NEWARK, N.J. -- Alistair Overeem didn't let another fast start go to waste.
Overeem (37-13) recorded his first win since December 2011, defeating Frank Mir via unanimous decision during the UFC 169 main card at Prudential Center.
The former Strikeforce heavyweight champion has a reputation for striking early, which he lived up to by dropping Mir in the opening round. Unfortunately he has a reputation of fading quickly, too -- but that wasn't the case on Saturday.
Mir (16-9) looked determined not to back up against a dangerous opponent. He took the center of the cage at the start of each round and seemed mindful of circling off the fence.
A left hook midway through the first round dropped Mir, and Overeem moved in for the finish with elbows. Mir eventually survived and wall-walked to his feet.
With things looking bleak, Mir responded with a double-leg takedown in the next round and looked for a guillotine as Overeem scrambled back up. Overeem escaped, however, and ended up back in top position.
Mir had little to offer in the third, as he attempted to pull guard and was forced to stand several times by referee Dan Miragliotta. His face was bloodied, mostly from Overeem elbows, and he ate a hard right as he stole a look at the clock.
"I proved to everybody I'm back tonight," Overeem said. "Frank is a very experienced fighter, his game plan was to take me down, but I'm a well-rounded fighter, too, so I dominated him. This victory has motivated me a lot to go back to the gym and get ready for fighting again."
Mir, the former UFC heavyweight champ, has now lost four consecutive fights, dating back to May 2012. Prior to the fight, the 34-year-old told ESPN.com he had no plans to retire.
More mobile Bagautinov outwits Lineker
Three fights into his UFC career, Ali Bagautinov might be title-bound.
All three judges scored the fight for Bagautinov, 29-28. It was an effective game plan executed by Bagautinov, designed to neutralize the Brazilian's explosive standup. He took Lineker down in the opening minute, and then maintained top position until Lineker threatened with a heel hook.
After working back to his feet, Lineker (23-7) motioned for Bagautinov to trade with him, but the Russian ignored him. He circled away from Lineker's power and caught a body kick for his second takedown of the round.
Lineker continued to stalk in the next frame, but had trouble cutting off the cage on his mobile opponent. He did manage to defend the majority of Bagautinov's takedowns and appeared to buzz him late in the round with a left hook.
Bagautinov regrouped, however, in the third. He enticed Lineker into chasing him around the cage and scored points with several left hand counters. Two takedowns and time spent on top sealed the deal for Bagautinov. He waved to the crowd in the final 10 seconds, as Lineker attempted a last ditch heel hook.
"I'm extremely happy with this victory," Bagautinov said. "I was sticking to the plan during the fight, thinking of knocking him out. I could not finish him. However, he put me in trouble, but I got a great victory.
"My goal is fight for the belt really soon."
ESPN.com ranked Bagautinov the No. 7 flyweight in the world heading into the bout. He is now on an 11-fight win streak.
The loss snaps a four-fight win streak for Lineker.
Trujillo knocks out Varner in brutal brawl
Trujillo (12-5) scored a comeback knockout over Varner in the second round of their lightweight fight.
Badly hurt and nearly out on his feet, Trujillo landed a right haymaker that knocked Varner out cold at the 2:32 mark. Varner (21-9-1) appeared willing to trade with Trujillo, surprisingly, throughout the fight. He tagged Trujillo early with a counter right hand and reversed a bodylock takedown attempt to take north-south position in the first round.
After being controlled on the ground, Trujillo again looked to open up on his feet in the second round. He staggered Varner with a left hook, but Varner answered immediately with a left to Trujillo's temple.
As Trujillo backed up to reset, Varner caught him along the fence and unloaded a wild flurry of punches. Trujillo tried to slow things with a high single, but Varner scrambled out and resumed teeing off.
The effort, however, started to take an effect on Varner. His punches grew slower and he started breathing through his mouth, which left a window for Trujillo's defensive, looping right hand. Referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in immediately, as Varner fell awkwardly to the canvas.
"It was an excited fight with two guys fighting toe-to-toe," Trujillo said. "I always trust my power; I always knew I could knock him out.
"After this win, I'm looking forward to fighting the toughest guys in my division; the ones that could get me close to the title shot such as 'Cowboy' Donald Cerrone or Nate Diaz. I'm ready to get the gold."
Trujillo wins his second fight in two months. He knocked out Roger Bowling in the second round of a fight at a UFC on Fox event on Dec. 14.
Varner drops to 0-2 in his last two fights.
Busier Patrick earns nod over Makdessi
Patrick (12-0) posted his second win in the Octagon, this time by judges' scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 over Makdessi. The Brazilian scored a TKO victory in his UFC debut in October over Garrett Whiteley.
"I faced a great opponent who tried to tie me up all the time," Patrick said. "My plan was to keep fighting him -- and I did it.
"Makdessi was desperate after the first round, so that's the reason I could take him down every time when I wanted."
It was a difficult loss for Makdessi, who certainly had his moments in the fight. He caused some heavy swelling around Patrick's right eye as early as the second round and defended several crucial takedowns attempts in the later rounds.
Patrick, however, was the busier fighter, mixing takedown shots into his standup and holding Makdessi against the fence at times when he was unsuccessful at getting him down.
Makdessi (12-3) sees a three-fight win streak snapped and suffers his first loss since April 2012.
Cariaso outlasts Martinez
Cariaso (16-5) earned his second consecutive win with unanimous 29-28 scores, although the New Jersey crowd booed throughout.
The lack of action even prompted Martinez (16-5) to apologize to reporters as he walked past press row to the locker room.
"I felt great about this fight," Cariaso said. "My hands were really going and my jab was really working -- just a little frustrated because he was really working my legs.
"I wanted to use my wrestling defense to get out the cage a little bit more but everything went according to plan."
Martinez looked to back up Cariaso the majority of the fight, swarming with flurries and then shooting for takedowns along the fence. The first round featured a long stalemate near the fence, before Martinez landed a slam with 10 seconds left.
Cariaso started to establish his counter punching in the second round, although Martinez landed a clean right hook that caused swelling near his left eye. With 90 seconds left, Martinez scored a takedown but failed to do much with it.
Martinez continued to be more of the aggressor in the final round, but the effective counter punching of Cariaso and his ability to counter grapple Martinez proved to be the difference.
Cariaso improves to 6-3 in the Octagon, including a 3-2 mark since dropping to flyweight in July 2012.