Rising star Cain Velasquez defeated the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in dominating fashion in the main event of UFC 110 on Saturday to secure a spot as a top contender for the UFC heavyweight title.
The two ground specialists exchanged in a brief standup battle in the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. Velasquez landed a combo, which sent Nogueira to the canvas and he quickly followed up with vicious ground and pound that left Nogueria unconscious. Referee Herb Dean called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the contest at 2:20 in the first round.
“We’ll see what happens with Mir and Carwin – see who wins that – and if the guys come out unscathed, they’ll fight for the title,” said UFC president Dana White at the post-fight press conference. ”If not, then Cain Velasquez will get that spot.”
Velasquez’s performance earned him “Knockout of the Night” honors along with a $50,000 bonus.
The co-main event featured another legendary brazilian fighter and Pride FC champion in Wanderlei Silva, who squared off against Michael Bisping. The contest saw both fighters standing and exchanging for the majority of the fight.
Bisping took Silva down several times in the first and second rounds, but was unable to keep him down once on the ground. Silva caught him in a tight arm-in guillotine off of a Bisping takedown attempt with about 15 seconds left in the second round, but was unable to force a tap.
Bisping landed two fouls which briefly stopped the action in the middle of the third round: first a kick to the cup of Silva and then a finger to the eye. Silva took the offensive, coming out swinging for the fences in the last two minutes of the fight. Silva rushed Bisping and landed a right hook to drop him just before the final bell.
Silva was awarded a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the contest 29-28 in his favor.
Bisping disagreed with the official decision. “It’s a close fight, but personally, I thought I won rounds one and two,” he said during the post-fight conference. He also stated that he would love a rematch with Silva in the future.
Australian native George Sotiropoulos defeated Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision in a thrilling and extremely technical match. Sotiropoulos controlled the fight on the feet, dropping Stevenson in the second and put him in several dangerous situations on the ground utilizing his superior submission game.
All three judges scored the contest 30-27 in a dominant victory for Sotiropoulos. The match was named the “Fight of the Night” and earned both fighters a $50,000 bonus.
The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Ryan Bader took down and controlled Keith Jardine on the ground in the first round of the second main-card fight. Jardine controlled the second round with strong punches and leg kicks and was able to stuff the takedown attempts of Bader.
Bader landed a right hand that hurt Jardine in the third and quickly followed up with a flying knee to the body and a left hook, which dropped Jardine to the canvas. Referee Josh Rosenthal called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the fight at 2:10 of the third round.
In the first main card fight Croatian legend and Pride FC champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic faced overmatched Australian native Anthony Perosh. Cro Cop was originally scheduled to face former IFL champion Ben Rothwell who was forced to withdraw just days before the event due to illness. Perosh took the fight on two days notice.
Cro Cop controlled the fight, landing devastating strikes in the standup and denying Perosh’s numerous takedown attempts. Perosh continually went for the takedown only to end up in Cro Cops sprawl and to receive brutal ground and pound.
Cro Cop landed a powerful elbow from inside the guard, opening up a cut above Perosh’s eye with about a minute left in the second round. Cro Cop was awarded a TKO (cut) victory at the end of the second round after a dominant performance.
The “Submission of the Night” along with a $50,000 bonus was awarded to Chris Lytle who countered a takedown from Brian Foster to lock in a kneebar, putting an end to the preliminary card bout at 1:41 of the first round.
UFC 110 marked the organizations first trip to Australia and proved extremely successful for the UFC. The event saw the second-fastest ticket sell-out in the 16-year history of the UFC. Dana White announced his intentions to return, to Melbourne, Australia for an event in 2011, during the post-fight press conference.