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UFC 155 blog: Cain Velasquez takes belt back from Junior dos Santos

Jim Miller beats Joe Lauzon in Fight of the Year candidate

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Steve Marcus

Cain Velasquez, right, connects with a punch that staggers heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos during the first round of their heavyweight title bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Velasquez took back the title by unanimous decision.

Updated Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 | 10:18 p.m.

Velasquez Reclaims Title in UFC 155

Cain Velasquez holds up the championship belt after defeating Junior Dos Santos during a heavyweight title bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Velasquez reclaimed the belt by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »
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Costa Philippou of Long Island, N.Y. wrestles with Tim Boetsch of Sunbury, Penn. during a middleweight bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Philippou won by third round TKO.

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Yushin Okami, top, of Japan takes an elbow from Alan Belcher of Biloxi, Miss. during a middleweight bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.

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Chris Leben, left, of Oahu, Hawaii is taken down by Derek Brunson of Wilmington, N.C. during a middleweight bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Brunson won by unanimous decision.

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Melvin Guillard, left, of Boca Raton, Fla. fights with Jamie Varner of Dobson Shores, Ariz. in a preliminary lightweight during UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Varner won the bout by split decision.

UFC 155 Weigh-in

Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez face off during the weigh-in for UFC 155, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez at UFC155 News Conference

UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, left, of Brazil and Cain Velasquez of San Jose, Calif. pose during a news conference at the MGM Grand Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. UFC president Dana White looks on at center. Dos Santos will defend the title against Velasquez at UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday . Launch slideshow »

Note: Full results from the preliminary card available at the bottom of the page.

UFC events come and go. Some fade into oblivion, mostly indistinguishable from several that came before and more that will come after. Others going down in history as monumental moments for mixed martial arts.

Saturday's UFC 155 will definitely fall into the latter category.

The annual New Year's Eve weekend card at MGM Grand Garden Arena will be remembered as the night Cain Velasquez won back his heavyweight title; the night Velasquez turned the tables and dominated Junior dos Santos in a rematch of a fight he lost in 2011.

Velasquez dropped dos Santos in the first round and never looked back, beating the champion by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43) to take back a belt he lost when dos Santos knocked him out 64 seconds into UFC on Fox 1.

"It feels very good," an overwhelmed Velasquez said while still in the octagon. "I just got better. That's the name of the game."

The way Velasquez repeatedly took down dos Santos wasn't a total surprise. Velasquez was a championship-caliber wrestler in college at Arizona State. What no one saw coming was the way Velasquez out-manned dos Santos on the feet.

One of the UFC's best strikers, it was just earlier this year that dos Santos was claiming he could out-box a Klitschko brother. On this night, it was Velasquez who out-boxed dos Santos.

"This fight was the toughest I've ever been through," Velasquez said. "I just pushed through."

The two fights in the co-main event were probably thinking the same. Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a lightweight bout that had some whispering Fight of the Year.

Miller opened a large cut on Lauzon's forehead in the first round, but the grappling ace rallied back to nearly submit Miller in the second and third rounds. But Miller's striking and wrestling was too much in the end.

"I knew I was going to have to bring my best effort to put him away and I was never able to," Miller said. "That’s how good he is on the ground."

Three middleweights moved up in the rankings with victories to open the main card. Costa Philippou, Yushin Okami and Derek Brunson notched meaningful but somewhat uneventful victories against Tim Boetsch, Alan Belcher and Chris Leben, respectively.

Look below for round-by-round coverage of the UFC 155 main card and results from the preliminary card. Check back later for full coverage of UFC 155.

Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez

Fifth Round Velasquez shoots for a takedown but can't complete it. Dos Santos lands an uppercut. Velasquez is still pursuing the takedown as hard as he can, but dos Santos' defense is strong. Velasquez uppercuts instead and dos Santos answers. Dos Santos throws a complete haymaker after another failed takedown attempt. Luckily for Velasquez, it's off. They clinch up for a while until dos Santos gets out. Velasquez gets dos Santos down eventually anyway. He smothers the champion with two minutes to go. Not a lot of action in this final round, but Velasquez is doing what he needs to do. Dos Santos keeps covering up. Velasquez takes his back. This might be his last chance to finish the fight. Not happening, as dos Santos works his way to his feet. Velasquez keeps up the pressure — pushing dos Santos into the fence. Crowd rises to cheer with 45 seconds to go. Dos Santos swings for the fences, but it's Velasquez who lands a big strike with a head kick. Then they clinch back up. Dos Santos is straight beat up as his face is swollen. Velasquez fires another uppercut. Dos Santos nearly falls over from pressure as bell rings. Velasquez has gotten his title back — a 50-43 shutout on this card. Cain Velasquez defeats Junior dos Santos by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43).

Fourth Round Dos Santos hits Velasquez with a left and gets away from a takedown attempt. Dos Santos hurts Velasquez with a counter right. Velasquez continues to charge forward, however, with a jab followed by a leg kick. They clinch up and Velasquez's dirty-boxing scores before dos Santos throws to the stomach to push Velasquez away. Velasquez puts dos Santos down again. He feeds a knee into the champion's body. Both look tired now, but Velasquez's strikes are still landing. Dos Santos swings so hard with an elbow that he nearly falls down. Velasquez takes the champion down again. This is domination. Velasquez strings together a body-body-head combination that rocks dos Santos. The champion circles. He's wobbly, especially after another Velasquez uppercut. But he stays up. Dos Santos fires a combination that misses. Both guys are tired now, but Velasquez is moving quicker. Velasquez presses dos Santos against the fence. Dos Santos lands a right hand when they break out. He's losing badly, but this might be dos Santos' best round yet. He stuffs a single-leg takedown attempt with 20 seconds to go. Velasquez will only need to hold on for five more minutes as he leads 40-34 through four rounds.

Third Round Velasquez stalks dos Santos, who does land to the body. Velasquez converts on the first takedown attempt of the round, though. Dos Santos gets up when Velasquez tries to get on his back. They're clinched against the cage with Velasquez dirty-boxing when he can. He's keeping constant pressure on the champion. Dos Santos jabs Velasquez, who counters with a right hand that was the biggest punch landed since when he dropped the champion in the first one. Dos Santos, with his back against the wall, fires an elbow into Velasquez. One of dos Santos' eyes is swollen. He doesn't look like he has much left as Velasquez hurts him with a right hand. Then a left and an uppercut from the challenger. Dos Santos knees Velasquez, who answers with a combination that nearly drops dos Santos along the fence. Dos Santos almost looks out on his feet. A left hand from dos Santos lets Velasquez know he's still alive. Velasquez tosses dos Santos to the ground, but they pop up. Dos Santos elbows Velasquez to the jaw. A 1-2 combination keeps the attack up for Velasquez. Dos Santos lands to the body, but there's nothing behind it. Velasquez wins another round to go up 30-25.

Second Round Velasquez rocks dos Santos again with a right hand. He picks up the champion and dumps him on the ground. He looks for a rear-naked choke, but dos Santos wisely rolls over to get away. Velasquez takes dos Santos' back again. But Dos Santos uses his strength to get to his feet — for a second. Velasquez slams dos Santos to the ground seconds later. Dos Santos gets up with 3:30 to go and he really wants to work his boxing. Velasquez backs him into the fence. Then, he dumps dos Santos on his back with a double-leg. Dos Santos has no answer for this wrestling. Chants of "Mexico" are filling up the arena. Dos Santos gets back up, but Velasquez uses the opportunity to knee him in the stomach. Dos Santos looks gassed as Velasquez puts him down again. He's breathing hard as Velasquez rains punches. Dos Santos tries to push Velasquez off, but the former champion attempts a kimura. Dos Santos is out and gets to his feet. Velasquez nails him with a right hand. Velasquez can't get dos Santos to the ground for perhaps the first time this round. Referee warns dos Santos to not grab the fence. Velasquez breaks out of the clinch to throw a combination. Velasquez completely dominated another round to get a 10-8 score. He's up 20-16.

First Round Velasquez goes forward first, but misses with his punches. Dos Santos swings, but Velasquez takes him down. Dos Santos pops right back up. Velasquez shoots for another takedown. Dos Santos gets away from this one. It's all Velasquez when it comes to aggression early. He's already lasted longer than the first time. The crowd seems split, as dos Santos escapes a single-leg takedown. Velasquez leg-kicks and fires a right into dos Santos' chin. Velasquez misses on another takedown attempt. He lands a jab. He's not allowing dos Santos room to operate. Dos Santos face is already a little red from a bunch of jabs from Velasquez. Dos Santos slips away from another takedown attempt and lands a right hook. Velasquez could be in trouble with dos Santos finding his rhythm. Dos Santos lands a left hand behind the ear, reminiscent of the shot that knocked out Velasquez except that one didn't land near as cleanly. Velasquez uppercuts from the clinch. He fires a legkick when they break out. Velasquez strings together a combination against the fence. He knocks dos Santos down with a right hand. Dos Santos might be finished. He stands up, but Velasquez drags him down. Velasquez has dos Santos' back and is burying him with punches. Dos Santos covers. He's taking punishment from the challenger. Dos Santos gets tripped upon standing back up. Velasquez is really hurting him. Velasquez gets in side control and keeps hitting the champion. It's a huge first round for Velasquez, who goes up 10-8.

UFC 155: Miller Defeats Lauzon

Jim Miller of Whippany, N.J. kicks Joe Lauzon of Bridgewater, Mass. during the first round of a lightweight bout UFC155 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. Miller defeated Lauzon by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon

Third Round Miller knocks Lauzon with a right hand. Lauzon's shorts have changed from white to red from all the blood. A legkick from Miller sends Lauzon to the ground. Perhaps Lauzon was just trying to lure Miller into his world where he can try submissions. If so, it didn't work. The referee motions him up. Miller scores with a combination and follows with a knee. Miller is trying to throw elbows, but Lauzon is blocking them. Lauzon takes a kick to the stomach. Miller keeps coming forward, laying the pressure on Lauzon. Lauzon appears to stagger Miller with a right hand. Miller backs up and regains some composure. He fires a right hook that gets Lauzon's cut bleeding again. After Lauzon's brief moment of triumph, Miller has stormed back to dominate for more than a minute. Lauzon finally lands a jab to get back to scoring. He's got a minute to make this interesting. Lauzon clinches up, but Miller punishes him with a right hand when they break out. Lauzon flies in, but Miller counters. They lock up in the middle of the cage before Lauzon desperately breaks out. Lauzon grabs a hold of Miller's leg and pulls guard. He's trying to sink in a heel hook. It's not there, but he tries a last minute choke that looks like it has a chance. Bell rings and Miller is saved. Lauzon finished strong, but Miller earned another round in a bout that's the Fight of the Night to this point. Miller beats Lauzon 30-27 on the Sun's scorecard. Jim Miller defeats Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Second Round A deafening roar welcomes the fighters back for another round. Miller tees off on Lauzon, who looks to cover up as an uppercut connects to his chin. Miller swarms and gets Lauzon down. Miller is in Lauzon's guard. Lauzon looks to start playing with his submissions, but Miller isn't giving him an inch. Miller throws his legs over and gets into full mount on Lauzon. He misses with a big elbow, and it's scary to think what more could happen to Lauzon. He's already as bloody as any fighter in recent memory. Lauzon sweeps and puts Miller on his back. The crowd awakes to cheer the reversal. A few seconds later, the referee pauses the fight and orders the tape on Lauzon's glove to be cut off. It was hanging down because of all the blood. They re-start with Lauzon still in position. Miller looks for a triangle choke, and Lauzon picks him up and slams him. Miller is very active off of his back, trying for any submission he can find. Lauzon lands an elbow. Miller scrambles and Lauzon grabs a hold of his heel. He's got a heel hook, but Miller pops out. What suspense. Bell rings and they'll come back for another round. Miller takes another 10-9 to go up 20-18.

First Round They trade jabs to get going. Miller and Lauzon are alternating who comes forward. Miller lands a few more punches in the opening 30 seconds. Lauzon finds his range and goes to the body. Miller counters with a right hand and a kick across the body that hurts Lauzon. Miller's got something extra on his punches tonight as a right hand stuns Lauzon right before a kick does the same. They clinch up and Miller rocks Lauzon with an uppercut. Lauzon returns the favor and they are back in the middle. This is high-energy so far. Lauzon hits with a standing elbow. Lauzon is stumbling after a big right hand from Miller. He continues to hurt Lauzon with strikes and opens a big cut with an accidental headbutt against the fence. The fight is paused, but allowed to go on. Lauzon is bloody. Miller is looking for the finish now with a bunch of big swings. He knees Lauzon to the face and then hits him with a head kick. Miller now has a fair share of Lauzon's blood covering him. He rocks Lauzon in the mouth. Lauzon answers with a knee to the body that makes the crowd gasp. Both of these fighters have shown off their toughness. But Miller has done more with his skills as a kick to the face puts Lauzon on his back. Lauzon gets up, but his face is pure blood on one side as Miller rockets an elbow in. The doctor may not allow this one to go on after the first one. Miller looks like a redhead with all of Lauzon's blood. Memorable first round that ends with a standing ovation. Miller is ahead 10-9.

Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou

Third Round Reports are circulating that Boetsch has a broken hand. That's not to mention the cut on his forehead and now a black eye. But he's still in this. A takedown attempt fails from Boetsch, as Philippou sprawls and then jumps on top of Boetsch, who is on his knees. Philippou lets Boetsch up without any resistance. He's really bloody now and goes back to the ground. He cringes at Philippou's ground-and-pound. Philippou makes Boetsch get back to his feet. Boetsch is covered in blood and has nothing left. The referee waves off the fight. Costa Philippou defeats Tim Boetsch by TKO at 2:11 of the third round.

Second Round They circle before Boetsch lands a left hand behind Philippou's ear. Philippou connects with a kick, but Boetsch uses the opportunity to pressure Philippou into the cage. They break out momentarily and Boetsch grazes Philippou with an uppercut. A cut has opened on Boetsch's forehead. But he continues to be more the more aggressive one with another takedown attempt. Philippou lands a short uppercut but Boetsch counters with a stiff overhand right. Boetsch lands another front kick. Philippou jabs and starts to work his combinations, but he's not landing with much power. An inadvertent eye-poke from Philippou stops the fight. Here comes the doctor to check out Boetsch. He's able to keep fighting. Boetsch attacks again, but Philippou answers with a right hand. Boetsch looks for a couple takedowns that he can't get. Philippou pounces on Boetsch while he's still down to take top position. Philippou works ground-and-pound to both the body and head. He elbows Boetsch who turtles up. Boetsch lands one punch from his back, but Philippou answers with a slew more. The cut on Boetsch's forehead is open more now after an elbow from Philippou, who may have taken the round late. It's 19-19 going into the third.

First Round They touch gloves and Boetsch comes forward immediately. He ducks under one of Philippou's hooks and shoots for a takedown. Instead of getting him down, Boetsch just clinches up with Philippou. He knees the boxer and throws in a couple foot stomps. Boetsch puts Philippou to the ground. The next 30 seconds bring more of the same, with Philippou now up but getting pressed into the fence by Boetsch. Philippou escapes when Boetsch tries to get him into a Thai clinch for a knee to the head. Boetsch legkicks and Philippou counters with a jab in the middle of the cage. Boetsch sprints forward with a combination. Philippou circles. Boetsch jabs, but Philippou counters with an uppercut that sends sweat spraying across the octagon. That was a big shot for Philippou. Boetsch rebounds with a double-leg takedown. He punches Philippou to the side for a while before the referee stands them up. Both fighters swing wildly with 30 seconds to go. Philippou catches Boetsch with a few hooks. Boetsch knocks Philippou down with a kick to the chin, but the end of the round prevents him from doing more. Boetsch wins the first, 10-9.

Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher

Third Round Belcher lands a Superman punch to the top of Okami's head. He then drops Okami with a left hand. Okami pops right back up, but this fight isn't quite over. They exchange before locking up momentarily. Okami trips Belcher, who transitions to top position. Belcher gets in mount right away, then takes a desperate Okami's back. It's not a good position for the fighter who's up 2-0 on rounds. Okami stands up, and Belcher swings around for a guillotine attempt. Okami gets out with no trouble and takes Belcher down. He elbows Belcher to the face. The boos are getting louder than ever as Okami continues to suffocate Belcher but not throw much offense. But Belcher can't get out. He's flopping his legs and trying everything he can, but Okami begins to throw ground-and-pound. Referee warns him not to go to the back of the head. Okami transitions to take Belcher's back, and he may have just taken control of a round that looked like Belcher's early. Okami lands one big ground-and-pound punch before the bell. Okami shuts out Belcher, 30-27, on the Sun's scorecard. Yushin Okami defeats Alan Belcher by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Second Round Belcher kicks and jabs, but Okami presses forward with a combination. Then he gets Belcher against the fence. Belcher is dirty-boxing, but Okami tosses him down. Okami is on the bottom and tries to get up. Belcher gets his neck and looks for a guillotine. It's practically a replay of the first round, but on the other side of the cage. Okami pops out and he's now on top. Seems like he's stalling as nothing happens for nearly two minutes until the referee stands them up. Belcher hits Okami with a right hand. He front-kicks to the body afterwards. Okami lands a combination and tries for a single-leg takedown. Belcher stays up for about 30 seconds before Okami's persistence pays off. Okami smothers Belcher in front of a restless crowd. The referee stands them up even faster this time, to the delight of both Belcher and the fans. Belcher will need to do something dramatic in the third round, because he's down 20-18 to Okami through two.

First Round They touch gloves and Belcher immediately starts bouncing and throwing jabs. Looks like he wants to keep the pace high. He throws a head kick that Okami checks, but lands a leg kick. Okami is keeping his hands up and not letting many of Belcher's strikes through. Belcher falls Okami ducks under a leg kick. Okami pushes him against the cage. Belcher takes a couple knees to the body. Okami throws Belcher down, but he's the one on his back. Belcher gets Okami's neck and looks for a guillotine but gives up his top position to do so. Okami's out and now working ground-and-pound on Belcher, who's wrapped around the man who beat him once already six years ago. Okami is looking to get into side control from Belcher's half-guard. He converts with a little more than a minute to go. Okami fires an elbow, but Belcher isn't giving him much space with his hands wrapped around Okami's neck. Belcher looks to sweep, but Okami jabs to the body. Okami tries to take Belcher's back, but time is up. Okami wins the first round 10-9.

Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

Third Round They're both kicking to open the final frame. Neither Brunson nor Leben is establishing much offense. Brunson lunges forward with a jab and then a takedown. Leben shoos him away. Leben fires a knee into Brunson during his next takedown attempt, but the fight goes to the floor. Leben elbows from his back. Brunson lets him up but unleashes a knee on the way. Brunson hits Leben with a left hand. Leben swings and misses; Brunson trots to the other side of the cage. They're standing in the pocket and exchanging now but they aren't packing much behind their punches. The slight exception comes when Leben hits with a right hand. He nearly chops Brunson down with a leg kick. Brunson takes a deep breath and looks at the clock again. It's obvious he's drained. Boos take over the arena as Leben backs Brunson down for a jab. Leben is supplying the pressure, but it might be too late. He semi-rocks Brunson with a couple right hands, but then gets taken down. That takedown should secure this one. They're back up after Leben hits Brunson repeatedly from his back. Bell rings and Brunson collapses to the mat in celebration. He was so lackadaisical in the third round that Leben wins it 10-9 on striking. But Bruson wins 29-28 on the Sun's scorecard. Derek Brunson defeats Chris Leben by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Second Round Leben lands a shot to the body and follows it with a jab. Brunson retreats, looking uncomfortable on the feet against the UFC veteran. Brunson shoots for a double-leg takedown, but Leben crashes into the fence to stay upright. Brunson keeps trying, but he can't get Leben down. Leben counters a lethargic hook from Brunson with a big shot. Brunson explodes into a double-leg and Leben is once again on his back. Leben is firing jabs from his back, but Brunson is able to get more behind his punches from the top. Leben gets up and Brunson looks for a guillotine. Not for long, as they are back in the middle of the cage. Brunson works some of his striking, peppering Leben with a combination. It's a closer round halfway through. Both fighters are taking deep breaths. Leben whips a leg kick against Brunson's shin. Brunson scores with a right cross. He clinches back up with Leben. They're along the fence. Leben blocks a kick from Brunson when they go back to the middle. Leben isn't getting much power behind his punches, but hits Brunson with an uppercut. Brunson fails on a takedown attempt. He glances up at the clock. 20 seconds remaining. Leben wings a right hand that lands. It was a dull round with both fighters looking tired, but Brunson takes a close one 10-9.

First Round Leben rocks back and forth, more than ready to fight for the first time in more than a year. Brunson strikes first with a kick that Leben checks and a jab. Leben catches Brunson's next kick and clinches with the former Strikeforce fighter. Brunson dumps Leben on his back. Leben is flopping around, trying to get to his feet, but Brunson keeps his top position. Leben looks for a triangle, but takes a few shots to the face as a punishment. "The Crippler" momentarily locks in an armbar that looks like it has a chance, but Brunson gets out. A couple of elbows from Brunson slide across Leben's forehead. Leben isn't taking much damage, but he's in trouble. Brunson moves from side control to mount. He's blasting Leben with right hands. Then there's a particularly brutal elbow across the face. Leben still can't get out from under Brunson as the round hits the one-minute remaining mark. Leben tastes a few hammerfists. Leben slides to the fence and works his way to his feet. But Brunson keeps the pressure on, pushing him against the fence. They finally break out, but the bell rings. Brunson goes up 10-9.

Pre-main card

It’s the man who delivered the most significant punch in recent UFC history against the man who absorbed it in the headlining match of tonight’s pay-per-view card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Junior dos Santos memorably ended the heavyweight championship reign of Cain Velasquez prematurely in November 2011 when he knocked the belt-holder out in 64 seconds with a right hand.

That’s how the UFC got to this point, where it’s staging the first rematch in a heavyweight championship bout since Brock Lesnar defeated Frank Mir at UFC 100.

Velasquez looks to get back the heavyweight championship belt he never defended in the main event of UFC 155. Dos Santos tries to state his case as to why he’s the fighter, and not Velasquez as so many expected two years ago, who’s capable of becoming the first dominant champion in the history of the heavyweight division.

No one has ever defended the UFC’s most prized strap more than twice. Dos Santos would tie Brock Lesnar, Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture with two defenses by beating Velasquez tonight.

It won’t come easy. Unlike the first fight, Velasquez says he’s 100 percent healthy. He fought with an injured knee in the bout with dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1.

No one has ever successfully taken dos Santos down, but Velasquez could break the streak with undoubtedly the best wrestling in the heavyweight division. Velasquez has finished all but one opponent by TKO in his career, usually with his heavy ground-and-pound strikes.

Velasquez lands 17.2 strikes per minute with 7.47 of them counting as significant, both the highest rates in UFC history. But dos Santos holds records of his own. Among them are the Brazilian’s claim to being the most accurate puncher in heavyweight history with 47 percent of his strikes connecting.

Only two of dos Santos’ fights, wins over Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson, have ever gone to the judges’ scorecards.

Several other orders of business must be sorted out before the heavyweights slug away in the octagon, including what feels like Extreme Makeover: Middleweight Division Edition.

Three straight 185-pound fights take place kick off the main card, all with important implications. Veteran Chris Leben returns in the opener against Strikeforce import Derek Brunson.

Yushin Okami and Alan Belcher rematch after the Japanese judoka beat “The Talent” in his UFC debut six years ago down the street at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Finally, Tim Boetsch and Costa Philippou do battle. Both middleweights have won four in a row.

The co-main event features always-game lightweights Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon warming up the crowd for dos Santos vs. Velasquez II.

Stay tuned for a round-by-round live blog of the main card and look below for full results from the preliminary card.

Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett by split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29) in a bantamweight bout. Wineland rocked Pickett several times in the first and looked close to finishing "One Punch", but was slowed midway through the second round when a cut opened beneath his right eye.

Bantamweight prospect Erik Perez warmed up the largely Mexican crowd ahead of Velasquez taking the octagon in the main event. Perez knocked out Byron Bloodworth at 3:50 of the first round with a right hand followed by ground-and-pound strikes.

An exciting lightweight fight concluded with some memorably strange scorecards, asJamie Varner beat Melvin Guillard by split decision (30-27, 30-27, 27-30). Varner appeared to clearly win the third round, taking Guillard down repeatedly and even slamming him on his head in the final seconds. Guillard was more efficient in the second, rocking Varner with a headkick and a combination.

In a fight between two of the most highly regarded training camps on opposite coasts, Alliance MMA and the Pacific came out on top. San Diego-based Myles Jury upset Miami-based Michael Johnson, who is part of the Blackzilians team. Jury out-wrestled Johnson en route to a unanimous decision where he won every round on every judges' scorecard.

Well, that return went according to plan. In his first UFC performance in nearly three years, heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee knocked out Phil de Fries at 2:04 of the first round with a combination. Duffee came back from an early takedown and some harsh ground-and-pound from de Fries.

Boos filled the arena and the men in the red corner threw up their hands in disbelief. Controversy struck in the second fight of the night when Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a featherweight bout. It was a close fight with both men landing their share of haymakers through 15 minutes.

John Moraga submitted Chris Cariaso with a guillotine choke at 1:11 of the third round in a flyweight bout. It was a close fight to that point, but Moraga's power was clearly affecting Cariaso when he landed.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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  1. You're right. I've changed it. Apologies. Thoughts get jumbled writing all of this live sometimes.