The main event was scheduled for five rounds, the other bouts for three rounds. But three of the five fights on the UFC 146 main card Saturday night in Las Vegas did not make it out of the first round, with two of them lasting only a minute or so. In all, we saw four KOs. Why? Because it was the mammoth fight organization’s first all-heavyweight main card. And you know what Jimmy Cliff says about heavyweights: The harder they come, the harder they fall. One and all.
So, since the most we got from the big guys was the 8:14 that, after a Stipe Miocic TKO, left Shane del Rosario as wobbly as a late-night tourist on The Strip, let’s go a full five championship rounds here.
Not with fisticuffs, though, but philosophy.
OK, maybe that’s too lofty a description of the words that were spoken inside the octagon in Sin City over the weekend. But it’s always refreshing to be reminded that — belying their fierce looks, sculpted physiques, abundant tattoos and the occasional red Mohawk — many of these men have depth, compassion and a childlike sense of humor.
Here are some the more memorable things I heard while at the fights:
“It’s not bad for a nice guy, eh?” —Junior dos Santos, after treating Frank Mir not so cordially in his first defense of the UFC heavyweight title.
“It was good.” —Breno de Carvalho, the 9-year-old Brazilian boy dos Santos flew to Las Vegas for the fight, offering his evaluation of his friend’s performance (and expressing it in the uber-succinct manner this dad of a 9-year-old has become used to hearing).
“These guys are a lot bigger than I am.” —Cain Velasquez, talking about what motivates him in his strength-and-conditioning training, after the 240-pound ex-champ battered 264-pound Antonio Silva.
“It’s very bittersweet for me. Duane’s been kind of a hero to me. I’ve always respected him. I’ve always been a big fan of his, all the way through his career, from the very start. Seeing him hit the canvas, it was good for me, but it was bad as well, because I really do love him so much.” —Dan Hardy, after knocking out Duane Ludwig for his first UFC win since 2009.
“I can’t believe it’s me. It’s so surreal. I can’t believe I just did that. I just beat Edson Barboza, who was this monster in my mind.” —Jamie Varner, as he watched on the arena monitors the hammer-fist finish of his TKO win over the previously unbeaten Brazilian.