Published Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 | 7 p.m.
Updated Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 | 9:55 p.m.
- Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone can’t wait to fight each other
- UFC 141 weigh-in: Heavyweight giants set to battle at Friday night fight card
- Return of Brock Lesnar looms large for UFC
- UFC 141 breakdown, betting odds and picks
- Breaking down UFC 141 meeting between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem
- UFC 141’s Jacob Volkmann on the rise
- UFC 141: An overview of the upcoming card in Las Vegas
- Alistair Overeem granted conditional fight license after missing drug test
- Alistair Overeem, Brock Lesnar headline UFC New Year’s card in Las Vegas
- UFC 141 section
- UFC coverage
- All MMA/boxing coverage
Note: Scroll to the bottom for full results from the preliminary card.
Turns out Alistair Overeem's striking really is that good.
The man who has held almost every notable mixed martial arts belt except the UFC strap embarrassed former champion Brock Lesnar in the main event of UFC 141 Friday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Following an onslaught of knees and kicks to the body, Overeem finished Lesnar by TKO at 2:26 of the first round.
Striking was more effective than wrestling on this night — so much so that Lesnar announced his intentions to retire from mixed martial arts after the loss.
"I'm going to say officially, tonight is the last time you will see me in the octagon," Lesnar told the crowd.
The former NCAA wrestling champion made the decision that he would walk away if he lost before the bout. If Lesnar would have won, he said he would have taken the title shot against Junior dos Santos and retired after that.
But it's Overeem who gets the opportunity at UFC gold next year. The final kick Overeem threw left Lesnar falling to the ground and grabbing his stomach.
"Nice old K-1 body kick," Overeem remarked.
The co-main event was more competitive, going the full 15 minutes before the judges gave Nate Diaz a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Donald Cerrone. The entire fight was spent standing with Diaz jabbing and hooking his way to victory.
Diaz and Johny Hendricks supplied the biggest upsets of the night. Hendricks knocked out Jon Fitch 12 seconds into their bout with a left hand.
Alexander Gustafsson and Jim Hettes, both 24-year old prospects, earned momentum-building victories to open the main card.
Check below for a round-by-round live blog from the main card and come back to lasvegassun.com for full coverage later.
Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem
First Round Lesnar is bouncing around and Overeem comes in cautiously. Lesnar throws a couple leg kicks to get started. He jabs Overeem a couple times, before the former Strikeforce champion counters. Lesnar hasn't shot for a takedown until the 45-second mark when he goes for a single-leg. Nothing there. Overeem is out. Overeem knees Lesnar in the clinch and he feels it. But he recovers momentarily. Overeem does some more work out of the clinch and also lands a kick to Lesnar's face when they break out. Lesnar is bleeding behind his ear. A Lesnar uppercut grazes Overeem, who rocks him with a knee. They break out and Overeem kicks Lesnar's body with force. Lesnar clutches his stomach and falls to the ground. Overeem attacks and wails away. Lesnar is not defending himself and the referee jumps in. Alistair Overeem defeats Brock Lesnar by TKO at 2:26 of the first round. Lesnar anounced in the octagon afterwards that he would retire from the UFC.
Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz
Third Round Diaz flips Cerrone off with both hands before the round starts. Then, he attacks. He throws hooks that connect multiple times. Cerrone can take it. He also dishes out some of his own. It's a fairly even round a minute in with Diaz taunting Cerrone. Diaz clips an off-balance Cerrone with a right hand and "Cowboy" falls over. Diaz is taking control with a handful of combinations. Cerrone regains a little bit with a knee to Diaz's chin. He's going back to his leg kicks now. Diaz's face is swollen and Cerrone's is still bleeding. Diaz comes forward. Cerrone comes forward. "Cowboy" tosses Diaz on the ground. Cerrone is defending well against Diaz's right hand for once, as he counters with a left of his own. Two minutes remain and they are both standing in the pocket and swinging as hard as they can. Diaz looks to be taking control, but Cerrone takes his legs out from under him yet again. Neither fighter has any interest of fighting on the ground. A minute left and Cerrone misses with a kick to the head. Diaz counters with a couple jabs. Cerrone throws a flying knee that connects. Diaz ties him up against the fence and wins a dirty boxing exchange. They're back in the middle now and Diaz's combinations have a little something extra on them. He falls to a knee, though, when Cerrone kicks him in the body. The crowd is already giving a standing ovation as Cerrone lands the last punch. Diaz wins on volume, 29-28 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Nate Diaz defeats Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Second Round Cerrone opens with a leg kick and right hook. They are staying in the middle and swinging. Cerrone chops Diaz down with a leg kick, but he comes right back up. Diaz's volume remains impressive. Cerrone grazes Diaz with a flying knee. Cerrone kicks Diaz to the ground again with a quick kick to the ankles. Diaz locks up and wrestles Cerrone to the fence. They're back in the middle after a few seconds and Cerrone is still looking to throw knees. Diaz throws a right hand followed buy an uppercut. He's creeping back into this round. Midway through Cerrone knocks Diaz down with a kick and then walks off. The crowd goes wild. Diaz is back up and Cerrone chops his down again. The leg kicks are the difference for Cerrone this round. "Cowboy" chants start as Cerrone takes control with his punching. Diaz recovers and comes forward. Cerrone once again knees Diaz in the face and follows it with a leg kick that sends him to the ground. Cerrone hits Diaz with a soft uppercut as the clock reads a minute to go. Cerrone loses his balance after throwing a kick and Diaz pounces. Diaz finishes the round strong, but it's not enough. Cerrone takes it to tie the score at 19-19 going into the final round.
First Round Cerrone sprints in and swings at Diaz, who ties him up and puts him on the ground for a split second. Diaz is pushing Cerrone's back into the fence. They exchange a few stiff jabs, but Diaz seems to be getting the better of the man known as "Cowboy" so far. They meet at the center and Cerrone knees Diaz in the chest. This is the war everyone thought it would be 1:30 into it, but Diaz is getting the best. Diaz is swinging constantly, nicely mixing up his shots to the body and head. His style looks identical to brother Nick Diaz's so far. Cerrone throwing leg kicks, but he's not getting out of the way of Diaz's jabs. The kicks are starting to work, however, as Diaz's lead leg buckles after one of them. Diaz starts taunting Cerrone as he pesters him with combinations. Cerrone throws a kick to Diaz's body that gets the crowd hyped. They exchange some more, but Diaz is certainly out-landing Cerrone. Diaz is also the one moving forward. Cerrone has started to bleed around his mouth. He's taking a lot of shots. Diaz takes the first round, 10-9, with ease.
Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks
First Round Fitch signals that he does not want to touch gloves with Hendricks. Maybe he should have. Hendricks throws a left hand that knocks Fitch out cold. It was the first strike of the night. Hendricks knocks out Fitch 12 seconds into the fight.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexander Gustafsson
First Round They keep their distance for 30 seconds until Matyushenko comes charging in. He hits Gustafsson well with a right hand, but then loses his balance before he can follow up. Matyushenko is moving forward and doesn't seem to be bothered by Gustafsson's reach advantage. Gustafsson starts working his kicks to much success. He lands about four in a row, two to the body and two to the thigh. Gustafsson drops Matyushenko with a right hand and the referee jumps in. Alexander Gustafsson defeats Vladimir Matyushenko via TKO at 2:13 of the first round.
Nam Phan vs. Jim Hettes
Third Round Hettes misses with a big looping left hook. Phan is finding his distance and finally connecting with some strikes. But Hettes isn’t in trouble. They are mostly jabs. Hettes shoots in and takes Phan down on his first attempt. Phan wall walks to his feet. This is the path most of the fight has followed, as Hettes again puts Phan on the ground. They're back on their feet and clinched up. Phan breaks out and throws punches long and wide. Most miss. A few connect, but Hettes shakes them off. Phan is back on the mat and in half guard. Hettes stays busy by throwing short ground-and-pound strikes to Phan's face. Hettes applies an arm triangle choke with a minute to go, but Phan shakes it off. More ground-and-pound from Hettes after the submission fails, and he's put together a dream performance in his first big step-up in competition. Hettes win another round 10-9 and the fight 30-26 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Hettes defeats Phan via unanimous defeat (30-26, 30-25, 30-25).
Second Round This round starts a lot like the last. Hettes goes up top and kicks Phan in the face before shooting in for a takedown. Phan fights it off this time, though. Hettes locks him up against the cage before tossing his back to the floor. Phan is looking to throw submissions from his guard, but Hettes' jiu-jitsu game is high-level. Hettes transitions to a d'arce choke that gets the crowd out of their seats, but Phan sweeps out of it. He's on top now and turning the tables. Phan is the one hitting Hettes in the face for once. Ten seconds before the halfway mark and they are back on their feet, but clinched up against the fence. Hettes knees Phan a few times, but not with much force.Trips him again, and Hettes has completed another successful takedown. They're back up, but not overwhelming with action for the first time all fight. Hettes throws a few lazy jabs before taking Phan down again. The undefeated prospect has totally dictated this fight. Hettes win the second round 10-9 and leads 20-17 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard.
First RoundHettes shoots in for an early takedown. He's successful. But Phan works his way to his feet in a matter of seconds. The cycle repeats itself two more times. Hettes is known as a submission master and is already looking for a d'arce choke. It's not there, so instead Hettes pounds away on Phan. The Vietnamese fighter looks in trouble as he turtles up into a shell and puts his hand up to hopefully absolve some of the punishment. He rolls to his back, but then back around and eats a steady dose of ground-and-pound strikes. Phan is back to his feet at the midway point and the crowd roars in applause. Hettes is moving slowly, perhaps gassing himself a tag with his early flurry. But they lock up against the fence and Hettes completes a judo throw to put Phan on his back again. A few elbows slam Phan's face into the mat and bloody his right eyebrow. Hettes looks for a kimura, but Phan escapes. Round ends with Hettes throwing punches to Phan's head in full mount. A 10-8 round for Hettes to start the main card proceedings.
A UFC fight card has turned into part of the New Year’s Eve weekend experience in Las Vegas.
Every year, the UFC takes over the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a pay-per-view event to bid adieu to one year and welcome a new one. The annual card has produced some of the most memorable fights in the octagon recently.
A number of wars — like Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II last year, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Frank Mir three years ago and Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva four years ago — have taken place in the hours right before or after the calendar changed.
Everyone can only hope tonight’s card, UFC 141, goes down as another transcendent moment in mixed martial arts history. It seems like a good bet that at least one of the two headlining fights will be a thriller.
Anticipation is high for the heavyweight main event between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem. The winner will emerge as the No. 1 contender in the quest to dethrone current champion Junior dos Santos.
But many, including UFC President Dana White, are just as excited about the co-main event pitting high-energy lightweights. Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz have differences to settle in the cage.
They’ve grown to detest each other while fulfilling their media obligations to promote UFC 141. Cerrone has finished two straight opponents in the first round, while Diaz summoned Takanori Gomi to the same fate in his last performance.
Neither Diaz nor Cerrone have ever been knocked out.
Three other fights on the main card have a chance to steal attention from the two headlining contests. Top welterweights Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks battle it out in the third-highest billed fight.
Nam Phan opens the main card momentarily by taking on challenger Jim Hettes, who is undefeated at 9-0 in his young MMA career. One of the two will receive a much-needed profile boost in the 145-pound division.
A light heavyweight bout pairing a young up-and-coming fighter, Alexander Gustafsson, against a grizzled veteran, Vladimir Matyushneko, comes after the featherweight scrap.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for round-by-round live coverage of the main card and check below for full results from the preliminary card.
Note: The UFC cancelled a scheduled welterweight bout between Matt Riddle and Luis Ramos hours before the event began when Riddle became ill. The Las Vegas-based fighter was taken to the hospital.
Ross Pearson won a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) in his featherweight debut. Pearson defeated Junior Assuncao after overcoming a slow start where "The Ultimate Fighter" 9 winner struggled to find his way inside of Assuncao's reach advantage.
Las Vegas-based lightweight Anthony Njokuani left the octagon devastated after coming out on the wrong end of an extremely close split decision. Danny Castillo defeated Njokuani via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). The judges sided with the wrestler, as Castillo won the grappling portion but Njokuani out-struck him.
Welterweight Dong Hyun Kim got back on the winning track after losing the first fight of his career five months ago at UFC 132. Kim took a unanimous decision — all three judges gave him all three rounds — over Sean Pierson. Kim struck Pierson with a front kick to the chin late in the second round to nearly finish the fight.
Jacob Volkmann won a unanimous decision over Efrain Escudero in their lightweight bout. All three judges scored it two rounds to one in favor of Volkmann, who out-wrestled Escudero in each of the first two rounds.
Diego Nunes defeated Manvel Gamburyan by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in their featherweight scrap to open the night. Nunes scored points throughout with blistering leg kicks, which enabled him to find his range. Gamburyan owned the second round with a right hand and takedown, but couldn't mount much offense otherwise.