With the man who once wore that unofficial title with pride, Mike Tyson, sitting cageside, Velasquez overwhelmed Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, finishing him with strikes at 1:21 of the first round, retaining his UFC Heavyweight Championship in the process, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Velasquez had two takedown attempts stuffed in the opening seconds of the fight, but responded by showing why most think of him as a fighter without any weaknesses, as he employed his devastating striking game and TKO'ed Silva.
In the semi-main, Junior dos Santos did his part to set up a third fight with Velasquez, as he finished Mark Hunt with a devastating wheel kick.
Hunt's Rocky story was great, one that left him just one win away from a UFC title fight, but it was dos Santos, who walks to the cage to the Rocky theme song, who was clearly the better fighter.
dos Santos exhibited the striking skill that once made him the heavyweight champ, and also showed a fine ground game in picking apart Hunt, before finishing the "Super Samoan" with a crazy kick and one punch on the ground, in the final minute of a fight that he was comfortably ahead in.
Barring injury, the third Velasquez vs. dos Santos fight should take place in November or December of this year.
Earlier in the evening, TJ Grant made quick work of a very tough opponent in Gray Maynard, finishing the former top lightweight contender in just over two minutes, setting up a UFC Lightweight Championship match with Benson Henderson, a fight that could headline a pay-per-view or a network special on Fox later this year.
Main Card Results:
UFC Heavyweight Championship Bout: Cain Velasquez (c) vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva
Round 1: Silva stuffed an early takedown attempt. He stuffed another, but ate a kick to the body. Velasquez landed a big right hand that dropped Silva, then followed up with a series of unanswered shots on the ground. The referee stopped it.
Result: Cain Velasquez defeated Antonio Silva via TKO (punches) at 1:21 of round 1.
Heavyweight Bout: Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
Round 1: Leg kick from Hunt. Jab from dos Santos. dos Santos landed a big right hand, but Hunt ate it. Hunt missed with the left hand. Hunt tried to cut dos Santos off, but dos Santos danced away. dos Santos started to find his rhythm. dos Santos hit him again, Hunt missed wildly with a counter. Junior's round.
Round 2: dos Santos with a big left hand. dos Santos went to the body, then looked to finish over the top with the right hand, but Hunt was able to avoid it. Hunt ate a big right hand, then a left to the face that may have stunned him, but he kept pushing forward. Hunt showed an amazing chin here, if nothing else. dos Santos stood with his back to the fence and they traded haymakers in a great exchange before dos Santos took Hunt down. dos Santos moved to half-guard, then side control, then to a mounted crucifix before he stood and allowed Hunt back up. dos Santos landed a shot on the break as the horn sounded. Junior's round for sure, but super entertaining.
Round 3: Hunt looked gassed. He swung and missed with a right. dos Santos worked the body. Hunt continued to press forward, but dos Santos showed superior mobility. A left and a right by dos Santos. dos Santos threw a kick to the body. dos Santos with a jab and a leg kick. Hunt threw a kick, but dos Santos checked it easily. Big left hook by dos Santos. dos Santos with a huge spinning kick to the face that dropped Hunt. One punch on the ground and the referee stopped it.
Result: Junior dos Santos defeated Mark Hunt by knockout (kick, punch) at 4:18 of round 3.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira vs. James Te Huna
Round 1: Teixeira landed a shot early, but Te Huna ate it. Te Huna was handling himself well on the feet, so Teixeira took him down. Teixeira moved to half-guard. Teixeira landed some forearm shots from the top. Te Huna got back to his feet, but Teixeira tied him up, grabbed hold of his neck, took him to the ground and tapped him out with a guillotine.
Result: Glover Teixeira defeated James Te Huna via submission (guillotine) at 2:38 of round 1.
Lightweight Bout: Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant
Round 1: Left from Maynard. Big uppercut from Maynard. LEft hand by Maynard, countered with a right by Grant. Grant caught Maynard with a right. Maynard looked to escape, but Grant chased him, hitting him with knees and heavy punches. Maynard fell to the canvas, up against the fence. Grant threw some more strikes, and the referee stopped it. Impressive showing for Grant.
Result: TJ Grant defeated Gray Maynard via TKO (strikes) at 2:07 of round 1.
Lightweight Bout: Donald Cerrone vs. K.J. Noons
Round 1: Noons threw a lot of leg kicks early. Cerrone landed a solid knee strike off a sloppy takedown attempt. Cerrone landed some kicks to the body, but not much mustard on them. Cerrone with a leg kick. Noons missed with a right hook and Cerrone landed another knee to the body. Cerrone landed another kick. Clearly his round.
Round 2: Cerrone took Noons down immediately and tried to take his back, but Noons slipped out of it. Cerrone hit him with a knee on the break, however. Noons landed a right hand, his first real offensive work since the first few seconds of the fight. Spinning backfist from Noons. Noons went for a knee and Cerrone took him down with a power double. Hammerfists from Cerrone. Cerrone moved to half-guard. Cerrone could not improve his position, but seemed content to punish Noons from half-guard. Big round for Cerrone.
Round 3: Cerrone with a jab. Front kick by Cerrone. Noons looked gassed, while Cerrone looked fresh. Noons swung and missed, then started taunting Cerrone, who took him down easily with a double-leg. Cerrone landed some big elbows from guard. Noons tried to escape, but Cerrone would not allow it. Noons face became the proverbial crimson mask. Cerrone passed to half-guard with 45 seconds left in the fight. Cerrone moved to side control and landed some short punches.
Result: Donald Cerrone defeated K.J. Noons via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
Mike Pyle def. Rick Story via split decision
Dennis Bermudez def. Max Holloway via split decision
Robert Whittaker def. Colton Smith via third-round TKO
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision
Stephen Thompson def. Nah-Shon Burrell via unanimous decision
George Roop def. Brian Bowles via second-round TKO
Jeremy Stephens def. Estevan Payan via unanimous decision