The UFC has finally touched ground in Arizona as they brought  fight fans around the world UFC on FOX 13 live from the U.S. Airway Center in Downtown Phoenix on Saturday, December 13.

The headlining act of the event was a matchup that had violence written all over it as former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos made his long-awaited return from injury against the surging Stipe Miocic.

Dos Santos (16-3) had not been seen inside the Octagon e since suffering a one-sided beatdown at the hands of current UFC heavyweight champion, and longtime rival, Cain Velasquez in their title fight at UFC 166 last October. He was originally scheduled to face Miocic in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale before a broken hand forced him to withdraw from the bout. He entered this bout with 12 career knockout victories and a UFC record of 10-2.

Miocic (12-1) was coming off a violent first round knockout over dos Santos’ replacement Fabio Maldonado. Prior to this win the the Cleveland based Croatian scored back-to-back decision wins over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga.  He entered this bout with eight career knockout victories and a UFC record of 6-1.

Also appearing on the card was the return of the polorizing Nate Diaz as he squared off against Rafael Dos Anjos in the co-main event.

Diaz (17-9), winner of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter, had not stepped inside the octagon since his first round TKO victory over Gray Maynard in the main event of TUF 18 Finale in November 2013, which earned a Knockout of the Night bonus in the process. Since then he had spent the last year in the middle of a contract dispute with the UFC. He entered this bout with 11 career submission victories,  eight of which have come under the UFC banner. Dos Anjos (22-7), who had won of seven of his last eight bouts, was coming off of a the biggest win of his career in the form of a first round knockout over former champion Benson Henderson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 49 in June. Prior to this win, fans saw the Brazilian’s five fight win streak snapped after suffering a unanimous decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. He entered this bout with eight career submission victories.

The rest of the main card featured a pair of heavyweight matchups as former K-1, Dream and Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem looked to get back into the win column against fellow Dutchman Stefan Struve, while TUF 10 alumni Matt Mitrione met former title contender Gabriel Gonzaga on the first bout of the card.



Junior dos Santos def. Stipe Miocic by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
Rafael dos Anjos def. Nate Diaz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alistair Overeem def. Stefan Struve by TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:13
Matt Mitrione def. Gabriel Gonzaga by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:59


Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Claudia Gadelha by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
John Moraga def. Willie Gates by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 4:06
Ben Saunders def. Joe Riggs by submission (injury). Round 1, 0:57
Drew Dober def. Jamie Varner by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 1:52
Derek Brunson vs. Ed Herman – Brunson pulled out due to food poisoning.
Bryan Barberena  def. Joe Ellenberger by TKO (ground-and-pound). Round 3, 3:24

DIGITAL PRELIM CARD- UFC Fight Pass, 3:30 p.m. ET
David Michaud def. Garett Whiteley by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Henry Cejudo def. Dustin Kimura by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ian Entwistle def. Anthony Birchak by submission (heel hook). Round 1, 1:04

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on, and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.