UFC 146 Results: 5 Fights to Make After Dos Santos vs. Mir
We weren't sure if the UFC's grand all-heavyweight experiment would deliver, but I think it's safe to say it did exactly that. In fact, it delivered in spades with one of the fastest pay per view cards in promotion history.
All five PPV fights ended in the first or second round, and all ended by knockout or submission. That's a far cry from the boring wrestle-fests many fans feared when the concept was first unveiled.
Hell, I'm not ashamed to admit that the card unfolded completely different than I thought it would. And that's a good thing, because UFC 146 should ultimately go down as one of the best cards of the year.
But now, it's time to take a look at what's next for some of the bigger stars of last Saturday's awesome event. Join me, will you?
JUNIOR DOS SANTOS: Faces Cain Velasquez
Yeah, yeah. We already saw this fight back in November, and we all saw how it turned out the first time around. But you'd better listen to my pitch anyway, because this fight is happening whether you like it or not.
Yes, Dos Santos knocked Velasquez out, at least technically. But in reality, the punch that ended Cain's night (and sent him wobbling to the canvas) was the dreaded old shot behind the ear. Those kinds of punches don't even have to be thrown with force to knock someone dizzy, and that's exactly what happened to Velasquez. I won't call it a lucky punch because there's no such thing, but it was just about as close as you can come.
These two heavyweights are leaving everyone else in the division in the dust. I'm excited to see the rematch. How about you?
FRANK MIR: Faces Antonio Silva
The ideal next fight for Mir would obviously be Brock Lesnar. They're still 1-1 against each other, and Lesnar's recent sojourn to Las Vegas to see the main event of UFC 146 still has fans buzzing. We never got to complete the trilogy, and that's the obvious direction to take if Lesnar comes back.
But let's be real, if only for a second: We still don't know what Lesnar is up to. From sources I've talked with close to the situation, Lesnar is essentially attempting to pit the UFC against the WWE in an effort to gain better negotiating leverage. I don't think he actually wants to fight again, but he'll do so if it allows him to make a crazy amount of money. That's how he's always been, and I suspect his very public appearance at the MGM Grand last Saturday night had a little something to do with it.
So let's keep Lesnar out of the picture for now. What's next for Mir? Why not Antonio Silva? Both of them were battered by their opponents at UFC 146, which kinda puts them in the same general space in the division. I don't know how intriguing the actual fight would be, but I'm not offended by the idea, and I think that's a good start.
STEFAN STRUVE: Faces Stipe Miocic
I still have a tough time believing that Stefan Struve is just 24 years old. Dude's had 11 fights in the UFC! 11!
His young age means that, despite the amount of time he's spent in the UFC, Struve is still a fighter in progress. We saw a big leap forward in his cage intelligence on Saturday night; rather than get sucked into the kind of slugfests that have caused him problems in the past, Struve elected to immediately take the fight the one place he knew Johnson couldn't compete with him.
By doing the largest guard pull in UFC history and immediately submitting Johnson with an armbar, Struve showed that he's maturing as a fighter. And what better next opponent than another fighter who, though he may not have nearly as many fights in the UFC as Struve, is also growing right before our eyes.
Stipe Miocic tried to strike with Shane Del Rosario, but once he realized it was a bad idea, he immediately put Del Rosario on his back, giving him a major advantage over the Strikeforce import. Much like Struve, that intelligence also earned him a win.
I'd like to see this pair face off. Miocic favors his wrestling, and he'd have to be careful against Struve — an excellent grappler with a very long frame — on the ground. It's an interesting style matchup.
ROY NELSON: Faces Mark Hunt
On paper, Roy Nelson vs. Mark Hunt is a terrible matchup for Hunt. If Nelson elected to take the fight to the ground, it would be over in short order.
But in my head, this fight would be awesome. And knowing Nelson, he'd probably choose to stand and trade punches with Hunt until one of them keels over.
Both of them throw leather as hard as anyone else in the division. They may just have the best two chins in the division as well. That's a recipe for one hell of an exciting fight.
JAMIE VARNER: Faces Donald Cerrone
I never thought I'd type the words I'm about to type, but here we go: Jamie Varner, in my mind, was one of the biggest stars coming out of UFC 146.
Varner, long since left for dead by Zuffa and MMA fans around the world, took a fight with the undefeated Edson Barboza on short notice. He wasn't expected to survive the first round.
But Varner didn't just survive the first round; he crushed Barboza in the first, winning by knockout. The former WEC lightweight champion utterly dominated the hyped Brazilian and turned a crowd that was completely against him at the outset of the fight in his favor by the end.
It was an emotional moment and one of the coolest things I witnessed on the card. And now, for Varner's next trick, I suggest we go back to an old rivalry from the WEC days and complete his trilogy with Donald Cerrone.
Sure, Cerrone is much higher in the pecking order than Varner at the moment. But that doesn't matter when you have deep hatred between two fighters. The history between Cerrone and Varner is an easy story to sell, and both guys have the personality to turn this into a featured bout. And if Varner is actually back, for real this time, he'll have the skills to make it a competitive fight with his long-time nemesis.
You can't tell me you aren't interested in seeing these two tangle for a third time. I sure am.