Posts Tagged ‘Junior Dos Santos’

Live Blog: UFC 166: Velasquez-Dos Santos

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Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos have traded off the UFC heavyweight belt in both of their previous bouts.

Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos handed the UFC heavyweight belt back and forth in their two previous bouts. (Pat Sullivan/AP)

Welcome to’s live play-by-play blog for UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, from the Toyota Center in Houston. Loretta Hunt is off tonight, so this is Jeff Wagenheim with you. I’m that rare New Englander who’s not watching tonight’s Red Sox-Tigers AL Championship Series game, although perhaps my colleagues Chuck Mindenhall of MMA Fighting, Mike Chiappetta of Fox Sports and Jack Encarnacao of Sherdog — New Englanders all — are in the same boat. Anyway, I’ll be updating play-by-play throughout the main card, and prelim results are below. Enjoy the fights.

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos

You know that thing Dos Santos does during his introduction, walking to the center of the octagon and making a feisty gesture down at the canvas, signifying that this is my house? Well, Velasquez was ready for it, just as he was ready for everything Junior tried in their last fight. Cain walked to the center of the octagon as well, wearing a death stare that would send most men running. To steal Mike Goldberg’s signature line, “Here … we … go.”

Round 1: They meet at the center of the cage and Dos Santos lands a left hook that stops Velasquez in his tracks. For a moment. Cain gets moving forward again immediately, and he’s all over Junior. The Brazilian is flinging heavy leather, and Velasquez is surging right through it, in the way Hagler refused to be stopped by Hearns’ heavy punches. Cain gets Junior down, locks in a guiilotine, but Dos Santos defends it and gets to his feet. Velasquez lands a short left, but as they separate, Dos Santos fires a right uppercut that makes Cain stagger a bit. We’re 30 seconds in, and this fight already is better — and more competitive — than either of the first two meetings.. Velasquez is relentless, and Dos Santos is finding a hard time creating the space he needs to land his shots. When he finally separates, he tries a head kick but Cain keeps coming, pushing him against the cage. At the midpoint of the round, Velasquez gets a takedown, briefly is in full mount, then half guard. He lands an elbow, but Junior is mostly tying him up. Dos Santos gives up his back, but then gets up. Velasquez goes right back to blanketing him, landing short punches to the face from the clinch. Dos Santos tries to fend him off, throws an elbow, and when they do separate he tries a spinning kick, which misses.

Round 2: Velasquez is all over Dos Santos from the start, and there’s nothing Junior can do to stop him. Junior is landing some punches, but Cain is landing more and harder. Dos Santos avoids a flurry of shots with head movement, but he’s unable to get any offense going. When they separate, it’s Cain who lands the jabs. Then Velasquez has him in the clinch again. Cain is giving him no space, which is to be expected,. But he’s also beating him to the punch. Dos Santos goes for a takedown and gets Velasquez to the mat, but Cain pops right back up and lands a couple of overhand rights before resuming his clinch game. He punishes Junior’s legs with knees to the thigh, giving the challenger’s face a brief respite from being pummeled.  Just before the horn, Dos Santos lands a short elbow and then a right hand that stops Velasquez in his tracks. For a second. But Cain doesn’t stop for long.

Round 3: Big right hand by Dos Santos opens the round, but Velasquez keeps coming, pushing him against the fence and landing  crisp jab. Junior simply cannot create the separation he needs to utilize his big punches. His short shots are landing, but Cain is walking through them and answering twofold, nailing the challenger with punches and knees. With three minutes to go, Junior does separate long enough to land a right hand, but Velasquez nails him with a left jab. And keeps coming. Then, after Dos Santos connects with an elbow, Velasquez goes for a takedown. It’s stuffed, but Cain comes back with a right hand to the head that drops Dos Santos. He pounces, flurrying with lefts and rights as the crowd roars and referee Herb Dean lurks, watching closely. Velasquez tries a guillotine, and holds onto it as Dos Santos gets up. When Velasquez lets go, Junior falls lifelessly to his back, and both Velasquez and Dean close in. As Cain lands punches, Dean puts his hand on the champ’s shoulder, as if he’s stopping the bout, but then backs off. Dos Santos looks dead on his feet, and Velasquez is now the one separating, in order to land punches. This fight appears close to being stopped. But Dos Santos survives the last two minutes, somehow. He’s staggered by a couple of right hands, and Dean again takes a close look. But Dos Santos makes it to the horn.

Round 4: Dos Santos is a zombie as he gets up from his stool. Velasquez looks a fresh as if he’d just climbed a single flight of stairs. Cain walks across the cage and, after Junior tries to land first, nails him with a right hand. He has Dos Santos against the cage, and he’s glued to him, landing rights and left that are snapping back Junior’s head. Even when Velasquez separates and Dos Santos lands, it does nothing to turn the tide. Junior is trying elbows, and landing some, but they’re not even slowing Cain. With just under a minute and a half to go, referee Herb Dean halts the action so the cageside doctor can check Dos Santos’ face. Where do you start? It’s a mask of blood and bloat. The fight is allowed to go on, and Dos Santos flings a huge right hand, which Velasquez ducks under. Then Cain is on him again, and while Junior lands an elbow, Velasquez again closes in and mauls him some more. Dos Santos connects with a couple more elbows before the round is over, but the Cain train keeps coming.

Round 5: Never would have expected the fight to get this far a few minutes go. Dos Santos lands a couple of punches out of the gate, but Velasquez responds by taking him to the canvas. Junior fights his way to his feet, then eats a couple of left uppercuts against the cage. Velasquez is throwing short right hands, not hurting Dos Santos any more than he’s already hurt but keeping him well under control. Dos Santos lands another couple of elbows, and Cain wipes blood from his nose, then snaps back Junior’s head with a punch. In one final, futile effort, Dos Santos goes for a standing guillotine, but Velasquez escapes as they hit the canvas, and Junior falls face first. He turtles up under an onslaught of punches, impelling Herb Dean to jump in. Cain Velasquez def. Junior dos Santos by TKO at 3:09 of Round 5. 

Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson

This fight is brought to you by Jenny Craig,. Cormier is slimmed down because he is headed to the 205-pound division. As for Nelson, he’s staying at heavyweight but someone must have bought him a bag for his bowling ball so he doesn’t have to carry it around under his shirt anymore.

Round 1: They stalk for the better part of the first minute before Cormier goes for a single-leg takedown and, unsurprisingly owing to his two-time Olympic wrestling pedigree, gets it. Cormier passes guard but can’t do any damage, other than starting to wear Nelson out. Even after Roy gets back to his feet, Cormier is all over him, controlling the action with his grappling,. Nelson tries fgor a kimura, but Cormier defends. Then Daniel puts Nelson against the cage and lands a knee to the gut. A second knee lands low, and Nelson gets a much-needed break. It’s not simply to recover from the groin shot, not simply to get his wind back. No less important, the break allows him to create some distance, get Cormier off of him. In the final 30 seconds, Nelson fires a big overhand that misses, and Cormier nails him with a couple of punches. Cormier is clearly faster. Or Roy is clearly slower.

Round 2: More of the same from Cormier, as Nelson devolves more and more into a one-trick pony whose trick is coming in slow motion. It’s five minutes of Cormier stalking and Nelson trying but failing to connect with anything even remotely significant.

Round 3: Cormier is coasting and Nelson isn’t putting it all on the line, as he needs to. Not much to describe here, as Cormier never comes close to finishing Nelson and Nelson never comes close to turning the tide. Kind of a ho-hum. Daniel Cormier def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). 

Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez

Yes! Yes! Yes! Sorry, neighbors up and down the block, I had to say that – I mean scream it at the top of my lungs — because Sanchez uncharacteristically went mute on us during his walk to the octagon. He did engage in what looked like the pregame routine of an NFL linebacker with an intense moment at cageside, did a cartwheel in the cage, then went into affirmation mode. How could Melendez match that? Well, he walked out to Santana. Game, set, match.

Round 1: Melendez tries a head kick just as Sanchez is moving forward, and as a result the leg ends up on Diego’s shoulder and he is able to bull Gilbert to the mat. He quickly gets the back, but Melendez doesn’t panic, even after Sanchez gets close to locking in a choke. Melendez stands, walks to the cage and strips Sanchez off of him. From there Melendez begins stalking, and when Sanchez tries a clinch two minutes in, Melendez lands a knee to separate them and then a right hand over the top. Melendez starts with the body shots, then lands a right to the head at the round’s midpoint. Then he takes a deep breath. Melendez lands some more punches, and when Sanchez tries to counter with a kick to the body, Melendez counters the counter, grabbing the leg and driving Diego to the fence. he doesn’t get the takedown, but when they separate, Sanchez is bleeding from above the left eye. The blood is covering half of his face as the round enters its final minute, but Sanchez lands a couple of body shots to slow Melendez. The round concludes with a rock ‘em sock ‘em sequence, both guys flinging lefts and rights, until Sanchez goes down. He springs right up, but the final seconds are all Melendez.

Round 2: Sanchez’s chest and stomach are streaked with blood within the first minute of the round, even though Melendez’ punches aren’t especially targeting the eye. Gilbert is strafing the body, but he’s taking some punches and kicks, too. The crowd is into it, but there’s a groan when the referee halts the action so the cageside doctor can check Sanchez’s nasty cut. Diego complains that there’s Vaseline in his eye, but says the cut is OK. The fight goes on. Melendez stalks him, and every time Sanchez gets aggressive, Gilbert tags him. But Sanchez doesn’t slow down. He gets hit flush with a couple of right hands, then briefly gets Melendez to the mat. But Gilbert gets up and lands a leg kick. Sanchez tries another takedown and eats a knee to the face. As the round ends, Sanchez’s face and body are a mess. But he’s not sagging.

Round 3: After his trainer, Greg Jackson, tells him he’s down two rounds and needs a KO, Sanchez takes the news to heart. He gets in Melendez’s face, and even though he’s getting the worse of the exchanges, he;s getting the fight he needs. Melendez is playing matador, parrying every bull charge by Sanchez. Midway through, the doctor is again brought in to check the cut. “Let him go,” he says. And an uncaged Sanchez charges forward, landing a leg kick, the aright to the head. Diego pounds on his chest. Then, with just under two minutes to go, Sanchez lands a right uppercut that floors Melendez. Sanchez pounces a the crowd explodes. he gets Gilbert’s back, tries to lock in a choke. As Melendez maneuvers into top position, Sanchez tries for a guillotine. Too sweaty. They stand, and they trade.  Finally, Melendez goes for a takedown and gets it, but with 30 seconds left, Sanchez reverses position and they get back to their feet. The fight ends with more rock ‘em sock ‘em action and with the roof of the arena blowing into the heavens from the force of the crowd’s roars. Wow. Gilbert Melendez def. Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28). 

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shawn Jordan

It was a bit surprising that Shawn Jordan agreed to come to the octagon on time, considering that his old college football team, LSU, was tied with Ole Miss late in the fourth quarter. But the Johnny Cash music started playing, and Jordan started walking. Then came Gabriel Gonzaga, sporting the fifth-degree black belt of moustaches, a ‘stache that could knock a man out with one twitch. And the heavyweights were ready to go.

Round 1: Not much going on in the fight’s first minute, other than Gonzaga landing a leg kick or two and fending off the few punches thrown by Jordan. Then Jordan surges forward with a 1-2 that Gonzaga absorbs while backing away, and counters with a right hook that drops the ex-football player. The Brazilian swarms his fallen opponent with right hands on the canvas until referee Jay Stafin pushes him away. What’s worse for Jordan: LSU gave up a late field goal and lost, too. Gabriel Gonzaga def. Shawn Jordan by TKO at 1:33 of Round 1. 

John Dodson vs. Darrell Montague

The flyweights are best viewed in slow motion, lest one miss half of the scattershot action. So be forewarned.

Round 1: Early on they’re stalking, fast-twictch stalking to be sure, but stalking nonetheless. A Montague low blow makes Dodson wince but doesn’t halt the fight. They exchange audible leg kicks, then Dodson lunges forward with a right hand that lands. More stalking, but then at the midpoint of the round Dodson connects with a hard left hand that floors Montague. Dodson pounces, and when his opponent manages to stand up he picks him up and throws him to the mat. Dodson lands a flurry, but Montague survives and gets to his feet, a bit wobbly. Dodson shows mature patience, landing punches but resisting the temptation to throw caution to the wind. No need to, since he’s landing over and over. With just under a minute to go, Montague has a little bounce back in his step, but Dodson nails him with a straight left that sends him to the canvas, face-first. Dodson pounces again, but before he can land another blow, referee Jacob Montalvo jumps in to end it. As a dazed Montague grabs for the ref’s leg, trying to wrestle, Dodson sprints to the cage and does a backflip. John Dodson def. Darrell Montague by KO at 4:13 of Round 1. 

Prelim results:

–C.B. Dollaway went all Nick Diaz on Tim Boetsch early on, taunting him, dropping hands to his sides … but taking more punches than Nick ever did. Then Dollaway tried a Moe Howard maneuver, poking him the eye twice … and losing a point for the second foul. That didn’t really make a difference in split decision, though, as two judges scored it 30-26 for Boetsch (so he would have won, 30-27, without the point deduction).

–Hector Lombard got Nate Marquardt backpedaling with an overhand right, sent him to the canvas with a left hand and swarmed him with hammer fists until referee Jay Stafin bravely dove in to save a defenseless Marquardt at 1:47 of the first round. Then Lombard expended just as much energy lifting his opponent off the canvas and hugging him. Call it ferocious sportsmanship.

–Jessica Eye and Sarah Kaufman went toe to toe for three rounds, and while it was Kaufman who looked closest to a finish, wobbling the former 125-pounder in the third round, Eye got the nod from two of the three judges. It’s tough to argue against the decision in a close fight, except that one judge (Ruben Najera) inexplicably gave Eye that final round, in which Kaufman hurt her and then stalked her to the finish. Hmm.

–K.J. Noons staggered Georges Sotiropolous midway through the third round but inexplicably didn’t pounce on the Aussie, instead trading with him to the final horn of their lightweight bout and rolling the dice with a judges’ decision, which unanimously went his way.

–Adlan Amagov fought off a takedown attempt and blistered T.J. Waldburger, flooring him and finishing their welterweight bout with strikes at 3:35 of Round 1. Waldburger was out cold and taken from the octagon on a stretcher.

–Tony Ferguson staggered Mike Rio with a left hook and sunk in a d’arce choke to get the tapout just 1:52 into their lightweight fight.

–Andre Fili bloodied and battered Jeremy Larsen in the first round and finished him 53 seconds into the second to take what was scheduled to be a featherweight bout until Fili missed the 145-pound limit at Friday’s weigh-in.

–Kyoji Horiguchi floored Dustin Pague early in Round 2 and finished the bantamweight opener with punches at 3:51.

  • Published On Oct 19, 2013
  • UFC 155 Live Blog: Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez

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    Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez square off in UFC 155 in Las Vegas. Check out below for’s Loretta Hunt’s blow-by-blow coverage.

  • Published On Dec 29, 2012
  • As Cormier plays waiting game in Strikeforce, his UFC future is unfolding

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    Daniel Cormier won the championship belt after defeating Josh Barnett during the heavyweight tournament final bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix in May. (Kyle Terada/US PRESSWIRE)

    TORONTO — Daniel Cormier is so close to the UFC he can taste it. The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion was in attendance at Saturday night’s UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre, watching the fights and looking for one.

    The undefeated 33-year-old has been promised a prominent spot on the UFC’s roster of big boys once he fights once more in the sister promotion. And he does have a bout scheduled for a Nov. 3 Strikeforce card in Oklahoma City. But no opponent. Frank Mir was to come over from the UFC, where he was a two-time heavyweight champion, but was injured in training and pulled out of the fight this past week.

    So now the prom is six weeks away, and Cormier (10-0) is left waiting for a dance partner. He’s hoping to hear a name early in the coming week, but he’s not fretting and he’s not setting a deadline. “When I fought ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Strikeforce called me just five weeks before,” he told as he was waiting for the fights to begin. “And I had been in Louisiana for a few weeks, doing nothing. But I fought then, and I’ll fight now, no matter what. I’m not bowing out. I’m not doing that to my Okies.”

    Cormier has a history in the state where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains. He wrestled at Oklahoma State, making it to the 2001 NCAA Division I final. He continued to live and train in the area for several years, twice making the U.S. Olympic team. That deep background in wrestling, aside from allowing him to dictate where fights are fought, has instilled in him a comfort level in taking on whomever whenever.

    “I’ve been training for Nov. 3 for a month,” said Cormier. “To get ready for a specific opponent, once one is in place, I just need a few weeks. It depends. Frank was a problem because he’s a southpaw, and I’ve never fought one before. But now if they bring me a conventional fighter, I can fall back into my comfort zone.”

    It’s not the softspoken Cormier’s way to call anyone out, but he must have a few names stored away in the back of his mind, right? “The only names that I have in my head are the ones that have stepped to the front and said they want to fight,” he said. “Roy Nelson said he’d do it. Pat Barry said he’d do it. Fabricio Werdum said he’d do it. Those guys are now on my radar. So I know that maybe I should start watching film on them a little bit, start training in accordance with what I might be doing against those guys.”

    How does one prepare for a fight that might be against kickboxer Barry or might be against jiu-jitsu ace Werdum? And then there’s the larger issue: Can a fight with either of them elevate Cormier’s status in the same way that the bout with Mir could have? “Any guy from the UFC could do that,” Daniel insisted, before acknowledging, “Maybe not as much as Frank Mir would have.”

    That’s an understatement. I mean, a win over Barry, who is 7-5 with losses in three of his last four fights, wouldn’t exactly put Cormier in the crosshairs of Junior dos Santos. Or, um, Cain Velasquez.

    Cormier smiled at the mention of his training partner, who by the time Daniel reaches the UFC might once again be the heavyweight champ. “I think he will be,” said the fellow American Kickboxing Academy fighter. “I really do believe it. He’s amazing.”

    Should Velasquez regain the belt in his Dec. 29 rematch with Dos Santos, Cormier’s options would be to drop to the 205-pound division — he wrestled at 211 pounds in the Olympics — or go for the heavyweight belt against his teammate. Cormier and Velasquez have discussed that latter possibility. “We’ve talked about it a little bit, not really going into detail,” said Daniel. “But we’ve always said that if a guy is a champion, it’s not fair for his teammate to have to say, ‘I’m going to be No. 2 for the rest of my career.’ So if and when the time comes, we’ll sit down as a family and discuss whether we want to go forward with that. I’ll tell you this: We would not allow it to rip us apart.”

    That’s a discussion for a different time. For now and for the foreseeable future, Cormier is working out alongside Velasquez five days a week. And as he sees it, sparring and grappling with the man he believes is the best heavyweight in the world puts him in good standing for his upcoming fight against an opponent who has not yet — “against TBA,” he jumped in. “And it doesn’t really matter who it is. When you’re training with No. 1 or No. 2 every day, the rest should take care of itself.”

    – Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Sep 23, 2012
  • Post-fighting words: UFC 146 edition

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    Junior dos Santos

    Junior dos Santos beat Frank Mir via second-round TKO in his first title defense. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

    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.

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  • Published On May 28, 2012
  • Experts’ predictions for UFC 146

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    Frank Mir (right) guns for the UFC heavyweight title held by Junior dos Santos (left) on Saturday night in Las Vegas. (Josh Hedges/Getty Images) analysts Ben Fowlkes, Loretta Hunt, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim provide their predictions for UFC 146 on Saturday in Las Vegas.

    Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir

    FOWLKES: For all his skills and success and experience, Mir still has a suspect chin and an underwhelming takedown ability. The latter has improved in recent years, but the former only tends to get worse with age. JDS has faced better wrestlers than Mir and managed to stay on his feet. There’s no reason to think he won’t do it again here, which is bad news for the former champ. Dos Santos by TKO.

    HUNT: Mir has made a career out of stepping into big-time fights, and he’s had mixed success. However, Dos Santos, a striker with power and technique, is Mir’s kryptonite. Dos Santos by TKO.

    WAGENHEIM: If Mir can take this fight to the ground, watch out. But how is he supposed to get Dos Santos off his feet? A more likely scenario: Mir goes to the mat all by himself, involuntarily. Dos Santos by KO.

    WERTHEIM: JDS has been a tornado to everyone else’s trailer park lately. Mir will seek to take the fight to the ground and grab a limb. That’s not his best chance; it’s his only chance. Dos Santos by TKO.

    Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva

    FOWLKES: Velasquez has a lot in common with the last man to beat Silva, not the least of which are the coaches at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. AKA teammate Daniel Cormier had little trouble putting his quickness to use against Silva’s size back in September, and I doubt Velasquez will either. Velasquez by decision.

    HUNT: Former UFC champ Velasquez has to be the favorite, even though he’s been nursing his knee back since last November’s loss to Dos Santos. Word out of Silva’s camp is he’s down to a svelte (for him) 270 pounds coming out of one of his best camps ever. Will Silva’s physicality be too much for Velasquez? I’m not so sure. Velasquez by TKO.

    WAGENHEIM: One punch last November transformed Velasquez from champion to under-the-radar second fiddle. A sure way for him to get noticed … and get a shot at his old belt: End this fight just as swiftly and suddenly. Velasquez by KO.

    WERTHEIM: Silva’s size is the X-factor (XXXL factor) that has enabled him to beat Fedor and succeed in Elite XC. Look for Velasquez, quicker to the punch and the better wrestler, to get back to winning. Velasquez by decision.
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  • Published On May 25, 2012
  • Alistair Overeem license request denied at Nevada athletic commission hearing

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    Alistair Overeem's license application was denied Tuesday in a meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. (Kari Hubert/Zuffa LLC)

    UFC heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem’s license application was denied by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday in Las Vegas, but the fighter will have the opportunity to re-apply again after Dec. 27, nine months from the date he submitted to a random drug test that revealed elevated testosterone in his system.

    Overeem, who’d been removed from a headlining bout against champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 on May 26 in Las Vegas by the event’s promoters last Friday, also denied allegations that he had fled the scene once the March 27 random drug testing had been announced following a UFC press conference. Overeem said he hadn’t been told of the testing until he was en route to his lawyer’s office and returned for the test after he was notified.

    After nearly three hours of testimony, the NSAC voted 4-0 to shorten the standard one-year waiting period for licensee denials, noting that Overeem and his legal team had presented a “superlative” explanation as to why Overeem’s testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio had come back at 14:1 — more than two times higher than the state’s allowable 6:1 threshold.

    David Chesnoff, Overeem’s Las Vegas-based attorney, initially asked for a 45- to 60-day continuance to fortify his client’s case, but the NSAC unanimously denied the request.

    Attorney Chesnoff told commissioners that the 31-year-old Dutch fighter’s T:E ratio had been heightened after he’d taken two anti-inflammatory shots provided to him by Dallas physician Dr. Hector Molina in January 2012. Dr. Molina had previously examined the fighter during Overeem’s application process with the Texas Dept. of Licensing and Regulation for a bout against Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce in June 2011.

    Chesnoff’s presentation focused on establishing a timeline to show that Overeem hadn’t taken the medication in the vicinity of a competitive bout and that he never intended it to give him a performance-enhancing edge.

    Under oath, Overeem said he’d sought out the physician on another fighter’s recommendation primarily for a re-aggravated rib injury while on the road for a promotional tour and was given a mixed shot for the pain on Jan. 12 in Molina’s office that was ultimately revealed to contain a steroid-based component.

    Overeem said he’d also self-injected a second shot from the same vial, given to him by Dr. Molina, on March 23 in Las Vegas under the physician’s direction — four days before the NSAC conducted its random tests. When asked, Overeem told the commission that he hadn’t asked Dr. Molina what was in the medication and the physician had never specified the shot contained steroid-based elements.

    However, in separate testimony, Dr. Molina said he’d used the trade name for an aqueous testosterone in the mixture, when describing the medication to the athlete. In later testimony, Dr. Molina admitted he wasn’t sure what names he’d used in describing the drug cocktail he gave the fighter.

    Throughout the testimony, both Overeem and his attorneys stated that the fighter had withdrawn from the UFC heavyweight title bout voluntarily, something that hasn’t been confirmed by the promotion to date. Overeem said he’d withdrawn from the bout to clear his name.

    – Loretta Hunt

  • Published On Apr 24, 2012
  • Stock Watch: UFC on Fox 1 an initial success

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    Junior dos Santos

    Junior dos Santos knocked out Cain Velasquez in just 64 seconds at UFC on Fox on Saturday. (AP)

    Out of the gate, UFC on Fox is looking very much like a hot stock.

    Initial ratings from Saturday’s broadcast indicated a modest success in viewership with an audience of 4.64 million viewers, a figure in the ballpark of the second CBS-televised fight-night that featured Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson. But Fox issued a release on Sunday stating 5.7 million households tuned in to watch Junior Dos Santos club Cain Velasquez to win the heavyweight title.

    The initial numbers for FOX said Saturday’s event was only second to ABC’s broadcast of the college football game between Oregon vs. Stanford in adults 18-49 and tied the game with a 7 share in that age group. FOX’s revised numbers projected it to win its time slot in adults 18-34, adults 18-49 and men 18-34. UFC on FOX also beat the numbers for the first MMA event on network television, the Kimbo Slice-led “EliteXC: Primetime,” FOX said.

    These are the demographics for which advertisers pay, and they complement FOX’s track record of success in attracting young viewers. The network said it didn’t have much trouble selling ad time for UFC on FOX, same as CBS didn’t for EliteXC when Slice or Fedor Emelianenko or Gina Carano was involved. They were sellouts, and that spells longevity.

    But it also brings us to a key question moving forward. Will the numbers garnered by a high-profile fight such as Velasquez vs. Dos Santos still hold when a title isn’t at stake, or when the wattage of an event’s marquee stars is lower? CBS saw a steep drop-off in ratings in cards not packaged with bankable properties such as Slice and Fedor.

    This much is sure: The promotion leading into UFC on FOX is a tremendously encouraging sign. The network pushed the show in a big way. What we’ll find out now is whether FOX’s stellar support is enough to drive viewers to future UFC events broadcast on the network. It’s a tough market out there. MMA fans have become choosy with all the product to watch.

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  • Published On Nov 14, 2011
  • Three thoughts on UFC on Fox 1

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    Junior Dos Santos

    Junior Dos Santos scored a first-round knockout of Cain Velasquez in 64 seconds. (Jason Redmond/AP)

    What does the Ultimate Fighting Championship look like on live network television? We got a taste of it Saturday when Fox aired the UFC heavyweight championship between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. For fight fans, this was a pinnacle moment — a chance to share the very best of the sport they love with co-workers, friends and family who’d never watched it before. The fight lasted only 64 seconds, but there was much more than that to glean from this historical broadcast. Here are my observations …

    Strong start out of the blocks

    Fox Sports Media Group CEO David Hill wasn’t kidding when he told reporters earlier this week the network would add a cheeky viewer warning to the telecast. You knew you were going to be watching something different when Fox flashed this at the top of the hour:

    “The following might be the most exciting live sporting event in the history of television, and it’s our duty to say: VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.”

    Well played, Fox.

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  • Published On Nov 13, 2011