Saturday, 29 December 2012 10:08
Crowd looked to be in the 2,500 to 3,000 range. It didn't have the vibe of a super big how or big match, but wasn't bad either. The biggest crowd reactions from a positive standpoint were for Cain Velasquez and Chris Leben. Junior Dos Santos was booed a lot. My sense was it wasn't that they didn't like Dos Santos as much as they liked Velasquez. I wouldn't have expected it to be like this and it wasn't like the crowd was heavily Hispanic, either.
Dos Santos weighed 239, the same as last year's fight, but he looked bigger in the arms and shoulders, a little more cut as well. Velasquez weighed 240, down from 249 a year ago. He's lighter than in most of his recent fights and smaller as well. Does that mean he did less lifting, or did more cardio, and how that impacts the fight, it's hard to say. Both camps say that their guys came in with no injuries, but you know how that goes. But it's not like last year at weigh-ins where you could see with Velasquez that something was amiss.
There are a lot of evenly booked matches, but not a deep lineup when it comes to big name stars. Pickett vs. Wineland, Okami vs. Belcher and Boetsch vs. Philippou are fairly even matchups and even Miller vs. Lauzon I could see going either way.
No fireworks at the weigh-ins. Dos Santos and Velasquez said nothing bad about the other. It's not in their nature. There was a heated standoff after the Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner fight. It was initiated by Guillard and Varner wanted no part of it and walked offstage. Guillard seemed quite unhappy to have to cut weight twice in this short a period of time.
Facebook fights starting at 6:30 p.m.
Chris Cariaso (14-3, 125) vs. John Moraga (11-1, 126)
Leonard Garcia (19-9-1, 146) vs. Max Holloway (6-1 145)
Phil De Fries (9-1, 1 no contest, 245) vs. Todd Duffee (7-2, 249)
FX fights at 8 p.m.
Michael Johnson (13-6, 154) vs. Myles Jury (10-0, 155)
Melvin Guillard (47-12-3, 1 no contest, 155) vs. Jamie Varner (20-7-1, 2 no contests, 155)
Erik Perez (12-4, 136) vs. Byron Bloodworth (6-2, 136)
Brad Pickett (23-6, 136) vs. Eddie Wineland (19-8-1, 135)
PPV fights at 10 p.m.
Chris Leben (22-8, 185) vs. Derek Brunson (9-2, 185)
Yushin Okami (26-7, 184) vs. Alan Belcher (17-5, 186)
Tim Boetsch (16-4, 186) vs. Costa Philippou (11-2, 1 no contest, 186)
Jim Miller (21-4, 156) vs. Joe Lauzon (22-7, 156)
Junior Dos Santos (15-1,. 239) vs. Cain Velasquez (10-1, 240)