The UFC returns for one of its biggest cards of 2012, as the heavyweight championship is on the line when Junior Dos Santos faces Frank Mir in the main event. Arizona fighters are scheduled across this card including former Arizona State wrester and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez. Jamie Varner, C.B. Dollaway and Kyle Kingsbury all have Arizona ties and all fight this Saturday night in Las Vegas.
UFC 146 figures to be one of the biggest (literally) UFC cards of 2012, as Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos (14-1) defends his title against former two-time champion Frank Mir (16-5). The co-main event features a heavyweight scrap between Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (16-3) and former Arizona State wrestler Cain Velasquez (9-1). In total, four fighters with Arizona ties fight in Las Vegas this Saturday night.
Velasquez is the most prominent fighter on this card with Arizona ties. Velasquez graduated from Kofa High School where he compiled a wrestling record of 110-10 and won two 5A state titles.
Velasquez wrestled at Arizona State University from 2003-2005, placing fifth at the NCAA Championships in 2005. Velasquez was 50-10 in two seasons at Arizona State, earning All-American honors in 2005. In 2005, Velasquez claimed a Pac-10 title, and was named the Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year.
Velasquez began his MMA career in 2006 and went on to win the first nine fights of his career. In October of 2010, Velasquez defeated Brock Lesnar to win the UFC Heavyweight Title. Forced to miss most of 2011 with injuries, Velasquez returned to the Octagon in November of 2011 where he was knockout out by Junior Dos Santos in his first title defense.
C.B. Dolloway wrestled for Arizona State from 2004-2005, compiling a record of 29-9 and placing second in the Pac-10 in the 184-pound division.
Dollaway entered the UFC in 2008 when he was a cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter Season 7." Dollaway was submitted by Amir Sadollah in the finale of the show, however a second place finish was enough to grant Dollaway a UFC contract.
Dollaway is 5-4 in the UFC including victories over Jesse Taylor, Mike Massenzio and Jay Silva. Dolloway is currently on a two-fight losing streak and faces Jason "Mayhem" Miller on the preliminary card of UFC 146.
Jamie Varner makes his return to the UFC on the preliminary card of UFC 146 against the undefeated Edson Barboza. Varner had two fights in the UFC from 2006-2007 before transitioning into the WEC. Varner won the WEC Lightweight Championship in 2008 and defended the belt twice.
In 2009, Varner lost the WEC title to current UFC LIghtweight Champion Benson Henderson. Following a three fight losing streak, Varner was released from the UFC at the end of 2010. Varner bounced around regional promotions across the country before getting the call from the UFC to replace an injured Evan Dunham at UFC 146.
Varner trains in Arizona at a few gyms around the valley including The LAB MMA in Glendale, and Arizona Combat Sports in Tempe.
Kyle Kingsbury attended Arizona State University, but unlike Dollaway and Velasquez, Kingsbury played on the Sun Devil football team. Kingsbury transferred to ASU in 2003 as a walk-on to the football team and saw game action during the 2004 season including ASU's Sun Bowl victory over Purdue.
Kingsbury has been awarded "Fight of the Night" twice by UFC officials and the ASU alum is 3-2 in the Octagon. Kingsbury faces Glover Teixeira on the preliminary card.