Morning Report Holiday Edition: Eight Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez UFC fight videos

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It was one of those rare, quiet weekends; the kind where the sport just treads water while the rest of us get ready to stuff our faces and generally revert back to acting like children again. Though at this point no news is probably good news, because I'm sure the last thing you want to be reading right now is some Mayan prediction come true about Cain Velasquez blowing out his knee while climbing a flight of stairs, or some other absurd yet fitting way to close out this inexplicable year.

So instead we've left the bad news behind and come bearing gifts. Tons of knockouts -- eight of which come courtesy of Velasquez and Junior dos Santos -- another round of Ultimate Answers, plus Wanderlei Silva reminiscing fondly on his glory days with Pride FC. But first, let's get to some headlines.

Enjoy the holidays, everyone!

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Best of 2012. It's that time of year again. Join us as we each look back at the 12 months that were and pick out the best of the best for MMA Fighting's Best of 2012 awards. Check out Luke Thomas' rundown of Submission of the Year, Dave Doyle's Knockout of the Year list, and yours truly recalling the zombie apocalypse with Fight of the Year.

Henderson answers coach. Dan Henderson responded succinctly to his coach's complaints about Ronda Rousey headlining UFC 157: "I am perfectly fine as the co-main. I will get to relax and enjoy the women go at it. ... I'm just happy to be getting in the Octagon again."

Kennedy calls out Strikeforce fighters. Following yet another injury to Strikeforce's final card, Tim Kennedy implied his co-workers' injuries may not be as serious as they seem: "Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. It's pathetic and convenient for every single marquee fighter in all of Strikeforce, that we all know to be going over to the UFC, are pulling out of their fights, two weeks before the final card. It's like, are you guys fighters, or are you just a bunch of little vaginas?"

Bellator releases former champ. Bellator MMA cut its inaugural bantamweight champion, Zach Makovsky, following a narrow split decision loss to Anthony Leone at Bellator 83. Makovsky racked up a 6-2 record inside the promotion.

FUEL TV to reportedly be rebranded. According to a report from our own Dave Meltzer and the Wrestling Observer, FUEL TV could be rebranded as "Fox Sports 2" sometime in mid-to-late 2013.

Ortiz talks Cyborg weight. Speaking to MMA Interviews, Cris Cyobrg's manager Tito Ortiz reiterated his client will likely be unable to meet Ronda Rousey's 135-pound demands: "You've got to understand, she's small. She's cutting from 170 down trying to make 135. That's a big, big, big, big cut. That's a lot for a woman to cut. And it's just health reasons when it comes down to it. We want to see an exciting fight. Do it at 140-pounds, I think that would make the best difference."

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MEDIA STEW

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the most violent edition of "Road to the Title" we've seen all year. Just try to rank these eight fights from first to worst. It's harder than it should be.

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Jon Jones calling his own number like LeBron James. I dig the confidence. Funny thing is, neither man is wrong. (International geo-blocked users, this may help.)

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Reason No. 146 why Russians make for gnarly fighters: Combat sambo, aka legal headbutt KOs.

(HT: The UG)

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And here is the point where we all shed a single, collective tear as Wanderlei Silva reflects back on his Pride FC days.

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Between the bizarre Korean announcer and the 20-second near-double-knockout, this video easily wins the weekend. (For the lazy, jump to 1:10.)

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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CHAMP NO MORE

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STRONG WORDS

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ZOMBIE UPDATE

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MOVIN' ON UP

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#STRIKEFORCENEVERDIE

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HOLIDAYS IN THE 209

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WARNING: GRUESOME KNEE INJURY PIC INCOMING

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LAST CHANCE. DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANY COMPLAINING.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced over the weekend (Friday, December 21, 2012 - Sunday, December 23, 2012):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from John S. Nash, who reaches back into the vault for some highly-recommended holiday reading: Forgotten Golden Age of Mixed Martial Arts

"The evolution of martial arts since 1993 (since the UFC came around) martial arts have evolved more than they have in the last 700 years. We know exactly now what works in a real live situation with two warriors fighting; for a long time that was just speculation."

- Joe Rogan

It is common knowledge amongst fans of the sport of mixed martial arts that the first Ultimate Fighting Championship ushered in a "golden age" of MMA. Sure, it had a predecessor in Brazilian Vale Tudo and Japanese "shooto" wrestling matches, but those were merely the prologue for what was to follow.

What Art Davie and Rorion Gracie unleashed with UFC 1 was something unseen in the annals of unarmed combat: the opportunity for the best fighters in the world from two different disciplines to test themselves, and their art, in a simulation of a real world combat scenario.

No longer would we have to imagine who would win in a hypothetical matchup between, say, a wrestler and a judoka, or try to calculate who employed the more effective striking between a savateur, a boxer, or a karateka; because now we would be given the definitive answer.

For the first time since the ancient Greeks participated in pankration, martial arts would move beyond the philosophical to the empirical. Thus, a "golden age" was born.

Unfortunately, none of the above is true.

What most fans of MMA are not aware of, is a previous "golden age" of mixed martial arts existed, one where much of the progress we currently enjoy was made and where most of our questions were answered. This previous era saw unrivaled progress in ancient disciplines, the emergence of new hybrid fighting styles, the pitting of the different disciplines against one another in no-holds-barred combat, and the presence of some of history's greatest unarmed combatants.

All of this existed a century before the first fighter ever stepped foot in the Octagon; during the "golden age" that was the Belle Époque.

All four parts have been posted.

Part I: The Golden Age of Wrestling & the Lost Art of American Catch-as-Catch-can

Part II: The Rise of Judo & the Dawn of a New Age

Part III: Sherlock Holmes, Les Apaches & the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence

Part IV: Ultimate Fighting of the Belle Époque

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? We'll be off for the next few days, but just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Friday's column. Have a happy holidays!

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