The UFC returned to Houston, TX after a two year hiatus, to a sellout crowd. According to Dana White, they had to move screens and banners around in the arena to accommodate more seating for the fans.
The headlining fight was Cain Velasquez, defending his heavyweight title against former champ, Junior Dos Santos. This was the rubber match between these two; the score was 1-1 going into the fight. In clearly a pro Velasquez crowd, this was a fight that had everyone emotionally involved and on the edge of their seats. At the start of the fight, Dos Santos lands a solid left hand that hurt Velasquez, but eventually he recovers. After eating a few more big shots, Velasquez decides to utilize his wrestling and get the fight to the ground. Dos Santos brought in an Olympic Russian wrestling coach, but it didn’t seem to help in this fight. Velasquez smothered Dos Santos and punished him along the fence. Dos Santos showed spurts of offense, but it just wasn’t enough to get the champion off of him. There was a moment in the third round where Dos Santos was in serious danger and the ref was literally a hand on Velasquez’s back from stopping the fight, but Herb Dean let it continue. Dos Santos fought with the heart of a champion, but it wasn’t enough. Dos Santos would eventually succumb to the punishment and Velasquez would win by TKO in the fifth and final round.
In the co-main event, Roy Nelson was taking on Daniel Cormier. This would be Cormier’s last fight at heavyweight; he plans to drop to light-heavyweight for future fights. The fight started off as expected, Cormier using his wrestling to dictate the pace of the fight, while Big Country launched that big right hand in hopes to knock out the Olympian; it never came. Cormier mixed up his attacks, all while confusing Big Country. Between the second and third rounds, Big Country’s corner told him he had to knock out Cormier, while Cormier’s corner told him to continue work the game plan. Big Country had nothing for Cormier and DC would go on to get the decision win.
In a fight that had “Sloberknocker” written all over it, it surely didn’t let us down. At the opening bell, Diego Sanchez rushed across the cage before Gilbert Melendez could take a step. Melendez targeted the body of Sanchez early on and continued to fire shots. At the end of the first round, they resembled rock ‘em sock ‘em robots, where they literally stood in front of each other and threw punches. Sanchez caught the bad end of the strikes and was dropped; he would be saved by the bell. The second and early part of the third round was Melendez picking Sanchez apart. Late in the third, Sanchez dropped Melendez with an uppercut. Melendez was able to recover and they went back to full “punch each other in the face” mode till the ref stepped in at the final bell. Gilbert got the nod from the judges, but the real winner in this fight was the fans.
Gabriel Gonzaga, and his 80’s porn stache, faced off against Shawn Jordan who is coming off a Knockout of the Night win at UFC 161. These two heavyweight met head to head to see who would land the first big shot. There was a brief exchange, but Gonzaga was able to land a counter right hook that floored Jordan and after a few more punches, the ref stepped in and stopped the fight. This is the second consecutive KO win for Gonzaga.
Darrell Montague made his UFC debut against Ultimate Fighter 14 winner; John Dodson. Dodson quickly spoiled the festivities for Montague. There was a brief feeling out period between both fighters. The speed in the flyweight division is lightning fast. Once the 5’3 Dodson found his range, he landed some serious right hands that dropped Montague. Dodson kept his composure while trying to go for the finish, but eventually Montague was able to recover enough to get back to his feet. Not long after that, Dodson landed another big right hand that sent Montague into full Ric Flair face plant mode. He was out before his face hit the mat.
The undercard on FOX Sports 1 had spurts of action. The opener with KJ Noons and George Sotiroloulos was a lackluster fight where Noons took the decision. In the only female fight on the card, Jessica Eye and Sarah Kaufman exchanged face punches. Eventually went to the judges and Eye earned a split decision win in her UFC debut. Hector Lombard was impressive in his welterweight debut. He scored a first round KO over Nate Marquardt. In a fight that saw tons of eye pokes, no pun intended, it was a back and forth battle between CB Dolloway and Tim Boetsch. Boetsch took a split decision where 2 judges gave all 3 rounds to Boetsch; welcome to Texas.
Complete Fight Results:
Cain Velasquez def. Junior Dos Santos in Rd 5 via TKO to retain the heavyweight title.
Daniel Cormier def. Roy Nelson via Unanimous Decision.
Gilbert Melendez def. Diego Sanchez via Unanimous Decision
Gabriel Gonzaga def. Shawn Jordan 1:33 in Rd 1 via TKO
John Dodson def. Darrell Montague 1:13 of Rd 1 via KO
Tim Boetsch def. C.B. Dollaway via Split Decision
Hector Lombard def. Nate Marquardt 1:48 in Rd 1 via KO
Jessica Eye def. Sarah Kaufman via Split Decision
K.J. Noons def. George Sotiropoulos via Unanimous Decision
Adlan Amagov def. T.J. Waldburger 3:45 of Rd 1 via KO
Tony Ferguson def. Mike Rio 1:53 of Rd 1 via Submission (D’arce Choke)
Andre Fili def. Jeremy Larsen :53 of Rd 2 via TKO
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Dustin Pague 3:51 of Rd 2 via TKO