Walking away from UFC 121’s main event, I assumed that Brock Lesnar was arrogant. Then as the rest of the weekend progressed, I considered other possibilities. Whether it was arrogance, ill-advise, or desperation, Brock Lesnar was taken out of his element and because of that, he is now the FORMER UFC Heavyweight Champion of the world.
The bout opened with Lesnar coming out the gates aggressively with a flying knee that surprised Cain Velasquez. The two got in the clinch, and exchanged strikes. Lesnar got in a few punches, but mostly worked with his knees, while Velasquez worked in punches, out doing Lesnar in the clinch. From there, Lesnar was able to work Velasquez to the ground with two takedowns, that would’ve turned the tide of the match in his favor had he stuck with what he does best. Velasquez, being the quick, elusive fighter he is, was able to work his way out of trouble and spring back to his feet. The two-faced each other again and then Lesnar took himself into unfamiliar territory.
Lesnar decided to get into a striking battle with Velasquez, which was anything but balanced. It seemed like Velasquez landed three punches for every one that Lesnar threw. Later, Velasquez was able to execute a takedown of his own and follow it up with a mount from behind and work him over with punches to the head. The two got to their feet and again, Lesnar returns to a standing strike position, completely abandoning his wrestling arsenal.Velasquez catches Lesnar with a seemingly average left uppercut, but it was anything but that, as it caused Lesnar to stumble from one side of the octagon to the other in a way that was synonymous of a ballerina dancer. The number one contender gets Lesnar to the wall of the cage and unleashes a fury of punches on him that sent Lesnar to the mat. When Lesnar finally hit the ground, his inability to defend himself on the ground was almost similar to that James Toney’s, expect Lesnar was on the receiving end of punches instead of grappling. The onslaught continued and when 4:12 expired in the first round, referee Herb Dean saw enough.
Brock, didn’t you say you were going to celebrate your win and Cain’s heritage by standing in the middle of the octagon with burritos and Corona? Well the neighborhood liquor store and Chipotle must’ve watched the fight too because a celebration of a different variety took place. “Brown Pride” was celebrated as Cain Velasquez stood victorious. His trailblazing win elevated him to become the first Mexican Heavyweight Champion of any combat sport. I said if anybody had the skill set to dethrone Lesnar, it was Velasquez. He took the former champion out of his element, even when Lesnar’s comfort zone, wrestling, was involved.Velasquez is also an All-American, Division-1 collegiate wrestler, courtesy of Arizona State University.
What’s next for the newly crowned champion…Junior Dos Santos, who Velasquez feels has the best hands in UFC’s Heavyweight division. I’ll have to familiarize myself more with the new number one contender. Meanwhile, Lesnar has to get back to camp and fine tune the areas that were exposed by Velasquez. First, get to that place where he doesn’t mind taking punches. In his last two fights, he retreated as a result of taking massive shots to the chin. Second, work on his striking. He doesn’t have to evolve his game around that entirely, but he’s must be able to give and most of all, take strikes to get back to the top of this game. Next, stick to your game plan. I just knew Lesnar was going to weigh down on Velasquez and impose his will upon him, but Velasquez was too quick for him and knew how to keep the heavier Lesnar at bay. Finally, train to battle speed. Unfortunately, Lesnar has the misfortune of training with all heavyweights. Yes, he is the fastest fighter of his camp, but there are fighters out there who are faster, as we learned a few nights ago. If he trains to combat and suppress speed, he’ll be fine. While I’m not trying to come off as an expert in this area of sports, some things tell on themselves if close attention is paid to them. Congratulations to the new UFC Heavyweight Champion of the world, Cain Velasquez on an excellent performance, on the biggest stage of his career.
By Antoine Hoffman