Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 | 6:30 p.m.
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The challenger outdrew the champion.
The UFC 155 weigh-in Friday afternoon broke with the longstanding tradition of the last man to take the scale getting the warmest welcome. Heavyweight Junior dos Santos may have elicited the loudest response, but that’s because at least half of the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena booed.
Cain Velasquez, who looks to regain his championship belt in Saturday night’s pay-per-view main event, arrived to a tidal wave of support seconds earlier. Mexican flags glided through the air and cheers serenaded the man who lost to dos Santos in 64 seconds last year.
“This is it for me,” Velasquez said while still on the stage. “I got into this sport to be the best, so I’ve got to prove it tomorrow.”
Velasquez (240) and dos Santos (239) glared at each other in an intense staredown photo after coming in at nearly identical weights.
There was a lack of holiday spirit in the attitudes of the 24 fighters, all of whom made weight, though some were feeling quite festive.
Soaring bantamweight prospect Erik Perez (136), the first fully Mexican fighter in UFC history, came out in a lucha libre mask and held a Mexican flag. Rising lightweight Michael Johnson (154) went with a New Year’s Eve theme, sporting green 2013 glasses and party hat with a horn in his mouth.
Johnson was one of two fighters UFC President Dana White had to pull back after he got in the face of opponent Myles Jury (155) and began talking trash. Johnson’s advance was tame when compared with fellow lightweight Melvin Guillard (155) who sprinted towards Jamie Varner (155) with no intentions of stopping until White put out his arms.
Guillard was angry after Varner fell ill less than two hours before they were scheduled to fight earlier this month at “The Ultimate Fighter” 16 finale and pulled out of the bout.
“Varner is (expletive) dead,” Guillard recently tweeted, “I promise that this fight is for the fans.”
Many fighters, especially short-notice replacement Costa Philippou (186) who meets Tim Boetsch (186), were unhappy that they had to spend their Christmas cutting weight and preparing for a fight instead of celebrating with their families.
But dos Santos seemed mostly pleasant. Over all of the boos, the champion cracked a smile and did his best to sway some opinions with a promise of excitement.
“I know you guys like knockouts,” dos Santos said, “so one more is coming for you.”
Check below for full results from the UFC 155 weigh-in.
Heavyweight championship bout: Junior dos Santos (239) vs. Cain Velasquez (240)
Lightweight bout: Jim Miller (156) vs. Joe Lauzon (156)
Middleweight bout: Tim Boetsch (186) vs. Costa Philippou (186)
Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami (184) vs. Alan Belcher (186)
Middleweight bout: Chris Leben (185) vs. Derek Brunson (185)
Bantamweight bout: Brad Pickett (136) vs. Eddie Wineland (135)
Bantamweight bout: Erik Perez (136) vs. Byron Bloodworth (136)
Lightweight bout: Melvin Guillard (155) vs. Jamie Varner (155)
Lightweight bout: Michael Johnson (154) vs. Myles Jury (155)
Heavyweight bout: Phil de Fries (245) vs. Todd Duffee (249)
Featherweight bout: Leonard Garcia (146) vs. Max Holloway (145)
Flyweight bout: Chris Cariaso (125) vs. John Moraga (126)