Darryl Dyck / AP
Published Saturday, June 11, 2011 | 8:44 p.m.
Updated Saturday, June 11, 2011 | 10:14 p.m.
Dana White UFC 131 Fireside Chat
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Watch out, Cain Velasquez. Junior dos Santos is coming for the UFC heavyweight belt.
Dos Santos thoroughly dispatched Shane Carwin in a title eliminator billed as UFC 131’s main event Saturday at Rogers Arena with Velasquez watching from the first row. Dos Santos had Carwin on the verge of a TKO in the first round, but ultimately won a unanimous decision by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
“He had awesome stand-up like he had in all of his fights,” Velasquez said. “He’s always improving.”
Velasquez came into the octagon after the fight to make the announcement official — only after dos Santos offered him a warning.
“Much respect for Cain Velasquez,” dos Santos said. “But Cain, I’m coming for you.”
The co-main event also went to the judges. Kenny Florian grinded his way to a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over Diego Nunes.
Florian out-wrestled and took Nunes down enough in the final two rounds to emerge victorious. It was his featherweight debut and he notched a victory in his fourth different weight class.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Florian said. “It was very, very difficult.”
In the final featured bout at the event, Mark Munoz beat Demian Maia via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28). The judges sided with Munoz in what was the closest fight of the evening.
Maia dominated the first round, but Munoz recovered to take the second and the third looked like a toss-up. The victory catapults Munoz into the top tier of middleweights and possibly couple fights away from a title shot.
Dave Herman won a heavyweight battle between two newcomers when he scored a second round TKO victory over Jon Olav Einemo. Einemo and Herman engaged in a war that had fans drooling. But it ended when Herman got Einemo on the ground and pounded him away.
Donald Cerrone kicked his way to victory in the opening bout of the main card. Cerrone defeated Vagner Rocha via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-26. “Cowboy” landed so many leg kicks that Rocha could barely walk out of the octagon after the bout.
Check lasvegassun.com/fighting for full coverage from UFC 131.
Here are the undercard results:
Sam Stout got the knockout he craved in a lightweight bout against Yves Edwards. Stout countered an Edwards punch with an overhand left at 3:52 of the first round for the win. Stout has fought 11 times in the UFC, but this was his first win via stoppage.
Middleweight up-and-comer Chris Weidman submitted Jesse Bongfeldt at 4:54 of the first round. Weidman, now 6-0, won with a rarely-used standing guillotine. He said he popped his meniscus during the bout, but fought through the pain.
Krzysztof Soszynski won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) in a light heavyweight bout over Mike Massenzio. Soszysnki apologized to his partisan crowd afterward for not finishing, but Massenzio played it safe and wrestled the whole time. It made for an unexciting fight, but was understandable from Massenzio. He took the contest on five days notice in a heavier weight class.
Nick Ring kept his undefeated record intact with a third round submission win over James Head in their middleweight bout. Ring, a Canadian who received a nice ovation from the crowd, sunk in a rear naked choke at 3:33 of the third round. It came after eight minutes of sheer dominance, as Ring had Head bleeding profusely and barely hanging on from the beginning of the second round.
Featherweights Dustin Poirier and Jason Young went the distance in their preliminary bout. Poirier won a hard-fought unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Young. The 22-year-old has now won three in a row.
UFC veteran heavyweight Joey Beltran scored a third round TKO over promotion newcomer Aaron Rosa. It came 1:26 into the round when Rosa looked unable to defend himself against Beltran’s ground-and-pound strikes. Tempers flared before a winner emerged in this one. Beltran hit Rosa with an accidental illegal groin shot. Rosa appeared to retaliate a minute later, and Beltran also landed a punch after the final bell in the second round.
Darren Elkins defeated Michihiro Omigawa via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in their featherweight bout. The judges apparently could look past the two deep cuts on Elkins’ face to award him the victory based on technique. It was a close fight that could have gone either way, but Omigawa leaves still winless in the UFC. He’s 0-4 over two stints with the promotion.