VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) ? Junior Dos Santos bloodied Shane Carwin to win a dominant decision at UFC 131 on Saturday night, earning a shot at heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Twenty-two of their 26 combined fights had ended in the first round so no one was expecting a marathon. And Dos Santos (13-1) almost finished Carwin in the first, with a barrage of unanswered blows.
But Carwin (12-2) stayed up and the Brazilian made him pay, using his superior striking to batter Carwin’s face.
The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 30-26 for Dos Santos, who already is looking forward to his next fight.
“Cain, I’m coming for you,” he said.
“I’m excited,” said Velasquez, who entered the cage after the fight.
Kenny Florian won his debut at featherweight with a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 decision over highly touted Brazilian Diego Nunes in the co-main event at Rogers Arena. Florian fought a smart fight, using his size and versatility to frustrate the flashy Nunes.
The Boston native was clearly the villain of the night, stemming from his Bruins jersey at the weigh-in. Vancouver faces Boston in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night, and the crowd chanted “Go Canucks Go” and jeered Florian during the fight.
“Despite the boos, I love you Vancouver,” said Florian (16-5), who became the first UFC fighter to compete in four weight classes.
Carwin had not fought since last July, sidelined by neck surgery. Dos Santos’ last bout was in August. He had served as a coach on the UFC’s reality show.
Dos Santos had been set to meet Brock Lesnar but the former title-holder was sidelined by diverticulitis.
Dos Santos stuffed two Carwin takedown attempts in the first and began to find his striking range as the round neared a close. He put Carwin down with a right-left-right combo, then threw more than 40 punches at his downed opponent. But Carwin continued.
Dos Santos used kicks in the second round, looking to set up his crisp punches. Carwin caught him with a left but Dos Santos ignored it, moving away to set up his next attack.
Carwin managed an early takedown in the third, but Dos Santos got right back up and started punching again.
Canadians went 3-1 on the undercard, including lightweight Sam Stout’s knockout against veteran Yves Edwards.
Stout connected with a left hook in the first round and Edwards toppled backward. Stout (15-4-1) went to follow up, but held back when he saw Edwards was motionless.
Edwards (40-17-1) eventually got up on a stool to the applause of the crowd but needed a helping hand as he was led away.
“That is one of the nastiest KO’s I have EVER seen!!!!” UFC president Dana White posted on his Twitter account.
The 27-year-old Stout, who is from London, Ontario, celebrated the victory with a backflip in the cage.
The card started less than 24 hours after the Canucks beat Boston 1-0 at Rogers Arena to move within one victory of their first Stanley Cup title.
Also on the undercard, Mark Munoz had to work hard for a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 decision over Demian Maia in a back-and-forth middleweight fight. Krzysztof Soszynski earned a 30-27, 30-26, 30-27 decision against Mike Massenzio, and Calgary middleweight Nick Ring stopped James Head in the third round.