When plans for an all-heavyweight main card at UFC 146 were announced, I was skeptical. While heavyweights can deliver thrilling knockouts, they can also deliver boring wheezefests consisting of two large men pushing at each other. My skepticism was misplaced, because UFC 146 turned out to be one of the best cards of the year. Starting with Mike Brown's return to winning ways and ending with the Junior dos Santos' convincing title defense, this card delivered. But who stood out more than the rest?
No. 1 star -- Cain Velasquez: Losing his title to JDS in just 64 seconds could have messed with Velasquez's head, or it could have motivated him. Judging by the amount of blood that came from Antonio Silva's head (more on that later), Velasquez took the latter route. That dismantling of "Big Foot" propelled Velasquez back into heavyweight title contention.
No. 2 star -- Jamie Varner: Coming into UFC 146, Edson Barboza had 10 straight wins over such fighters as Ross Pearson, Terry Etim and Anthony Njokuani. Coming into UFC 146, Jamie Varner hadn't fought in the UFC for a year and a half. His last three fights? Wins in XFC over Drew Fickett and Nate Jolly and a loss to Dakota Cochrane.
None of that mattered Saturday. Varner, the one-time WEC lightweight champ, was given his chance back at the UFC and stopped the Barboza freight train with unrelenting pressure and a first-round TKO.
No. 3 star -- Glover Teixiera: Visa issues prevented Teixiera from fighting in the U.S. previously. In just one minute, 53 seconds, Teixiera let fans know what we've been missing. He beat up on Kyle Kingsbury, then sunk in an arm-triangle to get the submission win.
Honorable mention -- Blood: The liquid that courses through our veins made quite an appearance on Saturday night. It showed up in Brown's win over Pineda, made cameos in Dan Hardy's knockout of Duane Ludwig and Stipe Miocic's TKO of Shane Del Rosario. But blood truly took its star turn in the Velasquez-Silva bout. There was so. Much. Blood. In the unofficial Cagewriter blood-o-meter, it topped Josh Koscheck's decision over Chris Lytle and Karl Amoussou's submission of John Doyle.
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- Cain Velasquez
- Jamie Varner