The US Airways Center in Phoenix on Saturday played host to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and those in attendance at UFC on Fox 13 certainly got their money’s worth.
The heavyweight headliner between Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic proved to be one of the better big-boy scraps of the year, and the rest of the card was littered with thrilling stoppages and entertaining brawls that went the distance.
Ushered to the cage by Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now,” Dos Santos held off the hungry Miocic for a unanimous decision after five grueling rounds. The seminal theme song from “Rocky” perfectly suited the former champion, as he fought through adversity, battled through substantial damage to his face and slugged with Miocic throughout the 25-minute fight. Miocic chose “D3MONS” as his walkout tune, and even though he wound up on the wrong side of the final verdict, the 32-year-old likely exorcised the remaining demons from a fickle media hesitant to label him an elite heavyweight.
In the co-main event, popular and polarizing lightweight Nate Diaz was far from a “Hellrazor,” as he dropped every round to Rafael dos Anjos. Diaz’s lead leg was abused by kicks from the Brazilian, and there were times where it seemed like he had no interest in being in the cage. Dos Anjos kept his name in play for a title shot at 155 pounds with a third straight victory.
Meanwhile, former heavyweight title contender Gabriel Gonzaga walked to his latest battle with Danzig’s popular hard rock song “Mother,” only to be met by a left hook from “Simple Man” Matt Mitrione, resulting in a stoppage in less than two minutes. The 36-year-old Mitrione has rattled off three consecutive first-round finishes, emerging as an intriguing threat in a division starved for new blood.
By all accounts, Jamie Varner had a splendid MMA career. He captured the World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight championship and scored a number of memorable wins: His stunning upset against previously unbeaten former Ring of Combat champion Edson Barboza comes to mind. The Arizona Combat Sports-MMA Lab representative called it quits after submitting to a rear-naked choke from Drew Dober; Varner knocked himself silly when he struck his head on the mat following a failed lateral drop, opening the door for the choke. It led to his fourth consecutive loss, but Varner made sure with his past performances that the MMA world would “Remember the Name.”
UFC ON FOX 13 WALKOUT SONGSJunior dos Santos: Bill Conti “Gonna Fly Now” │ Rocky Soundtrack | 1976
Stipe Miocic: Machine Gun Kelly feat. DMX “D3MONS” │ Lace It Up | 2012
Rafael dos Anjos: MC Sapao “O Grito de um Guerreiro”│ Sapao Original | 2012
Nate Diaz: 2Pac “Hellrazor” │ R U Still Down? (Remember Me) | 1997
Stefan Struve: Godsmack “Cryin’ Like a Bitch” │ The Oracle | 2010
Matt Mitrione: Lynyrd Skynyrd “Simple Man” │ (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-’nérd ‘Skin-’nérd) | 1973
Gabriel Gonzaga: Danzig “Mother” │ Danzig | 1988
Joanna Jedrzejczyk: Rena Gosc Gutek “Przejmij Ster w Swoje Dlonie” │ Single | 2013
Claudia Gadelha: Alicia Keys “Girl On Fire” │ Girl On Fire | 2012
Willie Gates: Jay-Z and Kanye West “Who Gon’ Stop Me” │ Watch the Throne | 2013
Ben Saunders: Ludacris “Grew Up a Screwup” │ Release Therapy | 2006
Joe Riggs: Eminem “Cinderella Man” │ Recovery | 2010
Drew Dober: Wild Cherry “Play That Funky Music” │ Wild Cherry | 1976
Jamie Varner: Fort Minor “Remember the Name” │ Remember the Name | 2005
Ian Entwistle: Avicii “Wake Me Up”│ True | 2013
Anthony Birchak: White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” │ Elephant |2003
Henry Cejudo: Marc Anthony “Vivir Mi Vida” │ 3.0 | 2013
Dustin Kimura: Bobby Shmurda “Hot Nigga” │ Shmurda She Wrote | 2014
David Michaud: Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” │ 1989 | 2014
Bryan Barberena: House of Pain “Jump Around” │ House of Pain | 1992
Joe Ellenberger: U2 “Beautiful Day” │ All That You Can’t Leave Behind | 2000
John Moraga: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” │ Creepin’ on ah Come Up | 1998