Posted on: October 24, 2010 1:15 am
Edited on: September 20, 2011 7:58 pm
Cain Velasquez pulled a Brock Lesnar on Brock Lesnar Saturday night.
Velasquez became the UFC heavyweight champion with a convincing TKO win over Lesnar at 4:12 of Round 1, causing the live crowd at UFC 121 to go in hysterics cheering for the kind-natured but highly skilled young fighter.
Lesnar was every bit the oversized, overly grumpy and freakishly strong athlete in this fight that he had been in his victories. But another of his more pronounced personality traits is his lack of patience. That came through in a series of awkward mistakes, such as swatting, backfisted jabs and an almost comical stumble across the cage to escape from a takedown.
You can't make mistakes like that at the championship level and expect to remain the champion. Especially not with a guy like Velasquez ready to capitalize on every error. Not only did Velasquez make the best of Lesnar's mistakes, but he also negated the things Lesnar did right. The result was a Brock Lesnar fight in which Lesnar, for the second time in as many fights, played the role of the punching bag.
Lesnar came out fast with fists and knees, including an uncharacteristic flying knee. He established a breakneck pace in the opening seconds against an opponent that figured to have the clear endurance advantage. First mistake.
Lesnar took Velasquez down to the mat, but Velasquez -- himself a stud collegiate wrestler before entering MMA -- scrambled to his feet before suffering any real damage. Velasquez answered with his own takedown, and even though Lesnar escaped to his feet after some fists on the ground, it seemed the psychological damage may have been done. Lesnar's not used to fighting guys he can't hold down, let alone guys who can pop right back up and give him a receipt.
Brute force and elite-level wrestling were not going to be enough to beat Velasquez. Lesnar reacted to this by throwing all form out the window and swatting wildly at Velasquez and trying to muscle his way back into an advantageous position.
Velasquez was known before the fight to have the far better striking technique. Lesnar may or may not have possessed the heavier hands, but that doesn't matter. Both men hit hard enough. Velasquez clearly hurt Lesnar with a knee, and from there, Lesnar went into full-on retreat mode.
Velasquez threw strikes. Lesnar covered up. He simply did not have the skill or strategy to quickly adjust to Velasquez's onslaught. As a result, we have a new UFC heavyweight champion, with a perfect 9-0-0 MMA record and a whole lot of upside.
Velasquez is only going to get better, folks. Ponder that for a minute.
As for Lesnar, there will be those who claim he was exposed by this loss. If you didn't realize he was green before, then yes, this loss probably opened your eyes a bit. But Lesnar was never known for being well-rounded.
What worked for Lesnar up until Saturday night were his size, strength, wrestling ability and incredible self-confidence. Save for possibly that last one, Lesnar still has all of those attributes. And that's still more than enough to earn victories over just about anybody other than Cain Velasquez. This is not the end of Brock Lesnar, title threat. Champions need contenders. Until somebody else can do to Lesnar what Velasquez did, Lesnar will be that guy, sooner or later.
But right now, it sure doesn't look as though anybody can beat Cain Velasquez at his best. And at 28, he's just getting started.
Posted on: July 24, 2009 9:07 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2009 9:29 pm
Earlier today, in writing about Affliction cancelling the Trilogy pay-per-view that was set to be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett, I ended with a bit of speculation : "Three months from now, will there be an Affliction MMA promotion?"
As it turns out, Affliction's demise only took another three hours.
After cancelling their Aug. 1 Trilogy event, Affliction reportedly cancelled their entire future as an MMA promotion. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reported Friday night that Affliction had kissed and made up with the UFC, agreeing to get out of the fight promotion business in exchange for the UFC allowing Affliction to sponsor fighters in the Octagon once again.
It is unknown what will become of the fighters under contract to Affliction. The best guys on the roster will no doubt turn up in either the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator or M-1. Some could head for Japan.
Fedor Emelianenko will be the hot property as always, but there's only one place he could make truly big money, and Dana White wants exclusivity. Time will tell if Emelianenko will finally bend on that demand and put himself in the position to fight Brock Lesnar.
The UFC expressed interest in Vitor Belfort earlier this summer, so "The Phenom's" UFC return could be right around the corner pending a release from his Affliction contract. Renato "Babalu" Sobral is the reigning Strikeforce light heavyweight champion already, so his future should be secure.
Otherwise, the upcoming weeks and months figure to be busy ones for a bunch of former Affliction fighters. Here's hoping everybody lands on their feet without too much trouble.
There will certainly be more information and news to come in what has been a ridiculous week for MMA.
Posted on: May 22, 2009 10:58 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2009 11:09 pm
There are times when a UFC fight gets a whole lot more interesting due to a late change of opponents. Over the course of the past three days, that has happened twice.
In the most time-sensitive switch, Chris Wilson was scratched from Saturday's UFC 98 card with barely two days' notice, after the Nevada State Athletic Commission could not get Wilson's doctor on the phone to provide necessary medical information. The NSAC reportedly left numerous messages for the doctor and simply never got a call back. As a result, the commission was left with no choice but to pull Wilson from the show.
Wilson's replacement against Brock Larson will be Mike "Quicksand" Pyle (17-5-1), an Xtreme Couture fighter making his UFC debut after lots of experience elsewhere, including EliteXC, Affliction, Strikeforce, WEC and the IFL. Pyle has won his last four fights (all via submission), and six of his past seven bouts. Pyle's only loss during that stretch was to Jake Shields in Nov. 2007.
Earlier this week, another late switch resulted in an intriguing heavyweight battle that just might put the winner on the radar for a possible title shot vs. Brock Lesnar (or Frank Mir , pending the outcome of that title fight at July's UFC 100).
"The Texas Crazy Horse" Heath Herring pulled out of his UFC 99 bout vs. up-and-comer Cain Velasquez on June 13 in Germany, citing either illness (as reported by MMA FanHouse) or injury (as reported by the UFC) as the cause. Either way, his replacement is a solid test for the former collegiate wrestling standout, as Velasquez will now battle Cheick Kongo .
Kongo (14-4-1, 7-2-0 UFC) has won five of his last six fights, with the only loss in that time frame coming at the hands of Herring in March of 2008. Since then, Kongo has made quick work of Dan Evensen , Mustapha Al-Turk and Antoni Hardonk .
Velasquez (5-0-0, 3-0-0 UFC) won his first four fights via knockout in the first round, and his most recent bout -- vs. Denis Stojnic at February's UFC Fight Night 17 -- via TKO at 2:34 of Round 2.
A standout wrestler at Arizona State, Velsaquez has the athleticism, punching power and solid wrestling base that has many observers calling him the future of the UFC heavyweight division, and a potential rival to Lesnar in years to come.
Posted on: March 7, 2009 10:58 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2009 11:00 pm
Mir-Lesnar II is now officially postponed from the original May 23 date.
Frank Mir appeared on the UFC 96 PPV broadcast with Mike Goldberg. He confirmed that he got his knee scoped recently and it would take 4-6 weeks for his knee to be 80 percent, and then he could do light sparring. Mir said he wants to possibly do the fight on July 11 so he can fight Brock Lesnar at 100 percent, and have no excuses.
They did not confirm July 11 as the definite date of the Lesnar vs. Mir rematch, but it sounds like that's the plan, assuming Mir's healing process doesn't hit any roadblocks.
Mir said it was a lingering knee injury and that the knee just finally popped in practice a while back, necessitating the surgery.
They showed Brock Lesnar in the audience but didn't give him a chance to comment.
Posted on: September 2, 2008 4:15 pm
The UFC announced today that heavyweight champion Randy Couture would return to the organization for a Nov. 15 fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 in Las Vegas.
The return ends a year-long holdout by Couture that resulted in numerous legal claims and harsh words being tossed around by both sides of the dispute.
"We had some problems with Randy," Dana White said during the conference call. "We have resolved them all."
Couture resigned from the UFC in September 2007 via fax, citing a lack of respect. He also claimed that the UFC's failure to sign Fedor Emelianenko -- the one man he wanted to fight, and the man considered by many as the best fighter in the world -- as the last straw in his departure.
All of that seems to have been smoothed over, and the 45-year-old UFC Hall of Famer will return to the Octagon imminently.
The UFC continued to recognize Couture as the heavyweight champion during his absence, citing that two of the four fights left on Couture's contract were unfulfilled, and unless Couture retired permanently from the sport, he remained under contract to them. In the meantime, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was crowned UFC interim heavyweight champion following a win over Tim Sylvia, after Couture refused an offer to defend against Nogueira.
On paper, the Lesnar vs. Couture fight appears to have a good chance to rank among the highest-drawing PPV bouts in company history. While still very green in MMA, Lesnar's wrestling ability, punching power, and athleticism have caused many to deem him the future of the UFC heavyweight division.
CBSSports.com will have more on this story as it develops.
Posted on: August 9, 2008 11:38 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2008 12:10 am
Here we go with the big boys: Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring is next.
Round 1: Lesnar runs out with a flying knee that misses. He circles a bit before dropping Herring with a right hand and rushing in for a guillotine, which isn't sunk in well. Herring has Lesnar against the fence. Lesnar shoots and gets an easy takedown with Herring back against the cage. Lesnar stands over Herring and tosses his legs aside. Herring to his hands and knees with Lesnar on his side. Herring turtles up. Lesnar throwing punches to the sides of Herring's head. Herring is bloodied. Herring rolls over briefly trying to take guard but Lesnar keeps that from happening. Lesnar still busy with punches and elbows to the head. Knee to the body by Lesnar. Lesnar is controlling Herring with an ankle pick and a wrist, textbook amateur wrestling style. Herring can't get off his knees. His left eye looks like it's swelling. Lesnar just holding Herring in place and striking at will as the round ends. Lesnar 10-9, easily.
Round 2: Lesnar charges forward for a takedown and Herring avoids it. Herring throws a fist and Lesnar ducks under for a body lock takedown. Lesnar gets Herring right back to his knees. Herring rolls over and Lesnar takes side control. Herring turns to his knees again. Lesnar gets full mount but Herring rolls back to his knees. Lesnar hammer-fists Herring in the face. Lesnar with knees to the body. Herring rolls to his back again. Herring tries to take half guard but Lesnar maintains side control. Herring fights to his feet. Lesnar with another guillotine with his back to the fence. Lesnar knees Herring in the body. Herring with a couple of knee strikes and throws a combo of fists that miss the mark as the round ends. 20-18 Lesnar.
Round 3: Both of Herring's eyes are swelling and he looks in rough shape. Lesnar throws a kick to the head. Herring throws fists and forces Lesnar against the fence. Lesnar reverses it and throws more knees to the ribs. Lesnar takes Herring to the mat again and resumes punching Herring in the face from the side. Lesnar with big knees to Herring's ribs and shoulder. For those wondering about Lesnar's stamina in a long fight, he looks completely fine at this point. Herring rolls to his back and Lesnar takes full mount again. Herring rolls back to his knees. Lesnar is manhandling Herring on the canvas. Herring sits on his backside and Lesnar tries a to force a rear naked choke, but Herring slips out and gets back to his feet. Herring throws a couple of strikes that miss and Lesnar takes him down again. More fists to the face by Lesnar. Herring rolling back and forth but he just can't escape. Lesnar with full mount again. Lesnar hears the ten second warning and starts celebrating early, letting Herring back up as the buzzer sounds. 30-27 for Lesnar, by my estimation. Lesnar has clearly improved since the Mir fight.
Winner: Brock Lesnar defeats Heath Herring via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26) after three rounds.
"I fell off the horse against Frank Mir, and tonight I got on that horse and rode it out of town, baby!" a jubilant Lesnar says after the win.
The UFC has got to be happy with that performance, and while Lesnar still shows the need for improvement in certain areas (he had full mount numerous times and couldn't do anything with it except control position), he's coming along just fine for a rookie.
Posted on: March 1, 2008 10:44 pm
They just interviewed Mark Coleman at cageside, talking about his Hall of Fame induction earlier this evening.
Coleman emphasized that he is not retired and said Dana White just found him an opponent with five months' notice to prepare.
Get ready for Mark Coleman vs. Brock Lesnar this summer. That ought to be fun to watch.
Posted on: February 2, 2008 11:31 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2008 11:55 pm
All right, boys, here's the one everybody is waiting for: Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar.
Mir entered to Nas' "Hate Me Now." Lesnar came out to Motley Crue's "Shout at the Devil."
Round 1: Mir throws a kick and Lesnar immediately takes him to the mat. Lesnar with strikes as Mir tries to turn into him. Lesnar lands some strikes and referee Steve Mazagatti stops them, deducting a point from Lesnar for one of the punches hitting Mir in the back of the head. Upon restarting, Lesnar resumes ground and pound. Mir tries for an armbar twice but Brock is too strong. Lesnar is standing over Mir looking to punch, and Mir grabs the leg and taps Brock out with a kneebar.
Winner: Frank Mir defeats Brock Lesnar via submission due to a kneebar at 1:30 of Round 1.