Junior dos Santos defeats Shane Carwin at UFC 131 in Vancouver
Junior Dos Santos defeated a bloodied Shane Carwin to win the headline bout of the second-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship event held in Vancouver.
Many expected a potentially explosive and short-lived battle from the two heavyweights at UFC 131. But the mixed martial arts fighters stood up and traded blows for much of the three-round slugfest in Rogers Arena today (June 11).
Dos Santos, a 27-year-old jiu-jitsu fighter and boxer from Brazil, won by unanimous decision. He is now in line for a UFC heavyweight title shot against Cain Velasquez.
Dos Santos was originally slated to face former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in the main event. But Lesnar, who was suffering from a case of diverticulitis, pulled out of the fight. He was replaced by Carwin, a former interim heavyweight champion.
At the start of the fight, Dos Santos and Carwin, who both entered UFC 131 with identical 12-1 records, seemed tentative.
But round one ended with a flurry of punches that brought Carwin, a 36-year-old wrestler, to the mat. He returned to his feet to finish the round.
After standing up and trading shots throughout the second round, Dos Santos slammed Carwin, whose face was smeared with blood, to the mat to finish the fight.
The rock concert-like event at Rogers Arena marked the UFC’s second visit to Vancouver. In June 2010, Rich Franklin knocked out mixed martial arts legend Chuck Liddel when the city hosted UFC 115.
In other main card fights, Kenny Florian defeated Diego Nunes by unanimous decision. After winning, Florian told the thousand of fans in the arena he wants to stay in the UFC’s featherweight division and make a run for the championship belt.
Meanwhile, Mark Munoz won a back-and-forth middleweight battle against Brazilian fighter Demian Maia by unanimous decision.
Dave Herman won his UFC debut against Jon Olav Einemov by TKO in the second round of their heavyweight contest.
And Donald Cerrone landed numerous leg kicks and dodged takedown attempts to win his lightweight bout by unanimous decision over Vagner Rocha.
Although the MMA fights took centre stage at today’s UFC event, it was clear Stanley Cup fever was gripping the thousands of fans packed into Rogers Arena, where the Canucks had defeated the Boston Bruins 1-0 the night before.
At times, the UFC event even took on the atmosphere of a hockey game with the crowd repeatedly erupting into chants of “Go, Canucks, Go” and rising from their seats for the wave.
One jersey-glad fan waved a sign that read “Hockey is Canada’s Game” and Florian, who hails from the Boston area, was booed following his victory.
Even the bodysuit-wearing Green Men showed up, receiving a warm welcome as they paraded past the UFC octagon between fights.
UFC 131 in photos