"My plan was to wrestle, (but) my coaches had a different game plan, which was, 'Hit him in the face,'" Nelson said. "Guess it worked. Clearly my hands have dynamite in them, or small rocks or whatever."
Nelson had lost three of his previous four fights, including decisions to Dos Santos and Mir. But the portly, heavily bearded heavyweight — who bills himself as a kung fu fighter — is consistently popular and entertaining.
Miocic (9-0), a firefighter and EMT from Cleveland, survived a back-and-forth first round before taking control in the second, taking down the previously unbeaten Del Rosario and finishing him off with ground-and-pound elbows.
Del Rosario (11-1) had a severe cut over his right eye and a bloody face after his UFC debut and his first fight in 15 months. The Orange County fighter recovered from a back injury sustained when his car was hit by a drunk driver last year.
Struve finished Johnson with an armbar just 1:05 into their bout. The 6-foot-11 Dutchman who has lost to Dos Santos and Nelson celebrated his third straight win, while Johnson, the veteran Strikeforce fighter who beat Pat Barry just three weeks earlier, struggled after stepping in as an injury replacement for Australia's Mark Hunt.
Early on the UFC 146 card, veteran lightweight Jamie Varner upset previously unbeaten Edson Barboza, stopping the touted Brazilian prospect with a long series of blows to the head. Varner, the former WEC lightweight champion who was released from that promotion after an 0-3-1 skid, made the most of his chance to be an injury replacement for Evan Dunham in his first UFC fight since March 2007.
Jason "Mayhem" Miller lost a lackluster decision to middleweight C.B. Dollaway, possibly ending the television host's MMA career. Miller (24-10), who has won just three of his last eight fights, previously said he would retire if he didn't beat Dollaway, who largely controlled the bout on the ground after Miller won the first round.
A collection of celebrities including Charlize Theron, MC Hammer and many NFL players, including Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, attended the show in the UFC's hometown.
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