On Saturday, Oct. 19, the UFC will host UFC 166: Velasquez vs. dos Santos III from the Toyota Center in Houston.

In the night’s main event, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will clash with former champion Junior dos Santos for a third time. Dos Santos knocked out Velasquez in just 64 seconds in the pair’s first meeting in November of 2011, but Velasquez got revenge in December of last year with a dominant decision win over the Brazilian. Now the pair will look to close out one of the most intriguing trilogies in recent memory with the belt up for grabs once more.

Also on the main card, former Olympian Daniel Cormier will look to keep his perfect record intact against Ultimate Fighter winner Roy Nelson, former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will take on another TUF winner in Diego Sanchez, Brazilian heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga takes on Shawn Jordan, and former flyweight title challenger John Dodson welcomes Darrell Montague to the promotion.

The 13-fight event will kick off at 6 p.m. ET with four bouts streaming on the promotion’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Four additional bouts will follow on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, with the five-fight, pay-per-view main card starting at 10 p.m. ET.

Velasquez stops dos Santos, retains heavyweight title

Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez retained his belt in a lopsided performance against former champion Junior dos Santos, scoring a fifth-round TKO.

The former champion dos Santos wasted little time delivering a huge shot that wobbled Velasquez. Velasquez immediately shot for a takedown, but was rocked once more. Velasquez briefly got the fight to the ground, but was unable to keep it there. Velasquez pressed the fight against the cage and again put the Brazilian on his back. Velasquez dropped short shots, but dos Santos was able to the fence to get back his feet at the end of the frame.

Velasquez landed a left hand and a big knee to start round two. Dos Santos again found himself with his back pressed against the cage, but largely avoided the punches of Velasquez. Every time that dos Santos was able to create space, Velasquez closed the distance and brought the fight back to the fence. Dos Santos used a whizzer to score a takedown, but Velasquez quickly stood and landed a big right hand. Dos Santos searched for his overhand right late in the round, connecting just as the bell sounded.

Round three opened with another big right hand from dos Santos. Velasquez took it well and continued to pin dos Santos along the cage. The Brazilian again created space and landed a straight right, but Velasquez transitioned to a single-leg attempt to halt the advance. Velasquez delivered the biggest shot of the fight—a massive right hand—that sent dos Santos crashing to the mat. Velasquez flurried and referee Herb Dean nearly halted the bout, but dos Santos was able to get back to his feet. Velasquez unloaded along the fence, but could find a finish before the bell.

Velasquez picked up where he left off in the fourth round, battering dos Santos along the cage. Dos Santos showed heart to fight through the assault, but his face was badly swollen and bloodied. Despite the heavy damage, dos Santos fired back with a big uppercut. Herb Dean called in the doctor to check on the Brazilian, but the fight was allowed to continue. Dos Santos landed a short elbow, but Velasquez continued to close the distance. The face of dos Santos poured blodd as the round ended.

The final round opened with both men swinging for the fences. Velasquez ducked under a right hand and scored with a takedown in the center of the cage. Dos Santos looked for a triangle off his back, but the blood prevented it. The Brazilian got to the fence and worked back to his feet, but Velasquez continued to stick to him. Dos Santos looked for short elbows from close quarters, but he could not slow Velasquez’s advance. Dos Santos attacked with a modified guillotine attempt from the standing position and as Velasquez dropped to the mat, dos Santos landed straight on his head. The impact was enough for referee Herb Dean to halt the bout, allowing Velasquez to retain his title.

Cormier cruises past Nelson

Heavyweight Daniel Cormier remained undefeated, cruising past hard-hitting Roy Nelson to claim a unanimous decision win.

Cormier dropped under a jab from Nelson and latched onto a single-leg takedown. Cormier controlled Nelson with a cradle and delivered short shots near the cage. Nelson used a standing kimura to get free from Cormier’s control, but only temporarily. A low blow from Cormier briefly halted the action. When the fight restarted, Nelson chased Cormier with his overhand right, but failed to connect before the round ended.

In the second stanza, Cormier’s footwork and head movement appeared to frustrate Nelson. Cormier continued to flick his jab and change levels to prevent Nelson from getting into rhythm on the feet. Nelson was able to stuff a takedown attempt along the fence, but Cormier continued to land with more frequency until the round concluded.

Nelson knew he was down on the scorecards to enter the third and he pushed forward. Cormier scored with a counter right hand and was able to avoid Nelson’s advance. Cormier fired a spinning back kick, followed by a spinning back fist, ending with a front kick that backed Nelson up. A big right hand from Cormier landed and he tossed Nelson to the mat. Nelson bounced back to his feet, but could not mount any offense in the final minute of the fight.

Melendez outlasts Sanchez in fight of the year candidate

Former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez put on a show that no one will forget anytime soon. The back-and-forth battle ended with Melendez claiming a unanimous decision, but Sanchez came close to ending the fight in the final frame.

Sanchez rushed across the cage to engage with Melendez as the fight began. Melendez threw a head kick that Sanchez caught and he dumped Melendez to the mat. Sanchez quickly took Melendez’s back while standing, but Melendez escaped. Melendez opened up with his hands, landing his right hand to the body of Sanchez. The overhand right of Melendez found its mark over and over again, opening up a cut over the left eye of Sanchez. Sanchez connected with a big body kick that in the round that seemed to stun Melendez, but he was able to rock Sanchez with a punch just before the bell.

The second round kicked off with a big exchange that saw both fighters land heavy punches. The cut over Sanchez’s left eye prompted the doctor to make a brief visit to the cage, but the fight continued. Sanchez missed on a kick and Melendez followed him to the mat with hammerfists. Back on the feet, Melendez ripped a combination to the body and head, slowing Sanchez’s advance. Sanchez scored with a takedown, but Melendez bounced right back to his feet as the round closed.

In the final round, both fighters threw caution to the wind. It was heavy shot after heavy shot from both men. Melendez’s punches continued to land on Sanchez’s cut, prompting a second check from the doctor. When the fight continued, Sanchez delivered a massive uppercut that put Melendez on the ground. Sanchez latched onto a guillotine choke, but Melendez escaped and returned to the feet. The fighters traded shots until the final bell, as the crowd erupted in delight.

Gonzaga crushes Jordan

Brazilian heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga continued to climb the ranks in his second stint with the promotion, stopping Shawn Jordan with strikes early in round one.

The veteran Gonzaga opened with leg kicks and peppered with his jab. Jordan smiled as he ate the jabs. Jordan barreled forward with a jab-cross combination, but Gonzaga countered with a vicious right hook that buckled the legs of Jordan. Gonzaga smelled blood, pouncing with heavy shots and turning out the lights on Jordan just 90 seconds into the fight.

Dodson knocks out Montague

Recent flyweight title challenger John Dodson got back in the win column by knocking out promotional newcomer Darrell Montague.

Dodson scored early with a big left hand, but Montague took it well. Montague pressed forward and Dodson delivered a short right hand. The pair traded leg kicks, as they looked to find their distance. Dodson found his first, connecting with a big overhand left that dropped Montague. Dodson flurried, but Montague dove for a single-leg takedown and was able to recover. Late in the round, Dodson delivered a straight left that caused Montague to faceplant, forcing the referee to call off the bout.

Preliminary Card Summary

The final bout of the preliminary card was a grueling affair between middleweight Tim Boetsch and C.B. Dollaway. Boetsch marched forward from the very beginning, but Dollaway was able to score from range. Dollaway taunted Boetsch from distance, but the fight remained close. In round two, Dollaway scored with takedowns, but did little from the top. The final round saw Dollaway twice poke Boetsch in the eye, prompting the referee to deduct a point. However, in the end it would not matter as two of the three judges scored the fight in Boetsch’s favor for the split decision win.

In his welterweight debut, former Bellator champion Hector Lombard knocked out former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt. After a brief feeling out process, Lombard connected with a right hand that wobbled Marquardt. Marquardt tried to circle away, but Lombard delivered a second right and a short left that sent Marquardt to the mat. A few hammerfists later, the referee peeled Lombard off Marquardt.

Two debuting bantamweights put on a technical striking clinic as Jessica Eye edged former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman by split decision. The women went to war from the opening bell, exchanging crisp punches and throwing short shots from inside the clinch. Eye’s hand speed was the difference in the opening two rounds, as she battered Kaufman’s face. Kaufman answered back in round three, landing multiple right hands. In the end, two of the three judges felt Eye had done enough, handing her the decision victory.

Former EliteXC champion K.J. Noons picked up his first Octagon win with a unanimous decision victory over Australia’s George Sotiropoulos. The two lightweights started slowly, but finished the opening stanza with a wild flurry. That set the tone for the final two rounds as the pair traded shots on the feet for the majority of the contest. Noons landed the better shots, convincing the judges to give him the victory.

Welterweight Adlan Amagov showcased great balance and powerful striking en route to a first-round knockout win over submission specialist T.J. Waldburger. After a brief feeling out process, Waldburger desperately tried to get the fight to the mat. Amagov shrugged off the attempts and landed a huge uppercut, left hook combination that sent Waldburger crashing to the canvas. A few follow-up shots and Waldburger was out cold.

Returning from a 17-month absence, Ultimate Fighter winner Tony Ferguson got the better of TUF Live competitor Mike Rio with a first-round D’arce choke. Rio looked to get the fight to the ground from the opening bell, but Ferguson kept the fight standing. A big left hook from Ferguson put Rio on rubber legs and Ferguson quickly latched onto his neck and forced the tap.

Stepping in on just 10 days notice, Andre Fili earned his first Octagon win with a dominant performance over Ultimate Fighter veteran Jeremy Larsen. Fili opened the fight very aggressively, rocking Larsen with a right hand and following it with a series of knees that opened a massive cut on Larsen’s forehead. The doctor’s let Larsen continue, but Fili delivered another huge shot early in the second round that put Larsen down for good.

Newcomer Kyogi Horiguchi overcame a tough first round against TUF alum Dustin Pague, scoring a second-round TKO. Pague attacked early in the fight, taking Horiguchi’s back and threatening with a rear-naked choke. The Japanese fighter was patient and managed to escape. In round two, Horiguchi came out swinging, rocking Pague with a pair of left hooks before getting the finish with vicious ground and pound.

FULL RESULTS
Cain Velasquez def. Junior Dos Santos by TKO (strikes). Round 5, 3:09 – for heavyweight title
Daniel Cormier def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Gilbert Melendez def. Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Gabriel Gonzaga def. Shawn Jordan by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:33
John Dodson def. Darrell Montague by knockout (punch). Round 1, 4:13
Tim Boetsch def. C.B. Dollaway by split decision (30-26, 27-29, 30-26)
Hector Lombard def. Nate Marquardt by knockout (punches). Round 1, 1:48
Jessica Eye def. Sarah Kaufman by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
K.J. Noons def. George Sotiropoulos by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Adlan Amagov def. T.J. Waldburger by knockout (punches). Round 1, 3:45
Tony Ferguson def. Mike Rio by submission (D’arce choke). Round 1, 1:52
Andre Fili def. Jeremy Larsen by TKO (punches). Round 2, 0:53
Kyogi Horiguchi def. Dustin Pague by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 3:51

Photo: Cain Velasquez (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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