Lessons Learned From UFC 131: Dos Santos, Carwin, Florian, Cerrone

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There is something about witnessing two heavyweights slug it out.  It’s the reason why many people have decreed (unjustly) that the downward spiral in the popularity of boxing can be attributed to the lack of viable heavyweight fighters.  Of course the same principle can be applied to MMA.  After all, there is a reason that Brock Lesnar is a certified PPV draw.  People just love to see two large humans slugging it out.

This leads us to the main event of Saturday night’s UFC 131 card from Vancouver in which two larger-than-life fighters, Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos, met to fight for the right to face UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.  Which, the cynic will tell you is a bit disingenuous given the fact that Dos Santos had already been promised a title shot after ravaging the heavyweight division with his two-fisted assault.  But that is not the point; the true story heading into this fight was how Dos Santos would deal with the uncanny strength and wrestling of Carwin.  Well, it quickly became evident that Dos Santos was more than ready to deal with whatever Carwin had to offer. 

With Carwin’s right hand cocked and ready to unload from the opening bell, everyone watching knew that this fight was going to be contested on who landed the harder shot.  It would soon be evident that that distinction would go to Dos Santos.  After establishing some the pace with a crisp jab, Dos Santos would lower the boom and drop Carwin with a left.  Immediately, Dos Santos pounced and unleashed what had to be some of the most vicious shots to the turtled up Carwin.  The fight could have justifiably been stopped as Carwin was making no real attempt to move or block the flurry.  However, referee Herb Dean allowed the fight to continue and Carwin was able to ride the wave of punishment until the end of the round. 

After the hellacious opening round Carwin’s face was a bloody and battered mess.  Despite nearly putting Carwin’s lights out in the opening round the remainder of the fight boiled down to a nip and tuck battle.  Whether it was fatigue from bashing in Carwin’s face in the opening round, or just concern of being clipped by a fight-ending shot, Dos Santos never followed up his first round assault.  Though it all didn’t matter as Dos Santos took the fight via unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-26.

Complete UFC 131 Results

Kenny Florian def. Diego Nunes via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Mark Munoz def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Dave Herman def. Jon Olav Einemo via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 3:19
Donald Cerrone def. Vagner Rocha via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Prelim Results

Sam Stout via Yves Edwards via KO Round 1, 3:52
Chris Weidman via Jesse Bongfeldt submission (guillotine choke) - Round 1, 4:54
Krzysztof Soszynski def. Mike Massenzio via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Nick Ring def. James Head via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 3, 3:33
Dustin Poirier def. Jason Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Joey Beltran def. Aaron Rosa via TKO (punches) - Round 3, 1:26
Darren Elkins def. Michihiro Omigawa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Source: MMA Junkie for the prelim results.