SEATTLE (AP) _ People with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday that investor Chris Hansen has contacted the Maloof family about buying the Sacramento Kings.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no deal has been reached.
One person says the Kings could sell for more than $500 million. The Kings' future in Sacramento has been uncertain because the Maloofs and the city haven't been able to come up with a long-term arena solution.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the discussions between the Kings and Hansen. Yahoo! reported a possible sale could land the Kings in Seattle for the 2013-14 season.
Hansen reached agreement with local governments in Seattle last October on plans to build a $490 million arena near the city's other stadiums: CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field. As part of the agreement, no construction will begin until all environmental reviews are completed and a team has been secured.
Hansen's group is expected to pitch in $290 million in private investment toward the arena, along with helping to pay for transportation improvements in the area around the stadiums. The plans also call for the arena to be able to handle a future NHL franchise. The remaining $200 million in public financing would be paid back with rent money and admissions taxes from the arena, and if that money falls short, Hansen would be responsible for making up the rest. Other investors in the proposed arena include Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and two members of the Nordstrom department store family.
The NBA had no comment. Representatives for Hansen did not return messages seeking comment. Any franchise looking to relocate must submit their plans to the NBA by March 1 and the move must be approved by the league.
``As we have said for nearly a year, we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the Sacramento Kings franchise,'' Maloof family spokesman Eric Rose said when contacted Wednesday by the AP.
The Kings' asking price would top the NBA-record $450 million the Golden State Warriors sold for in July 2010. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, tweeted Wednesday afternoon, ``Bottom line Sacramento: it's not over.''
News of the discussions came a day after officials in Virginia Beach, Va., announced they were dropping their efforts to build a new arena. Virginia Beach was thought to be a relocation option for the Kings.
The Maloofs backed out of a tentative $391 million deal for a new downtown arena with Sacramento last year, reigniting fears the franchise could relocate. Johnson and the Kings broke off all negotiations in the summer.
In 2011, the Kings appeared determined to move to Anaheim before Johnson convinced the NBA to give the city one last chance to help finance an arena. At one point, Johnson seemed so certain the team was gone he called the process a ``slow death'' and compared the city's efforts to keep the Kings a ``Hail Mary.''
Johnson made a desperate pitch to the NBA Board of Governors last April, promising league owners the city would find a way to help finance a new arena to replace the team's current outdated suburban facility. He also bought time by presenting more than $10 million in commitments for new advertising, ticket purchases and other financial support from regional businesses for this season.
The NBA's relocation committee, headed by Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett _ who moved the team now known as the Thunder from Seattle in 2008 _ recommended that the league give the city a shot to follow through and handed down a March 1 deadline to come up with a plan to help finance an arena. Johnson delivered the agreement on March 1 to send the plan to the City Council.
On the night of March 6, 2012, the Sacramento City Council passed a deal _ brokered by the NBA and with the blessing of Commissioner David Stern _ for a new downtown arena. A sea of supporters packed the grounds for the vote, which seemingly saved the Kings from relocation.
Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof also attended the meeting. He thanked the council and said his family looked forward to working with the city to finalize plans that would keep the franchise in Sacramento for at least another 30 years.
The Maloofs broke off talks with Johnson and the city over the summer. The Kings have said the deal didn't make financial sense for the franchise.
NEW YORK (AP) _ They walked into a Manhattan hotel, knowing they were running out of time to save their season.
After 16 hours of tense talks, the NHL and its players finally achieved their elusive deal early Sunday morning, finding a way to restart a sport desperate to regain momentum and boost its prominence.
Ending a bitter dispute that wiped out a large part of the hockey season for the third time in less than two decades, the league and its union agreed to the framework of a 10-year labor contract that will allow a delayed schedule to start later this month.
On the 113th day of a management lockout and five days before the league's deadline for a deal, the bleary-eyed sides held a 6 a.m. news conference to announce there will be a season, after all.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and union head Donald Fehr both appeared drained, wearing sweaters and not neckties, when they stood side by side at the hotel and announced labor peace.
``We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper,'' Bettman said. ``We've got to dot a lot of Is, cross a lot of Ts. There's still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon.''
Lawyers will spend the next few days drafting a memorandum of agreement.
The stoppage led to the cancellation of at least 480 games _ the exact length of the curtailed schedule hasn't been determined _ bringing the total of lost regular-season games to a minimum 2,178 during three lockouts under Bettman.
The agreement, which replaces the deal that expired Sept. 15, must be ratified by the 30 team owners and approximately 740 players.
``Hopefully, within just a very few days, the fans can get back to watching people who are skating, and not the two of us,'' Fehr said.
Fehr became executive director of the NHL Players Association in December 2010 after leading baseball players through two strikes and a lockout.
Players conceded early on in talks, which began in June, that they would accept a smaller percentage of revenue, and the negotiations were about how much lower.
``It was a battle,'' said Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey, a key member of the union's bargaining team. ``Players obviously would rather not have been here, but our focus now is to give the fans whatever it is _ 48 games, 50 games _ the most exciting season we can.''
With much of the money from its $2 billion, 10-year contract with NBC back loaded toward the Stanley Cup playoffs in the spring _ and now perhaps early summer _ the league preferred to time the dispute for the start of the season in the fall. Management made its decision knowing regular-season attendance rose from 16,534 in 2003-04 to 16,954 in 2005-06 and only seven teams experienced substantial drops.
Flyers chairman Ed Snider told The Associated Press he was glad a partial schedule had been salvaged.
``I'm thrilled for our fans, I'm thrilled for all of our people that work around our sport that have been hurt by this,'' he said. ``I'm thrilled for the players, for the owners. I'm just sorry it had to take this long. The great thing is, we don't have to look at it for hopefully 10 years, or at worst eight, and that's good stuff.''
Still, the lockout could wipe out perhaps $1 billion in revenue this season, given about 40 percent of the regular-season schedule won't be played. And while the stoppage was major news in Canada, it was an afterthought for many American sports fans.
``They could have gotten here a lot sooner,'' said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based sports business consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd. ``They didn't hear a hue and cry from the fans, especially in the United States, when hockey wasn't played. That's very distressing. That indicates there's a level of apathy that is troubling. In contrast, in the NFL when there was a threat of canceling a preseason weekend, the nation was up in arms.''
At downtown Detroit's Rub BBQ Pub, manager Chris Eid said he was ``ecstatic'' when he heard the news. He said the settlement was a big topic of conversation among his afternoon customers.
``Everyone misses hockey,'' Eid said.
Hockey's first labor dispute was an 11-day strike in 1992 that led to 30 games being postponed. Bettman, a former NBA executive under David Stern, became the NHL commissioner in February 1993. He presided over a 103-day lockout in 1994-95 that ended with a deal on Jan. 11, then a 301-day lockout in 2004-05 that made the NHL the first major North American professional sports league to lose an entire season. The NHL obtained a salary cap in the agreement that followed that dispute and now wanted more gains.
``It was concessionary bargaining right from the beginning,'' Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. ``As the players, you kind of understand that and you accepted that. As much as you didn't want to, we understand that the nature of professional sports has kind of changed with the last couple CBAs starting with football and basketball.''
This deal was reached with the assistance of Scot Beckenbaugh of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a veteran of the 2004-05 NHL talks, then Major League Soccer's negotiations in 2010 and NFL and NBA talks the following year. Beckenbaugh spent Friday walking back and forth between the league's office and the hotel where players were staying, meeting with each side to set up the final talks.
``Fans throughout North America will have the opportunity to return to a favorite past time and thousands of working men and women and small businesses will no longer be deprived of their livelihoods,'' said George Cohen, the FMCS director.
Sam Flood, NBC Sports' executive producer, said his production team was ``counting the seconds until the season begins.'' NBC announcer Mike Emrick said players will have more pressure because of the shortened schedule.
``The effect of even a two-game losing streak will be four,'' he said.
The NHL's revenue of $3.3 billion last season lagged well behind the NFL ($9 billion), Major League Baseball ($7.5 billion) and the NBA ($5 billion), and the deal will lower the hockey players' percentage from 57 to 50 _ owners originally had proposed 46 percent.
This was the third lockout among the major U.S. sports in a period of just over a year. A four-month NFL lockout ended in July 2011 with the loss of only one exhibition game, and an NBA lockout caused each team's schedule to be cut from 82 games to 66 last season.
As part of the deal:
_Players will receive $300 million in transition payments over three years to account for existing contracts, pushing their revenue share over 50 percent at the start of the deal.
_Players gained a defined benefit pension plan for the first time.
_The salary cap for this season will be $70.2 million before prorating to adjust for the shortened season, and the cap will drop to $64.3 million in 2013-14 _ the same amount as 2011-12. There will be a salary floor of $44 million in those years.
_Free agents will be limited to contracts of seven years (eight for those re-signed with their former club).
_Salaries within a contract may not vary by more than 35 percent year to year, and the lowest year must be at least 50 percent of the highest year.
_There were no changes to eligibility for free agency and salary arbitration.
_The threshold for teams to release players in salary arbitration will increase from $1.75 million to $3 million.
_Each team may use two buyouts to terminate contracts before the 2013-14 or 2014-15 seasons for two-thirds of the remaining guaranteed income. The buyout will be included in the players' revenue share but not the salary cap.
_The minimum salary will remain at $525,000 this season and will rise to $750,000 by 2021-12.
_Either side may terminate the deal after the 2019-20 season.
_Revenue sharing will increase to $200 million annually and rise with revenue.
_An industry growth fund of $60 million will be funded by the sides over three years and replenished as need.
_Participation of NHL and its players in the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be determined later in discussions also involving the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation.
KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs have reached an agreement for him to become the team's new coach, FOXSports.com has learned.
The two sides spent much of Thursday in negotiations for Reid to become the Chiefs' coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the situation.
The discussions followed nine hours of talks Wednesday that went well enough that Reid canceled plans to interview for other openings, the person told the AP.
The Philadelphia Eagles fired Reid after 14 seasons on Monday, the same day the Chiefs parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel after the worst season in franchise history.
The search for Crennel's replacement has been led by Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, who intends to take on more responsibility in the day-to-day operation of the franchise. Also on hand was team president Mark Donovan, who has a connection to Reid after spending six seasons as the Eagles' senior vice president of business operations.
Reid had been linked to the opening in Arizona before the Chiefs put on the press.
The Cardinals now intend to interview former Chiefs coach Todd Haley, a person familiar with their plans told the AP. Haley led the Chiefs to the AFC West title in 2010, but was fired in December 2011 and spent this past season as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.
Hunt told the AP in an interview Monday that he would have final say on the next Chiefs coach, rather than embattled general manager Scott Pioli. Pioli was fired on Friday.
The opening in Kansas City is attractive on several levels: The Chiefs had five Pro Bowl players and two others chosen as alternates, despite their 2-14 record, and they have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for the first time in franchise history.
That selection could help the Chiefs fill a gaping void at quarterback.
Matt Cassel was benched midway through the season and Brady Quinn, who was playing on a one-year deal, struggled as his replacement. Reid has had success at developing quarterbacks in the past, working with Donovan McNabb - whom he helped draft with the No. 2 pick - during his time in Philadelphia and Brett Favre earlier in his career in Green Bay.
''What I am confident in is we'll have dramatically better play from the quarterback position in 2013,'' Hunt said. ''I don't know whether it'll be the ultimate, long-term solution or not. We'll just have to see how it plays out.''
Reid's Eagles were just 12-20 the past two seasons, but Reid's overall record of 130-93-1 represents the most wins in franchise history. The franchise was just 3-13 the year before he arrived, and two years later it went to the playoffs at 11-5 and second in the NFC East.
That was the first of five straight years in which the Eagles won at least 11 games, and included a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.
''He had the love and respect of every individual in this organization,'' Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said upon firing him. ''This man is amazing to work with, smart and dedicated, and the record will speak for itself.''
The past couple of years have been difficult for Reid, whose oldest son, Garrett, died at training camp after a long battle with drug addiction. Reid fired close friend and longtime assistant Juan Castillo in October and later fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
Now, Reid is about to get a fresh start.
NEW YORK (AP) _ After a long night of talks, the NHL and the union returned to the bargaining table, but not for long.
The sides met at the league office Thursday about three hours later than scheduled. The players' association said it had been updating members on negotiations.
Players and union staff began arriving at NHL headquarters a little before 1 p.m. EST, although executive director Donald Fehr wasn't with them. The group left the building about an hour later but expected to return later in the day.
With the lockout in its 110th day, both sides understand the urgency to save a shortened season. They have several key issues to work out _ pensions and salary cap limits, among them.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has said a deal needs to be in place by next week so a 48-game season can begin Jan. 19. All games through Jan. 14 along with the All-Star game have been canceled, claiming more than 50 percent of the original schedule.
The sides met in small groups throughout the day Wednesday. They held a full bargaining session with a federal mediator at night that lasted nearly five hours and ended about 1 a.m. Thursday.
The biggest detail to emerge was that Fehr remains executive director of the players' association, which passed on its first chance to declare a disclaimer that would dissolve the union and turn it into a trade association.
Last month, players voted overwhelmingly to give its executive board the right to declare the disclaimer, but that permission expired at midnight Wednesday. The disclaimer would allow individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NHL. Fehr wouldn't address the issue, calling it an ``internal matter.''
``The word disclaimer has yet to be uttered to us by the players' association,'' Bettman said. ``It's not that it gets filed anywhere with a court or the NLRB. When you disclaim interest as a union, you notify the other side. We have not been notified and it's never been discussed, so there has been no disclaimer.''
It was believed the union wouldn't take action Wednesday if it saw progress. Neither side would characterize the talks or say if there was any movement toward common ground.
``There's been some progress but we're still apart on a number of issues,'' Bettman said. ``As long as the process continues I am hopeful.''
In a related move, the NHLPA filed a motion in federal court in New York on Thursday seeking to dismiss the league's suit to have the lockout declared legal.
The NHL sued the union in mid-December, figuring the players were about to submit their own complaint against the league and possibly break up their union to gain an upper hand.
But the union argued that the NHL is using this suit ``to force the players to remain in a union. Not only is it virtually unheard of for an employer to insist on the unionization of its employees, it is also directly contradicted by the rights guaranteed to employees under ... the National Labor Relations Act.''
A deal can't be done without a resolution on pensions. Bettman called the pension plan a ``very complicated issue.'' A small group meeting on the pension issue was held Wednesday morning before the players' association presented its offer.
``The number of variables and the number of issues that have to be addressed by people who carry the title actuary or pension lawyer are pretty numerous and it's pretty easy to get off track. That is something we understand is important to the players.''
The union's proposal Wednesday makes four offers between the sides since the NHL restarted negotiations Thursday with a proposal. The league presented the players with a counteroffer Tuesday night in response to one the union made Monday.
Fehr believed an agreement on a players-funded pension had been reached before talks blew up in early December. That apparently wasn't the case, or the NHL has changed its offer regarding the pension in exchange for agreeing to other things the union wanted.
The salary-cap number for the second year of the deal _ the 2013-14 season _ hasn't been established, and it is another point of contention. The league is pushing for a $60 million cap, while the union wants it to be $65 million.
In return for the higher cap number players would be willing to forgo a cap on escrow.
``We talk about lots of things and we even had some philosophical discussions about why particular issues were important to each of us,'' Bettman said. ``That is part of the process.''
The NHL proposed in its first offer Thursday that pension contributions come out of the players' share of revenues, and $50 million of the league's make-whole payment of $300 million will be allocated and set aside to fund potential underfunding liabilities of the plan at the end of the collective bargaining agreement.
Last month, the NHL agreed to raise its make-whole offer of deferred payments from $211 million to $300 million as part of a proposed package that required the union to agree on three nonnegotiable points. Instead, the union accepted the raise in funds, but then made counterproposals on the issues the league stated had no wiggle room.
``As you might expect, the differences between us relate to the core economic issues which don't involve the share,'' Fehr said of hockey-related revenue, which likely will be split 50-50.
The NHL is the only North American professional sports league to cancel a season because of a labor dispute, losing the 2004-05 campaign to a lockout. A 48-game season was played in 1995 after a lockout stretched into January.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) _ Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons deftly patrolling the middle of the football field and serving as an inspirational leader for the Baltimore Ravens.
Ray Lewis announcing he will retire after this season: twitter.com/Ravens/status/…— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 2, 2013
Now he's poised and eager to become a full-time dad.
Lewis announced Wednesday that he will end his brilliant NFL career after the Ravens complete their 2013 playoff run.
Lewis has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps. The 13-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker intends to return Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts in what will almost certainly be his final home game.
``Everything that starts has an end,'' Lewis said. ``For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride.''
Lewis will walk away from the game because he wants to spend more time with his sons. While working to return from his injury, Lewis watched two of his boys play on the same high school football team. He intends to see Ray Lewis III perform as a freshman next year for the University of Miami, where the elder Lewis starred before the Ravens selected him in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft.
``God is calling,'' the 37-year-old Lewis said. ``My children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father for 17 years. I don't want to see them do that no more. I've done what I wanted to do in this business, and now it's my turn to give them something back.''
Ray Rice: "Baltimore is Ray Lewis."— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 2, 2013
That's why Lewis will pull off his No. 52 uniform for the last time after the Ravens lose or claim their second Super Bowl title.
Life after the NFL for Ray Lewis? NFL Network's Rich Eisen chimes in...
If he's so inclined, Ray Lewis will essentially be able to choose whichever seat on NFL sports television he cares to occupy.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 2, 2013
NFL.com's Albert Breer talks numbers...
Ray Lewis is 37 years old, in his 17th NFL season, with over 2K tackles. The defining defensive player of his era.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 2, 2013
Fauz John Madden gives us the best tweet! Ha...
BREAKING:Tony Romo sent Ray Lewis a retirement gift but it was unfortunately intercepted once again by a Redskins defender— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) January 2, 2013
Published Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 | 6:55 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 | 10:18 p.m.
Note: Full results from the preliminary card available at the bottom of the page.
UFC events come and go. Some fade into oblivion, mostly indistinguishable from several that came before and more that will come after. Others going down in history as monumental moments for mixed martial arts.
Saturday's UFC 155 will definitely fall into the latter category.
The annual New Year's Eve weekend card at MGM Grand Garden Arena will be remembered as the night Cain Velasquez won back his heavyweight title; the night Velasquez turned the tables and dominated Junior dos Santos in a rematch of a fight he lost in 2011.
Velasquez dropped dos Santos in the first round and never looked back, beating the champion by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43) to take back a belt he lost when dos Santos knocked him out 64 seconds into UFC on Fox 1.
"It feels very good," an overwhelmed Velasquez said while still in the octagon. "I just got better. That's the name of the game."
The way Velasquez repeatedly took down dos Santos wasn't a total surprise. Velasquez was a championship-caliber wrestler in college at Arizona State. What no one saw coming was the way Velasquez out-manned dos Santos on the feet.
One of the UFC's best strikers, it was just earlier this year that dos Santos was claiming he could out-box a Klitschko brother. On this night, it was Velasquez who out-boxed dos Santos.
"This fight was the toughest I've ever been through," Velasquez said. "I just pushed through."
The two fights in the co-main event were probably thinking the same. Jim Miller defeated Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a lightweight bout that had some whispering Fight of the Year.
Miller opened a large cut on Lauzon's forehead in the first round, but the grappling ace rallied back to nearly submit Miller in the second and third rounds. But Miller's striking and wrestling was too much in the end.
"I knew I was going to have to bring my best effort to put him away and I was never able to," Miller said. "That’s how good he is on the ground."
Three middleweights moved up in the rankings with victories to open the main card. Costa Philippou, Yushin Okami and Derek Brunson notched meaningful but somewhat uneventful victories against Tim Boetsch, Alan Belcher and Chris Leben, respectively.
Look below for round-by-round coverage of the UFC 155 main card and results from the preliminary card. Check back later for full coverage of UFC 155.
Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez
Fifth Round Velasquez shoots for a takedown but can't complete it. Dos Santos lands an uppercut. Velasquez is still pursuing the takedown as hard as he can, but dos Santos' defense is strong. Velasquez uppercuts instead and dos Santos answers. Dos Santos throws a complete haymaker after another failed takedown attempt. Luckily for Velasquez, it's off. They clinch up for a while until dos Santos gets out. Velasquez gets dos Santos down eventually anyway. He smothers the champion with two minutes to go. Not a lot of action in this final round, but Velasquez is doing what he needs to do. Dos Santos keeps covering up. Velasquez takes his back. This might be his last chance to finish the fight. Not happening, as dos Santos works his way to his feet. Velasquez keeps up the pressure — pushing dos Santos into the fence. Crowd rises to cheer with 45 seconds to go. Dos Santos swings for the fences, but it's Velasquez who lands a big strike with a head kick. Then they clinch back up. Dos Santos is straight beat up as his face is swollen. Velasquez fires another uppercut. Dos Santos nearly falls over from pressure as bell rings. Velasquez has gotten his title back — a 50-43 shutout on this card. Cain Velasquez defeats Junior dos Santos by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43).
Fourth Round Dos Santos hits Velasquez with a left and gets away from a takedown attempt. Dos Santos hurts Velasquez with a counter right. Velasquez continues to charge forward, however, with a jab followed by a leg kick. They clinch up and Velasquez's dirty-boxing scores before dos Santos throws to the stomach to push Velasquez away. Velasquez puts dos Santos down again. He feeds a knee into the champion's body. Both look tired now, but Velasquez's strikes are still landing. Dos Santos swings so hard with an elbow that he nearly falls down. Velasquez takes the champion down again. This is domination. Velasquez strings together a body-body-head combination that rocks dos Santos. The champion circles. He's wobbly, especially after another Velasquez uppercut. But he stays up. Dos Santos fires a combination that misses. Both guys are tired now, but Velasquez is moving quicker. Velasquez presses dos Santos against the fence. Dos Santos lands a right hand when they break out. He's losing badly, but this might be dos Santos' best round yet. He stuffs a single-leg takedown attempt with 20 seconds to go. Velasquez will only need to hold on for five more minutes as he leads 40-34 through four rounds.
Third Round Velasquez stalks dos Santos, who does land to the body. Velasquez converts on the first takedown attempt of the round, though. Dos Santos gets up when Velasquez tries to get on his back. They're clinched against the cage with Velasquez dirty-boxing when he can. He's keeping constant pressure on the champion. Dos Santos jabs Velasquez, who counters with a right hand that was the biggest punch landed since when he dropped the champion in the first one. Dos Santos, with his back against the wall, fires an elbow into Velasquez. One of dos Santos' eyes is swollen. He doesn't look like he has much left as Velasquez hurts him with a right hand. Then a left and an uppercut from the challenger. Dos Santos knees Velasquez, who answers with a combination that nearly drops dos Santos along the fence. Dos Santos almost looks out on his feet. A left hand from dos Santos lets Velasquez know he's still alive. Velasquez tosses dos Santos to the ground, but they pop up. Dos Santos elbows Velasquez to the jaw. A 1-2 combination keeps the attack up for Velasquez. Dos Santos lands to the body, but there's nothing behind it. Velasquez wins another round to go up 30-25.
Second Round Velasquez rocks dos Santos again with a right hand. He picks up the champion and dumps him on the ground. He looks for a rear-naked choke, but dos Santos wisely rolls over to get away. Velasquez takes dos Santos' back again. But Dos Santos uses his strength to get to his feet — for a second. Velasquez slams dos Santos to the ground seconds later. Dos Santos gets up with 3:30 to go and he really wants to work his boxing. Velasquez backs him into the fence. Then, he dumps dos Santos on his back with a double-leg. Dos Santos has no answer for this wrestling. Chants of "Mexico" are filling up the arena. Dos Santos gets back up, but Velasquez uses the opportunity to knee him in the stomach. Dos Santos looks gassed as Velasquez puts him down again. He's breathing hard as Velasquez rains punches. Dos Santos tries to push Velasquez off, but the former champion attempts a kimura. Dos Santos is out and gets to his feet. Velasquez nails him with a right hand. Velasquez can't get dos Santos to the ground for perhaps the first time this round. Referee warns dos Santos to not grab the fence. Velasquez breaks out of the clinch to throw a combination. Velasquez completely dominated another round to get a 10-8 score. He's up 20-16.
First Round Velasquez goes forward first, but misses with his punches. Dos Santos swings, but Velasquez takes him down. Dos Santos pops right back up. Velasquez shoots for another takedown. Dos Santos gets away from this one. It's all Velasquez when it comes to aggression early. He's already lasted longer than the first time. The crowd seems split, as dos Santos escapes a single-leg takedown. Velasquez leg-kicks and fires a right into dos Santos' chin. Velasquez misses on another takedown attempt. He lands a jab. He's not allowing dos Santos room to operate. Dos Santos face is already a little red from a bunch of jabs from Velasquez. Dos Santos slips away from another takedown attempt and lands a right hook. Velasquez could be in trouble with dos Santos finding his rhythm. Dos Santos lands a left hand behind the ear, reminiscent of the shot that knocked out Velasquez except that one didn't land near as cleanly. Velasquez uppercuts from the clinch. He fires a legkick when they break out. Velasquez strings together a combination against the fence. He knocks dos Santos down with a right hand. Dos Santos might be finished. He stands up, but Velasquez drags him down. Velasquez has dos Santos' back and is burying him with punches. Dos Santos covers. He's taking punishment from the challenger. Dos Santos gets tripped upon standing back up. Velasquez is really hurting him. Velasquez gets in side control and keeps hitting the champion. It's a huge first round for Velasquez, who goes up 10-8.
Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon
Third Round Miller knocks Lauzon with a right hand. Lauzon's shorts have changed from white to red from all the blood. A legkick from Miller sends Lauzon to the ground. Perhaps Lauzon was just trying to lure Miller into his world where he can try submissions. If so, it didn't work. The referee motions him up. Miller scores with a combination and follows with a knee. Miller is trying to throw elbows, but Lauzon is blocking them. Lauzon takes a kick to the stomach. Miller keeps coming forward, laying the pressure on Lauzon. Lauzon appears to stagger Miller with a right hand. Miller backs up and regains some composure. He fires a right hook that gets Lauzon's cut bleeding again. After Lauzon's brief moment of triumph, Miller has stormed back to dominate for more than a minute. Lauzon finally lands a jab to get back to scoring. He's got a minute to make this interesting. Lauzon clinches up, but Miller punishes him with a right hand when they break out. Lauzon flies in, but Miller counters. They lock up in the middle of the cage before Lauzon desperately breaks out. Lauzon grabs a hold of Miller's leg and pulls guard. He's trying to sink in a heel hook. It's not there, but he tries a last minute choke that looks like it has a chance. Bell rings and Miller is saved. Lauzon finished strong, but Miller earned another round in a bout that's the Fight of the Night to this point. Miller beats Lauzon 30-27 on the Sun's scorecard. Jim Miller defeats Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Second Round A deafening roar welcomes the fighters back for another round. Miller tees off on Lauzon, who looks to cover up as an uppercut connects to his chin. Miller swarms and gets Lauzon down. Miller is in Lauzon's guard. Lauzon looks to start playing with his submissions, but Miller isn't giving him an inch. Miller throws his legs over and gets into full mount on Lauzon. He misses with a big elbow, and it's scary to think what more could happen to Lauzon. He's already as bloody as any fighter in recent memory. Lauzon sweeps and puts Miller on his back. The crowd awakes to cheer the reversal. A few seconds later, the referee pauses the fight and orders the tape on Lauzon's glove to be cut off. It was hanging down because of all the blood. They re-start with Lauzon still in position. Miller looks for a triangle choke, and Lauzon picks him up and slams him. Miller is very active off of his back, trying for any submission he can find. Lauzon lands an elbow. Miller scrambles and Lauzon grabs a hold of his heel. He's got a heel hook, but Miller pops out. What suspense. Bell rings and they'll come back for another round. Miller takes another 10-9 to go up 20-18.
First Round They trade jabs to get going. Miller and Lauzon are alternating who comes forward. Miller lands a few more punches in the opening 30 seconds. Lauzon finds his range and goes to the body. Miller counters with a right hand and a kick across the body that hurts Lauzon. Miller's got something extra on his punches tonight as a right hand stuns Lauzon right before a kick does the same. They clinch up and Miller rocks Lauzon with an uppercut. Lauzon returns the favor and they are back in the middle. This is high-energy so far. Lauzon hits with a standing elbow. Lauzon is stumbling after a big right hand from Miller. He continues to hurt Lauzon with strikes and opens a big cut with an accidental headbutt against the fence. The fight is paused, but allowed to go on. Lauzon is bloody. Miller is looking for the finish now with a bunch of big swings. He knees Lauzon to the face and then hits him with a head kick. Miller now has a fair share of Lauzon's blood covering him. He rocks Lauzon in the mouth. Lauzon answers with a knee to the body that makes the crowd gasp. Both of these fighters have shown off their toughness. But Miller has done more with his skills as a kick to the face puts Lauzon on his back. Lauzon gets up, but his face is pure blood on one side as Miller rockets an elbow in. The doctor may not allow this one to go on after the first one. Miller looks like a redhead with all of Lauzon's blood. Memorable first round that ends with a standing ovation. Miller is ahead 10-9.
Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou
Third Round Reports are circulating that Boetsch has a broken hand. That's not to mention the cut on his forehead and now a black eye. But he's still in this. A takedown attempt fails from Boetsch, as Philippou sprawls and then jumps on top of Boetsch, who is on his knees. Philippou lets Boetsch up without any resistance. He's really bloody now and goes back to the ground. He cringes at Philippou's ground-and-pound. Philippou makes Boetsch get back to his feet. Boetsch is covered in blood and has nothing left. The referee waves off the fight. Costa Philippou defeats Tim Boetsch by TKO at 2:11 of the third round.
Second Round They circle before Boetsch lands a left hand behind Philippou's ear. Philippou connects with a kick, but Boetsch uses the opportunity to pressure Philippou into the cage. They break out momentarily and Boetsch grazes Philippou with an uppercut. A cut has opened on Boetsch's forehead. But he continues to be more the more aggressive one with another takedown attempt. Philippou lands a short uppercut but Boetsch counters with a stiff overhand right. Boetsch lands another front kick. Philippou jabs and starts to work his combinations, but he's not landing with much power. An inadvertent eye-poke from Philippou stops the fight. Here comes the doctor to check out Boetsch. He's able to keep fighting. Boetsch attacks again, but Philippou answers with a right hand. Boetsch looks for a couple takedowns that he can't get. Philippou pounces on Boetsch while he's still down to take top position. Philippou works ground-and-pound to both the body and head. He elbows Boetsch who turtles up. Boetsch lands one punch from his back, but Philippou answers with a slew more. The cut on Boetsch's forehead is open more now after an elbow from Philippou, who may have taken the round late. It's 19-19 going into the third.
First Round They touch gloves and Boetsch comes forward immediately. He ducks under one of Philippou's hooks and shoots for a takedown. Instead of getting him down, Boetsch just clinches up with Philippou. He knees the boxer and throws in a couple foot stomps. Boetsch puts Philippou to the ground. The next 30 seconds bring more of the same, with Philippou now up but getting pressed into the fence by Boetsch. Philippou escapes when Boetsch tries to get him into a Thai clinch for a knee to the head. Boetsch legkicks and Philippou counters with a jab in the middle of the cage. Boetsch sprints forward with a combination. Philippou circles. Boetsch jabs, but Philippou counters with an uppercut that sends sweat spraying across the octagon. That was a big shot for Philippou. Boetsch rebounds with a double-leg takedown. He punches Philippou to the side for a while before the referee stands them up. Both fighters swing wildly with 30 seconds to go. Philippou catches Boetsch with a few hooks. Boetsch knocks Philippou down with a kick to the chin, but the end of the round prevents him from doing more. Boetsch wins the first, 10-9.
Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher
Third Round Belcher lands a Superman punch to the top of Okami's head. He then drops Okami with a left hand. Okami pops right back up, but this fight isn't quite over. They exchange before locking up momentarily. Okami trips Belcher, who transitions to top position. Belcher gets in mount right away, then takes a desperate Okami's back. It's not a good position for the fighter who's up 2-0 on rounds. Okami stands up, and Belcher swings around for a guillotine attempt. Okami gets out with no trouble and takes Belcher down. He elbows Belcher to the face. The boos are getting louder than ever as Okami continues to suffocate Belcher but not throw much offense. But Belcher can't get out. He's flopping his legs and trying everything he can, but Okami begins to throw ground-and-pound. Referee warns him not to go to the back of the head. Okami transitions to take Belcher's back, and he may have just taken control of a round that looked like Belcher's early. Okami lands one big ground-and-pound punch before the bell. Okami shuts out Belcher, 30-27, on the Sun's scorecard. Yushin Okami defeats Alan Belcher by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Second Round Belcher kicks and jabs, but Okami presses forward with a combination. Then he gets Belcher against the fence. Belcher is dirty-boxing, but Okami tosses him down. Okami is on the bottom and tries to get up. Belcher gets his neck and looks for a guillotine. It's practically a replay of the first round, but on the other side of the cage. Okami pops out and he's now on top. Seems like he's stalling as nothing happens for nearly two minutes until the referee stands them up. Belcher hits Okami with a right hand. He front-kicks to the body afterwards. Okami lands a combination and tries for a single-leg takedown. Belcher stays up for about 30 seconds before Okami's persistence pays off. Okami smothers Belcher in front of a restless crowd. The referee stands them up even faster this time, to the delight of both Belcher and the fans. Belcher will need to do something dramatic in the third round, because he's down 20-18 to Okami through two.
First Round They touch gloves and Belcher immediately starts bouncing and throwing jabs. Looks like he wants to keep the pace high. He throws a head kick that Okami checks, but lands a leg kick. Okami is keeping his hands up and not letting many of Belcher's strikes through. Belcher falls Okami ducks under a leg kick. Okami pushes him against the cage. Belcher takes a couple knees to the body. Okami throws Belcher down, but he's the one on his back. Belcher gets Okami's neck and looks for a guillotine but gives up his top position to do so. Okami's out and now working ground-and-pound on Belcher, who's wrapped around the man who beat him once already six years ago. Okami is looking to get into side control from Belcher's half-guard. He converts with a little more than a minute to go. Okami fires an elbow, but Belcher isn't giving him much space with his hands wrapped around Okami's neck. Belcher looks to sweep, but Okami jabs to the body. Okami tries to take Belcher's back, but time is up. Okami wins the first round 10-9.
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson
Third Round They're both kicking to open the final frame. Neither Brunson nor Leben is establishing much offense. Brunson lunges forward with a jab and then a takedown. Leben shoos him away. Leben fires a knee into Brunson during his next takedown attempt, but the fight goes to the floor. Leben elbows from his back. Brunson lets him up but unleashes a knee on the way. Brunson hits Leben with a left hand. Leben swings and misses; Brunson trots to the other side of the cage. They're standing in the pocket and exchanging now but they aren't packing much behind their punches. The slight exception comes when Leben hits with a right hand. He nearly chops Brunson down with a leg kick. Brunson takes a deep breath and looks at the clock again. It's obvious he's drained. Boos take over the arena as Leben backs Brunson down for a jab. Leben is supplying the pressure, but it might be too late. He semi-rocks Brunson with a couple right hands, but then gets taken down. That takedown should secure this one. They're back up after Leben hits Brunson repeatedly from his back. Bell rings and Brunson collapses to the mat in celebration. He was so lackadaisical in the third round that Leben wins it 10-9 on striking. But Bruson wins 29-28 on the Sun's scorecard. Derek Brunson defeats Chris Leben by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Second Round Leben lands a shot to the body and follows it with a jab. Brunson retreats, looking uncomfortable on the feet against the UFC veteran. Brunson shoots for a double-leg takedown, but Leben crashes into the fence to stay upright. Brunson keeps trying, but he can't get Leben down. Leben counters a lethargic hook from Brunson with a big shot. Brunson explodes into a double-leg and Leben is once again on his back. Leben is firing jabs from his back, but Brunson is able to get more behind his punches from the top. Leben gets up and Brunson looks for a guillotine. Not for long, as they are back in the middle of the cage. Brunson works some of his striking, peppering Leben with a combination. It's a closer round halfway through. Both fighters are taking deep breaths. Leben whips a leg kick against Brunson's shin. Brunson scores with a right cross. He clinches back up with Leben. They're along the fence. Leben blocks a kick from Brunson when they go back to the middle. Leben isn't getting much power behind his punches, but hits Brunson with an uppercut. Brunson fails on a takedown attempt. He glances up at the clock. 20 seconds remaining. Leben wings a right hand that lands. It was a dull round with both fighters looking tired, but Brunson takes a close one 10-9.
First Round Leben rocks back and forth, more than ready to fight for the first time in more than a year. Brunson strikes first with a kick that Leben checks and a jab. Leben catches Brunson's next kick and clinches with the former Strikeforce fighter. Brunson dumps Leben on his back. Leben is flopping around, trying to get to his feet, but Brunson keeps his top position. Leben looks for a triangle, but takes a few shots to the face as a punishment. "The Crippler" momentarily locks in an armbar that looks like it has a chance, but Brunson gets out. A couple of elbows from Brunson slide across Leben's forehead. Leben isn't taking much damage, but he's in trouble. Brunson moves from side control to mount. He's blasting Leben with right hands. Then there's a particularly brutal elbow across the face. Leben still can't get out from under Brunson as the round hits the one-minute remaining mark. Leben tastes a few hammerfists. Leben slides to the fence and works his way to his feet. But Brunson keeps the pressure on, pushing him against the fence. They finally break out, but the bell rings. Brunson goes up 10-9.
It’s the man who delivered the most significant punch in recent UFC history against the man who absorbed it in the headlining match of tonight’s pay-per-view card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Junior dos Santos memorably ended the heavyweight championship reign of Cain Velasquez prematurely in November 2011 when he knocked the belt-holder out in 64 seconds with a right hand.
That’s how the UFC got to this point, where it’s staging the first rematch in a heavyweight championship bout since Brock Lesnar defeated Frank Mir at UFC 100.
Velasquez looks to get back the heavyweight championship belt he never defended in the main event of UFC 155. Dos Santos tries to state his case as to why he’s the fighter, and not Velasquez as so many expected two years ago, who’s capable of becoming the first dominant champion in the history of the heavyweight division.
No one has ever defended the UFC’s most prized strap more than twice. Dos Santos would tie Brock Lesnar, Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture with two defenses by beating Velasquez tonight.
It won’t come easy. Unlike the first fight, Velasquez says he’s 100 percent healthy. He fought with an injured knee in the bout with dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1.
No one has ever successfully taken dos Santos down, but Velasquez could break the streak with undoubtedly the best wrestling in the heavyweight division. Velasquez has finished all but one opponent by TKO in his career, usually with his heavy ground-and-pound strikes.
Velasquez lands 17.2 strikes per minute with 7.47 of them counting as significant, both the highest rates in UFC history. But dos Santos holds records of his own. Among them are the Brazilian’s claim to being the most accurate puncher in heavyweight history with 47 percent of his strikes connecting.
Only two of dos Santos’ fights, wins over Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson, have ever gone to the judges’ scorecards.
Several other orders of business must be sorted out before the heavyweights slug away in the octagon, including what feels like Extreme Makeover: Middleweight Division Edition.
Three straight 185-pound fights take place kick off the main card, all with important implications. Veteran Chris Leben returns in the opener against Strikeforce import Derek Brunson.
Yushin Okami and Alan Belcher rematch after the Japanese judoka beat “The Talent” in his UFC debut six years ago down the street at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Finally, Tim Boetsch and Costa Philippou do battle. Both middleweights have won four in a row.
The co-main event features always-game lightweights Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon warming up the crowd for dos Santos vs. Velasquez II.
Stay tuned for a round-by-round live blog of the main card and look below for full results from the preliminary card.
Eddie Wineland defeated Brad Pickett by split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29) in a bantamweight bout. Wineland rocked Pickett several times in the first and looked close to finishing "One Punch", but was slowed midway through the second round when a cut opened beneath his right eye.
Bantamweight prospect Erik Perez warmed up the largely Mexican crowd ahead of Velasquez taking the octagon in the main event. Perez knocked out Byron Bloodworth at 3:50 of the first round with a right hand followed by ground-and-pound strikes.
An exciting lightweight fight concluded with some memorably strange scorecards, asJamie Varner beat Melvin Guillard by split decision (30-27, 30-27, 27-30). Varner appeared to clearly win the third round, taking Guillard down repeatedly and even slamming him on his head in the final seconds. Guillard was more efficient in the second, rocking Varner with a headkick and a combination.
In a fight between two of the most highly regarded training camps on opposite coasts, Alliance MMA and the Pacific came out on top. San Diego-based Myles Jury upset Miami-based Michael Johnson, who is part of the Blackzilians team. Jury out-wrestled Johnson en route to a unanimous decision where he won every round on every judges' scorecard.
Well, that return went according to plan. In his first UFC performance in nearly three years, heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee knocked out Phil de Fries at 2:04 of the first round with a combination. Duffee came back from an early takedown and some harsh ground-and-pound from de Fries.
Boos filled the arena and the men in the red corner threw up their hands in disbelief. Controversy struck in the second fight of the night when Max Holloway defeated Leonard Garcia by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a featherweight bout. It was a close fight with both men landing their share of haymakers through 15 minutes.
John Moraga submitted Chris Cariaso with a guillotine choke at 1:11 of the third round in a flyweight bout. It was a close fight to that point, but Moraga's power was clearly affecting Cariaso when he landed.
By GREG BEACHAM/AP Sports Writer=
Their first fight was a seminal moment in UFC history, even if the moment only lasted 64 seconds.
A year after Junior Dos Santos stopped Cain Velasquez and took away his heavyweight title belt with one enormous punch to the head, both fighters figure their rematch Saturday night at UFC 155 in Las Vegas will be longer, more taxing and more decisive in determining mixed martial arts' best big man.
``In that time, I was the winner because I was a little bit better than him,'' Dos Santos said. ``I just enjoy a good moment. You never know what's going to happen, especially in the heavyweight division. There's too much power involved. If the punch lands, you're going to feel it.''
Indeed, Dos Santos (15-1) abruptly dropped the previously unbeaten Velasquez with one equilibrium-destroying punch to the head in November 2011, putting an early end to the UFC's landmark debut fight on network television. After beating Frank Mir earlier this year, Dos Santos will attempt his second defense when he takes on Velasquez in the main event of the UFC's traditional year-end event in its hometown at the MGM Grand Garden.
A 64-second fight usually wouldn't appear to have the makings of a compelling rematch, but Velasquez (10-1) is no ordinary knockout victim. The former Arizona State wrestler has been stewing on his first MMA defeat for over a year, lamenting the combination of bad luck and misplaced aggression that put him in position to be stunned, staggered and pounded into the ground.
``The only reason I got into this sport was to be the champion,'' Velasquez said. ``And now that I'm not champion, it's the only thing that's on my mind right now, to go in there to win this fight. That's all I'm thinking about.''
That overhand right reverberated through the heavyweight division and the entire UFC. Dos Santos was widely considered a future star, but Velasquez's unblemished MMA career and demolition of former champion Brock Lesnar had suggested he could hold the belt for years.
Instead, Dos Santos could be at the start of a long reign _ or a healthier, smarter Velasquez will get back on top.
Velasquez has grown weary of talking about what he did wrong. He only wants to make it right.
``Junior is very quick,'' Velasquez said. ``He has a lot of power in his hands. He timed it perfectly, and it landed.''
The UFC 155 undercard features Jim Miller facing Joe Lauzon in a matchup of crowd-pleasing lightweights. Veteran middleweight Tim Boetsch also faces Costa Philippou, while notable names Yushin Okami, Chris Leben, Jamie Varner and Melvin Guillard all appear in earlier bouts.
Velasquez refuses to blame the loss on a knee injury in training last year, although video of Velasquez writhing in pain has been circulating online.
Velasquez apparently tore a ligament in his knee a few weeks before the bout, yet still went ahead with the highest-profile fight in UFC history.
Yet Dos Santos also had a torn meniscus that limited his own movement, perhaps encouraging him to go for an early knockout. Dos Santos expects the rematch to last longer, but he also predicts a second stoppage victory.
``For sure, I think Cain Velasquez is going to come hungrier for this fight, hungrier than the first fight,'' Dos Santos said. ``He's going to try to improve his game. He's going to try to take me down using his wrestling, but my strategy is the same strategy, and I'm very well-prepared for this fight, ready to win.''
While Velasquez lamented his mistakes, Dos Santos spent the last year soaking in the spoils of being a heavyweight champion _ everything from financial security for his family to a high-profile sponsorship deal with Nike. Dos Santos hasn't lost since joining the UFC in October 2008, winning nine straight fights _ and while he's already among the best boxers in MMA, he also recently earned his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, adding more ground skills to his game.
Dos Santos and Velasquez have professed nothing but mutual respect in the months leading up to their rematch, no surprise from two good-natured brawlers known for their old-fashioned work ethics in a division packed with polarizing personalities from Lesnar to Alistair Overeem.
``He's a real professional fighter, and that's a good challenge for me,'' Dos Santos said. ``Other guys, they just say things, but there's nothing behind the words. I think guys like me and Cain Velasquez are made in a gym, and the other guys are made at a laboratory.''
NEW YORK (AP) _ The NHL says it has made a new contract offer to the players in an attempt to end the lockout and save the season. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly says in a statement Friday that a ``comprehensive'' proposal was made a day earlier, although he would not discuss details.
He adds that the league is ``hopeful'' that once the union and its negotiating committee review the proposal ``they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.''
The lockout is in its 104th day. The NHL says it doesn't want a season of less than 48 games. To make that possible, a deal likely must be reached by mid-January. The sides haven't met face to face since talks with a federal mediator broke down Dec. 13.
NEW YORK (AP) _ Avery Johnson has been fired as coach of the Brooklyn Nets, who have lost 10 of 13 games to drop to .500.
General manager Billy King announced the move Thursday without saying who will be interim coach. The Nets next play at home Friday against Charlotte.
Brooklyn started the season 11-4, winning five in a row to end November. But the team has been in a spiral since and is now 14-14. The Nets lost to Milwaukee 108-93 on Wednesday night. They also have dropped two games to the crosstown Knicks.
Johnson has been the Nets' coach for a little more than two seasons. He went 60-116 with the Nets, who moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn to start the 2012-13 season. Johnson coached the Dallas Mavericks to an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2006.