ANAHEIM, Calif. – The UFC’s long-awaited network-television debut lasted a mere 64 seconds.
In the first of what will be regular events on FOX, Junior Dos Santos connected with an overhand right that set up a first-round TKO victory over reigning UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
The fight headlined the landmark UFC on FOX event, which took place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The bout, which was a teaser of a seven-year UFC-FOX deal that officially kicks off in 2012, was perhaps the most hyped fight in UFC history. Could Brazilian fighter Dos Santos, one of the most well-rounded heavyweight fighters in recent MMA history, withstand the wrestling and knockout power of Velasquez, who returned from a yearlong layoff?
Dos Santos answered those questions in emphatic fashion.
After trading some early punches, Velasquez caught a kick, and the former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler appeared as though he’d take the fight to the mat. But Dos Santos scrambled free, and moments later, he connected on a big overhand right that caught the champ right above his ear.
Velasquez tumbled to the mat, and Dos Santos unloaded a flurry of follow-up punches to force a TKO stoppage just 64 seconds after the five-round title fight began.
“I have no words to say what I’m feeling,” a tear-eyed Dos Santos said. “Cain Velasquez for sure was my toughest opponent. I was afraid to fight with him because he’s very tough. I wasn’t 100 percent for this fight, so I was scared.”
Velasquez, a California-based fighter who was the clear crowd favorite, apologized to family, friends and fans.
“I will come back, and I will get this belt back for sure,” said the ex-titleholder, who had been shelved for 13 months after tearing his rotator cuff in his October 2010 championship win.
Dos Santos (14-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) runs his win streak to nine fights and next will meet the winner of a year-end UFC 141 headliner between ex-champ Brock Lesnar and former Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem.
Velasquez (9-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) suffers the first loss of his career.
The official UFC on FOX results include:
- Junior Dos Santos def. Cain Velasquez via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:04 – becomes new heavyweight champ
- Ben Henderson def. Clay Guida via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- Dustin Poirier def. Pablo Garza via submission (D’arce choke) – Round 2, 1:32
- Ricardo Lamas def. Cub Swanson via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:16
- DaMarques Johnson def. Clay Harvison via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:34
- Darren Uyenoyama def. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
- Robert Peralta def. Mackens Semerzier via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 1:54
- Alex Caceres def. Cole Escovedo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mike Pierce def. Paul Bradley via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Aaron Rosa def. Matt Lucas via majority decision (28-28, 30-26, 30-26)