Junior Dos Santos earns UFC heavyweight title shot
Junior Dos Santos impressively earned a heavyweight title shot Saturday night, dominating former title challenger Shane Carwin in the Ultimate Fighting Championship 131 main event in Vancouver, Canada.
Dos Santos (13-1) was awarded a November or December crack at unbeaten UFC champion Cain Velasquez, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.
“I’m coming for you,” Dos Santos told Velasquez in the Rogers Arena octagon after beating Carwin by judges’ scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-26.
“I’m excited to fight someone like this,” Velasquez answered.
Dos Santos bloodied Carwin in the final minute of the first round by exposing Carwin’s inability to stop a jab. That jab set up a powerful right-left by Dos Santos that dropped Carwin to the canvas.
Attacking wounded prey, Dos Santos unleashed a flurry of rights and a wicked barrage of lefts to the head of Carwin (12-2) that left the former title challenger a bloody mess.
Dos Santos looked to referee Herb Dean to stop the fight, but Dean declined in the final 15 seconds.
Carwin waved at Dos Santos before the second round, but the clearly fresher Brazilian went back to work with the jabs, which set up a hard body shot in the round’s closing seconds.
Dos Santos’ corner told him between rounds to keep controlling the fight, relying on the jab. Carwin had a bad gash under his right eye and on his nose.
Carwin, substituting for the ailing Brock Lesnar (diverticulitis), opened the third going for a takedown. Dos Santos was back on his feet, jabbing. Carwin’s attempts to press the action led him to absorb more jabs.
At the 1:20 mark, referee Dean asked a ringside doctor to inspect Carwin and inquire if he could see. His peripheral vision was deemed OK.
Dos Santos then took down Carwin, pouncing to land a right. Dos Santos produced one more takedown at the final bell.
Earlier, Boston’s Kenny Florian became the first UFC fighter to participate in a fourth weight class by taking on Diego Nunes in a featherweight (145 pounds) bout. Florian has fought as high as 185 pounds.
Florian bloodied the back of Nunes’ head in the second round with an elbow, and claimed a unanimous decision.
“I started at above 180 pounds, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Florian said.
Also, middleweight Mark Munoz of Vallejo beat former title challenger Demian Maia of Brazil by decision and Temecula heavyweight Dave Herman (21-2) rallied impressively to defeat Norway’s John-Olav Einemo by second-round technical knockout.
Pugmire reported from Los Angeles.
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