by Trevor Fik (Staff Writer)
In describing Saturday night’s main event fight at UFC 121, the words pure and total domination came to mind before the two heavyweight fighters were locked in to the octagon to duke it out. It was a shock, however, to see these words being used to describe Cain Velasquez’ performance, as he beat the heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar for a first round knockout. By winning the title, Velasquez became the first Mexican Heavyweight champion, ushering in what could potentially become a new era in the heavyweight division where technique and speed trump size, and where fighters are not killing themselves to make the 265 pound weight limit.
The main event of the evening, which was held at the sold-out Honda Centre in Anaheim, California, showed a bearded Brock Lesnar looking every bit of his 265 pound weigh-in size, establishing a presence in the ring that was both intimidating and frightful. As the two fighters tapped gloves and the cage doors were closed, Lesnar immediately took the centre of the ring and went to work. Knees were thrown, huge frying-pan sized fists landed and Lesnar established his dominance with a huge take-down attempt early on.
Then something strange happened, something that, to my knowledge, Lesnar has never experienced before in the UFC. Velasquez managed to escape Lesnar’s gargantuan grasp and mount an offence of his own, much to Brock’s astonishment.
After Velasquez gained control, it was all Cain throughout the rest of the fight. Simply put, Lesnar folded under the first sign of pressure. He did the same thing in his last fight with Shane Carwin, with the only difference being that he was saved by the first round bell and managed to squeak out a come from behind submission in the second round. Lesnar’s chin should not be contested, however. He proved in both fights that he can take a shot and mount a comeback after being down. It was after Velasquez resisted any Lesnar takedown attempt that Lesnar’s frustration and lack of experience showed.
Lesnar’s loss is not as doom and gloom as some UFC pundits are predicting. The former champion is young enough that he will most certainly be back for another title run. A rematch with Frank Mir or a match against one of the many up and comers in the heavyweight division would be all that stands in Lesnar’s way of gaining another shot at the title.
Velasquez’ immediate outlook is one that should concentrate on getting some rest and continuing work on his striking and ground game. He has an entirely different opponent in Junior Dos Santos, who is a man that has proven that he can be as deadly on his feet as on the ground.
In other title card fights, Tito Ortiz’s loss to his former student Matt Hamill is being hailed as a sign of a new era in the UFC, with former superstars like Ortiz and Chuck Liddell being relegated to lower-card status and, in the case of their most recent losses, potentially being cut from the UFC. Ortiz, who has cemented his reputation as a future hall of fame fighter, looked nervous in his first match up in 11 months. Unable to pull the trigger for much of the fight, Hamill took advantage and proceeded to pound his way to a decisive victory.