KO, plus, a dominant win for Cain Velasquez which puts him directly in line for a chance to regain the championship title he lost last year. The event though, belongs to Junior Dos Santos. Clearly outclassing Frank Mir, and putting him away in the second round. A definitive start to his championship reign. It was a great night of fights. I can't say enough good things about the card.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR: (8.0)
Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson started with Johnson pushing Struve against the cage and ended at 1:05 of the first round with a lightening fast arm bar. Struve threw himself into guard and threw up his long legs and caught Johnson with an arm bar. Great finish to the fight and a great start to the PPV card.
Stipe Miocic vs Shane del Rosario was surprisingly exciting. I was really not expecting too much from these two and it was a fast paced and exciting fight. Del Rosario's kicks are some of the best in the heavyweight division. I have not seen him fight much before, but I was impressed by Del Rosario. Only one problem though, he is terrible on the ground. In the second round Miocic took him down and he ended the fight with some vicious ground and pound. Miocic will be a heavyweight to watch in the future.
Roy Nelson vs Dave Herman was an amazing fight that ended in a knock out by Nelson. He threw a Chuck Liddell overhand right that landed flush with Herman's chin. Nelson is always a fan favorite and gives fat guys everywhere a reason to smile. Roy Nelson deserves a top five fighter next.
The co-main event featured Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva. It was a great bloody fight that did not disappoint. Velasquez cut Silva with an elbow in the first round and the blood flowed. This was one of the bloodiest fights in UFC history. The referee, Josh Rosenthal, did a horrible job in this fight, as he let the fight go on way too long. At the end of the fight Velasquez landed 18 unanswered shots. It was just horrible officiating by Rosenthal. Cain Velasquez deserves the next shot at the UFC Heavyweight Title.
Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir was exactly the type of fight that I thought it would be. It was exciting and JDS proved why he is the greatest heavyweight on the planet. Mir tried in the first round to take JDS down and was unsuccessful. After that it was pretty much a kickboxing match that Mir could not win. JDS won by knockout and was totally dominant in his first title defense. I think this sets up a rematch between Cain Velasquez and JDS.
Good night of fights. I liked the all heavyweight format and hope that the UFC does that again.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST: (10.0)
This was a perfect fight card. The Facebook fights were awesome, the FX fights were awesome and each and every main card fight played out the way most expected. "Negative Nancy" types will obviously complain about the main card being predictable, but any time heavyweight fights end when they're supposed to and don't drag on for fifteen minutes, you should probably count your blessings.
For example, we should all be thanking our lucky stars that Lavar Johnson and Stefan Struve didn't waste any time and play "the heavyweight game." Johnson bulled Struve into the fence like he was supposed to and Struve jumped guard and submitted him like he was supposed to.
Stipe Miocic played the kickboxing game with Shane Del Resario for a round, saw that wasn't working and exposed him on the floor in the second round. Miocic really turned it on and got his opponent out of there in entertaining fashion.
Roy Nelson really didn't play around too much at all with Dave Herman and blasted him in 51 seconds. This is what people want to see with heavyweights and that's what Roy Nelson gave us.
Junior dos Santos knocking out Frank Mir was expected, but the methodical fashion in which he went about it really screamed "champion" and "star." He left absolutely nothing to chance in the fight. JDS was sniper like, picking apart Mir with single shots until he hurt him and then unloaded with combinations. Whenever Mir tried to "game" him into going to mat with him, the way that "Cigano" just laughed it off seemed like the mark of a real superstar.
The prelims were as good or better than the main card, but Jamie Varner beating Edson Barboza might make him a lock for "Comeback Fighter of the Year." He didn't just catch Barboza with a lucky punch, he really took apart a highly respected title contender.
Overall, excellent fight card. The card is definitely worth going out of your way to see.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR: (8.5)
I am quite happy to hold my hands up and admit I was wrong to ever doubt the quality of the updated UFC 146 card. I knew the fights would still be explosive with quick finishes, but the original match ups appealed to me more than those we saw tonight, simple as. Dan Hardy thankfully gets to fight another day and Paul Sass waited patiently to do what I expected of him. Both now go home with solid victories and $70,000 in their back pocket, a perfect night to be an Englishman. The timing looks good for both to be on the UFC UK card in late September. Major surprise to see Edson Barboza get beat up like he did, but fair credit to Jamie Varner for taking his opportunity like he did. I'll reserve judgement on Teixeira until he fights someone really credible, but he looked very impressive on his debut, and not everyone debuting can stake that claim.
Thoroughly enjoyed the main card, the big men certainly delivered. Stefan Struve did what he should always do against big strikers, and that's to pull guard immediately. He's been far too willing to stand and trade with big punchers, but it's never done him any real favors before. This time he absorbed what Johnson had and took it to the mat. Look what happens when you play to your own strengths, simple logic. Miocic looked good. Nelson did what was expected and fortunately for him, never broke sweat. Velasquez looked superb and he has to be the next contender for a rematch with JDS. Watching Silva receive constant vicious blows, without the ability to see any of them, was brutal but I loved every second of it. JDS again did what we all expected and Mir never stood a chance. One early failed takedown attempt was pretty much all it took for Mir to realize he wasn't going home victorious tonight. Overall a very enjoyable 12 fight card with plenty for everyone so I am going to sleep happy this morning.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: (8.5)
I'll have some extended thoughts on the card in an event notebook in the morning, but this was an immensely entertaining night of fights. The viciousness on display by Cain Velasquez and the intelligent Championship performance put forth by Junior dos Santos capped off a great night of fights, but that wasn't all there was on the card, either.
The prelims featured a few surprising upsets, most notably Jamie Varner's incredible return in a first round stoppage of Edson Barboza. It was a hugely legitimizing win in his return, and an absolutely shocking result considering the recent histories of both men.
Add to that three more fun heavyweight fights, Paul Sass adding another triangle win to his record, Glover Teixeira's excellent UFC debut, and more, and this was an awesome night of fights.
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