UFC 155′s Three Stars: Cain Velasquez, Jim Miller and Erik Perez

Maggie Hendricks

UFC 155 saw a new heavyweight champ, a bloody canvas, and a whole lot of Luchador masks. Which fighters stood above the rest?

No. 1 star -- Cain Velasquez: With the way Junior dos Santos handled Cain Velasquez in their first fight, it didn't seem likely that the old champ would be leaving Las Vegas with the belt. The oddsmakers weren't on his side. But a healthy Velasquez used wrestling and powerful striking to handle JDS for five rounds. He gave JDS a whole new look, and showed that his first time winning the belt was no fluke.

Velasquez has plenty of options for his next fight. He could face Alistair Overeem if he gets through Antonio Silva, or the winner of Fabricio Werdum vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The only fight you shouldn't expect to see is Velasquez vs. Strikeforce champion Daniel Cormier. The teammates at American Kickboxing Academy pledged not to fight each other. Cormier said he would drop down to light heavyweight first.

No. 2 star -- Jim Miller: As the winner, Miller gets the second star, but Joe Lauzon's performance was equally impressive. After much of the pay-per-view was a snoozer, Lauzon and Miller delivered a thrilling, bloody battle. It saved the card, put their fight in contention for bout of the year, and earned them each a $65,000 Fight of the Night bonus.

No. 3 star -- Erik Perez: The UFC sold Perez's Luchador masks before the fight. He was getting a ton of pre-fight hype, due to his first two UFC matches ending in first-round wins. Even with all that pressure, the 23-year-old fighter performed. Perez won with a first-round TKO.

Honorable mention -- Todd Duffee: With Velasquez and dos Santos getting top billing, it was easy to forget that the Duffman was returning to the UFC on the preliminary card. He made his return unforgettable with a quick TKO of Philip de Fries. Duffee took home a $65,000 bonus for his good work.

Honorable mention -- The canvas: With so much blood spilling in the octagon on Saturday night, the canvas was called on like never before. It rose to the occasion, catch every fight droplet. Nicely done, canvas.

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