LAS VEGAS, May 26 – Just as he predicted a day before their UFC 146 main event fight, Junior dos Santos defeated Frank Mir in the second round to retain his UFC heavyweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night.
The triumph, which marked the Brazilian’s first defense since dethroning Cain Velasquez last November, featured Mir staying competitive in the opening minutes until dos Santos gradually began turning up the heat and inflicting serious damage. The first big trouble for Mir came in the final 30 seconds of round one, when JDS rocked and wobbled him with a flurry of hard shots. Mir was in imminent danger of being finished but the horn saved him.
Mir’s cornermen urged him “Don’t stand in front of him” during the break, but in the second it became obvious that dos Santos – on the strength of superior hand speed and deft foot movement -- could land almost at will.
A right hand by dos Santos put Mir on the deck early in the second; dos Santos motioned for the two-time champ to get up. After some Mir leg kicks, another straight right put Mir down again, clearly disoriented. A hammer punch later, at 3:04 of the frame, the referee called a stop to the bout.
“I’m feeling awesome, man!! Awesome! It’s amazing! It’s not bad for a nice guy, huh?!” said dos Santos (15-1), who made it clear that avenging two losses by his mentor, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, to Mir were not his motivation.
“Nogueira is a tremendous fighter, Frank Mir is a really good fighter and that fight is between them, I don’t care about that. Of course I respect my mentor, but I came here to defend my belt and I did it! Man, this guy can take a punch. My hand is hurt.”
Mir, his face beginning to swell up from the damage, was gracious and humble in defeat.
“He’s the champ; he’s fast, he hit me hard and I couldn’t get out of the way,” said Mir (16-6). “I couldn’t do nothing about them. He’s just a very dangerous man. I didn’t want a boxing match with him; he just forced me into it. I couldn’t get him down.”