After months of hype UFC 131 has reached a conclusion, leaving in its wake two freshly minted title contenders, several extended hospital visits, and a litany of exciting young prospects. Overall, the UFC's summer foray in Vancouver was considered a success, carrying an attendance of 14,685, while pulling down a live gate of $2.8 million despite battling waning local support from a community focused on the Canuck's Stanley Cup run.
Junior dos Santos brutalized Shane Carwin in the night's main event, putting on a boxing clinic on route to a bloody unanimous decision victory. The win all but secures a future heavyweight title bout between dos Santos and rehabbing champion Cain Velasquez. According to promotion head Dana White, the championship match will take place in late 2011.
In his featherweight debut, former-lightweight contender Kenny Florian outclassed Diego Nunes to earn a hard-fought unanimous decision victory. After recovering from a shaky first round, the TUF veteran utilized stifling technique and pinpoint precision to take charge of the match. Florian's triumph over Diego Nunes cannot be marginalized, as "The Gun" is ranked among the most-talented 145-pounders in the MMA world. Thus, on the heels of an impressive performance, it is highly likely that the popular UFC standout quickly vaulted his way directly into the featherweight title discussion.
Mark Munoz overcame an improved stand-up assault from Demain Maia to force a unanimous decision victory over the former title-contender. The win is now the fourth in a row for the rejuvenated UFC middleweight. With his recent success, it seems likely that Munoz will next be pitted against Brian Stann -- also the owner of a four fight win streak -- in a title eliminator match to determine a challenger for middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
Dave "Pee-Wee" Herman defeated Jon Olav Einemo via a thundering knee-straight right combination in a match-up of heavyweight newcomers. The back-and-forth brawl was wildly entertaining and epitomized the sport's adulation of the heavyweight division. After the event, White declared the two would both receive $70,000 as the recipients of the ‘Fight of the Night' award.
WEC-veteran Donald Cerrone continued his climb through the UFC lightweight ranks, handedly defeating Vagner Rocha for his fourth consecutive victory within the Zuffa brand. Cerrone excelled on the feet, picking Vagner apart with an impressive stand-up game for which the Brazilian had no answer. The performance was yet another memorable affair, the kind of bout that "Cowboy" has crafted his reputation around delivering.
On the undercard, Sam "Hands Of Stone" Stout delivered big on his nickname, knocking out Yves Edwards with one of the most blistering knockouts MMA has seen in years. The Canadian's picture-perfect left hook crushed Edwards midway through the first-round, crashing the grizzled veteran from consciousness before he even touched the ground. The finish earned Stout an extra $70,000 and "Knockout of the Night" honors.
The other televised undercard bout ended in a similarly spectacular way. Middleweight Chris Weidman craftily submitted Jesse Bongfeldt via a stunning standing guillotine choke with just six seconds remaining in the first frame. The impressive victory earned Weidman "Submission of the Night" honors.
Meanwhile, in the latest episode of horrible MMA judging decisions, featherweight Darren Elkins was awarded a unanimous decision victory over Japanese ace Michihiro Omigawa despite the fact that Omigawa unquestionably won the final two rounds. Afterwards, Dana White was visibly angry, slamming the judges in a tirade with MMA Fighting (transcribed by Fight Opinion):
"It's getting to the point now where I don't even know what to say any more.
Fans get pissed off and I get pissed off because these guys are hurting the fighters. It screws your record, it screws up your money, it screws up your legacy, everything, guys getting losses that shouldn't have losses, you know, Bones Jones shouldn't have a loss on his record right now, and the list goes on and on.
I can go on for days what's wrong with the officiating in this thing. The guys tonight, and what's even scarier is that we have fucking TVs in front of these guys. Maybe you couldn't see it before, maybe the lights or you had a bad angle, you have a television in front of you now. Anybody who, the guys who did those 30-27s tonight should never score another fight again. I mean, you have to absolutely not know what you are doing to score that fight 30-27.
There's nothing that I can do. Listen, I'm out here again, I'm talking to the athletic commission, the commission that oversees me and regulates me... fix it.
Back in the day when we watched boxing, you know, you had these fights out there and you'd go, ‘fixed, this was a fix, they needed this guy to win so they did this and that.'
Omigawa can say, hey, listen, Omigawa lost. It is what it is. I don't believe that. I veto, man. I don't think he lost. We're going to pay your money and we're going to treat you like you won."
As White alluded to, the UFC has decided to give Michihiro Omigawa the standard fighter's win bonus, as if he officially won the fight. Darren Elkins will still receive his formal win bonus.
UFC 131 Official Results:
Junior Dos Santos def. Shane Carwin via Decision (Unanimous)
Kenny Florian def. Diego Nunes via Decision (Unanimous)
Mark Munoz def. Demian Maia via Decision (Unanimous)
Dave Herman def. Jon Olav Einemo via TKO (Punches) at 3:19 of Round 2
Donald Cerrone def. Vagner Rocha via Decision (Unanimous)
Sam Stout def. Yves Edwards via KO (Punch) at 3:52 of Round 1
Chris Weidman def. Jesse Bongfeldt via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 4:54 of Round 1
Krzysztof Soszynski def. Mike Massenzio via Decision (Unanimous)
Nick Ring def. James Head via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:33 of Round 3
Dustin Poirier def. Jason Young via Decision (Unanimous)
Joey Beltran def. Aaron Rosa via TKO (Punches) at 1:26 of Round 3
Darren Elkins def. Michihiro Omigawa via Decision (Unanimous)
Submission of the Night: Chris Weidman ($70,000)
Knockout of the Night: Sam Stout ($70,000)
Fight of the Night: Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman ($70,000 each)