UFC 131 was this weekend in Vancouver. As usual, a mostly unheralded card turned into one of the better events of the year. The PPV numbers and SpikeTV ratings will probably be a bit underwhelming, but I’d say the event turned out about as well as anyone could have hoped.
Junior dos Santos will finally get his title shot (in 4-5 months, maybe, depending on health) after he battered Shane Carwin for 15 minutes. If any other fighter was coming off 6-straight victories where they either knocked out or submitted their opponent and then turned in two straight decision wins like JDS, people would be complaining. Not so with the new heavyweight title contender. Junior dos Santos has handed out two of the more uneven 15-minute ass-kickings you will ever see. His destruction of Roy Nelson and now Shane Carwin were brutal and the fact that neither guy was finished is an incredible testament to both men’s pain thresholds. I mean, good lord. Props to Shane Carwin for taking the beating of a lifetime and living to tell about it. Now we just need to get Cain Velasquez healthy so we can witness the most badass heavyweight fight in the history of the universe.
In the co-main event Good Kenny Florian showed up in the second round and beat Diego Nunes in a decision. The cut to 145 didn’t kill KenFlo as he seemed to be in better shape in the later rounds. One of his notoriously sharp elbows found the back of Nunes’ head and the poor guy was probably close to passing out from blood loss. Now Florian probably gets a shot at the featherweight title. Maybe.
That’s my favorite part about these top-contender fights. We don’t really know anything. JDS might get hurt. Cain Velasques might not be ready by the end of the year. Kenny Florian might have to take another fight at 145. Nobody knows for certain until about a week before the fight actually happens.
Speaking of top contenders, Mark Muñoz beat a very game Damien Maia via decision. I thought Maia looked pretty good, but Muñoz won the fight with wrestling. This fight provided one of the patented awful judges decisions as one judge gave the first round to Muñoz despite the fact that Maia clearly won the round. Luckily it didn’t hurt the actual outcome of the fight. Unlike say, when Michihiro Omigawa got screwed out of a decision victory over Darren Elkins in the first fight of the night. Omigawa was given his win bonus by the UFC.
Dave Herman’s UFC debut was pretty fun to watch. He and Jon Olav Einemo slugged it out before Einemo finally went down for good in the second. Donald Cerrone didn’t lose to Vagner Rocha in a decision where Rocha couldn’t muster much of anything. Nick Ring improved to 12-0 with a rear-naked choke of a bloody James Head and of course, Sam Stout knocked out Yves Edwards COLD. Oh, and SpikeTV also broadcast Chris Weidman’s standing guillotine choke of Jesse Bongfeldt. All in all, a satisfying night of fights.
Looking forward, we’ve got Strikeforce on Showtime this Saturday and a free fight night on SpikeTV on June 26.