Heavy.com is on the scene at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California for “UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez” this evening. Follow along with all the main card action beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
A bit of a feeling out process started off the contest, as Schaub circled around, before landing a nice combination. The two traded shots, neither landing anything significant. However, that quickly changed as Schaub moved forward landing a nice right hand. Gonzaga, clearly timid, could not seem to ward off Schaub’s strikes, which were coming in quick. Gonzaga began working kicks, landing a pair with two minutes to go in the round. A nice combination from Schaub then landed, but Gonzaga began moving forward. He shot off a kick with 30 seconds to go, but then got absolutely blasted by Schaub. He moved in on Gonzaga and continued pummeling him as the round came to a close. That was the definition of “saved by the bell”.
Schaub began the second with a much slower pace than he finished with in the first. Gonzaga seemed to be recovered from the beating he took in the first, but still could not getting any offense going. Gonzaga finally shot off a leg kick, slipped, and Schaub pounced on him. Gonzaga again survived, but really could not get anything going for him. Body shot landed for Schaub, who missed with a big right hand. However, he followed up with a vicious combination that had Gonzaga running. With two minutes to go, Schaub began pounding away again, and Gonzaga once again took a beating. The pace then slowed with only brief exchanges here and there. One minute to go, and Gonzaga’s face was bloodied up. No action happened through the final minute until the last five seconds, where each fighter landed a few shots. Another dominant round for Schaub.
The final round began with Gonzaga clearly down after two disappointing rounds in desperate need of a stoppage. Schaub appeared to be slowing down, but just barely. He shot in for a takedown, but Gonzaga stuffed it, and the two jumped back to their feet. After brief back-and-forth exchanges, Gonzaga finally landed a nice kick and he began to loosen up. However, Schaub was ready to jump on any openings and continued working his heavy hands in combination. The Brazilian continued to move forward, but still could not mount much offense. With 1:30 to go, this was Schaub’s fight to lose and he was not extremely concerned about getting the knockout until the final 10 seconds. He rushed forward throwing bombs, looked for a takedown, and nearly got submitted. The bell rang with Gonzaga on Schaub’s back, but it was too little, way too late. Schaub def. Gonzaga via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Matt Hamill vs. Tito Ortiz
Hamill and Ortiz wasted little time getting after each other, and Ortiz landed a nice head kick to start the action. Hamill came back with a few shots of his own, but Ortiz continued to press forward. He landed a nice kick to the body of Hamill, but it was caught and he was taken down. After a failed transition by Hamill, Ortiz moved back to the feet. Ortiz threw another head kick and the former champion appeared to be very loose in the Octagon. Hamill struggled to get anything going offensively, while Ortiz gave him little opportunity to get comfortable. With one minute to go, however, he finally landed a nice combination, the first effective combo of the night for him. Ortiz came back, pushing the pace once again, and mixed up head kicks and punches. The final minute saw brief exchanges throughout, but no major shots connected. Hamill really could not get anything going in that one.
The second round began with Hamill clearly loosening up, but Ortiz did not seem timid in the least. Hamill then landed a nice head kick, followed by what appeared to be a bit of taunting. The former champion moved forward once again, looking for a takedown. However, Hamill brushed him off and began pushing forward a bit himself. Big right hook missed for Ortiz, and Hamill threw a few jabs. The pace slowed drastically with three minutes to go, but Ortiz lept forward, landing a few shots, including a solid knee. However, Hamill came back with a takedown and looked to work his ground and pound. Ortiz threw elbows of his own from the bottom, looking for a submission from the bottom simultaneously. Hamill began pounding away, and Ortiz rolled for a leg lock. He missed it, and Hamill moved into side control, looking for a mounted crucifix. With 10 seconds left, Ortiz moved back to the guard, but the round was not his.
A touch of gloves starts the third and final round, followed by Hamill landing a jab, followed by another. Ortiz began to appear a bit confused or timid, but quickly erased those thoughts with an uppercut that landed and a head kick that just missed. He began pressing the pace once again, while Hamill was content to counter Ortiz’s strikes. Kick to the body landed for Ortiz, who immediately defended against a combination from his opponent. The following two minutes went by with little action, before Ortiz shot in for a takedown, which Hamill stuffed. Two minutes left in the round, and both fighters seemed to be fading fast. Ortiz worked a decent combination, but Hamill came back with a takedown that landed him in side control. Hamill began bombing away at Ortiz with punches and elbows, and Ortiz desperately needed to work to a better position with 30 seconds to go. He could not, and Hamill finished the fight in a position Ortiz was so familiar with at one time, dropping elbows from the top. Not a very impressive showing for Hamill, but a big win nevertheless. Hamill def. Ortiz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Paulo Thiago vs. Diego Sanchez
Thiago began this fight as the aggressor, but Sanchez landed the first good shot. However, that did not slow Thiago down, as the Brazilian continued moving forward. Sanchez looked to close the gap, but Thiago clinched and blasted off a few knees. Up against the cage, Thiago looked for a takedown after Sanchez’s failed attempt. However, Sanchez pushed away and the two moved back to the center of the cage. Sanchez moved in and out with his combinations, staying out of range the majority of time. Thiago decided to close the gap and moved in for a takedown, which he earned, and Sanchez was on his back taking punches to the head. Very nice control displayed by Thiago forced Sanchez to stay on the ground. He moved for a D’Arce choke, but Sanchez pulled away and they were on their feet once again. One minute to go in the round, and Sanchez turned it on, pressing forward. He clinched with Thiago up against the cage and looked for the takedown. However, he failed to get it as time ticked away, and the Brazilian ended the frame with a dominant flurry.
The second round began with an incredible pace, as Thiago moved forward with a flurry of punches, some of which landed. Sanchez elected to go for another takedown and he got it. Sanchez wound up in what was a reverse mount after a scramble, pounding away at Thiago’s body. Thiago rolled and worked back to guard, no doubt looking for a submission. Sanchez moved to half guard, and Thiago looked to secure a kimura. After a brief stoppage due to what was an illegal shot, Thiago worked for it again and he nearly got it. However, Sanchez escaped, but was immediately reversed by Thiago. A frantic battle occurred, as the two worked for the best position. Sanchez closed in again and picked up Thiago, slamming him to the ground. Sanchez worked for the back, looking for a rear naked choke. He pounded away from the top, as Thiago looked to stand up. Sanchez worked to the back when Thiago stood, and the Brazilian shook him off. With only seconds to go, Thiago closed in with a flurry, and the round came to a close. Big round for Sanchez.
Sanchez came out extremely energized in the third and easily reversed a takedown attempt by Thiago. In half guard, he began looking for ground and pound, but Thiago avoided any significant damage. The Brazilian worked for the kimura yet again, nearly got it, but let it go after Sanchez rolled away. Sanchez got to the back with 3:30 to go and locked in the hooks. He moved to a body triangle, and Thiago found himself in a very unfortunate position. He rolled away, but Sanchez then moved to the full mount before switching back to Thiago’s back. Thiago broke away from the grasp of Sanchez and stumbled backwards, falling. Sanchez closed in again, ate a nasty up-kick, and took over top control again. Thiago, exhausted, attempted to lock on another choke, but Sanchez slipped out once again and began grinding away at the Brazilian. 10 seconds to go and Sanchez began pounding away from the full mount, while Thiago threw hammerfists from the bottom. Very entertaining fight and a big win for Sanchez. Sanchez def. Thiago via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28).
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann
Shields came out pressing the pace early with a clinch, looking for the takedown. Shields scored the takedown, but Kampmann proved a difficult foe on the ground. However, Shields fought through and ended up in half guard, but quickly began working towards a better position. A beautiful transition to mount put Kampmann in terrible trouble, but he scrambled and worked back to his feet. The fighters clinched once again with Shields pressing the pace. Kampmann looked to counter a takedown with a guillotine choke, but Shields pulled out of it and worked for another takedown. The fighters separated, and Kampmann looked very comfortable in the striking. However, a long jab by Shields allowed him to keep his distance from the superior striker. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion looked for another takedown, but Kampmann managed to stuff it once again. 20 seconds to go and Shields worked for yet another takedown. He failed to get it, and Kampmann ended up on top as the bell rang.
The second round began with Kampmann landing a few shots, but nothing significant landed. Shields began pressing forward again, looking for another takedown, and the fighters clinched against the cage. Kampmann pushed Shields against the cage and landed a big knee that floored his opponent. However, Shields quickly worked for another takedown, while Kampmann looked for another guillotine choke. Shields escaped and ended in side control, but was forced back to half guard. Kampmann worked his way back up and began pounding knees into Shields, who worked to get the fight down. He succeeded and looked for a dominant position. He earned it, as he got the mount, but Kampmann, once again, escaped. However, that did not last long, as Shields earned the mount yet again. Kampmann bucked him off, and the two clinched yet again against the cage. The referee separated the fighters, and Joe Rogan seemed genuinely confused. 10 seconds to go and Kampmann landed a few shots to his seemingly dazed opponent.
After two close rounds, Kampmann looked incredibly fresh, while Shields looked a bit tired. Shields worked for a takedown, but Kampmann stuffed it and followed with a head kick. Another takedown by Shields, which was not set up at all, was again stuffed. Kampmann began turning it on, while Shields looked to be fading very quickly. He worked for yet another takedown, however, and gave up his back to Kampmann when he failed. Kampmann let Shields up, and Shields looked for another takedown. Kampmann stuffed it and ended on top, looking for a choke. Shields avoided the chok, but Kampmann continued to control his opponent. In half guard, Kampmann began utilizing his ground and pound against the exhausted Shields. However, he elected to go for a choke, which allowed Shields to roll over into half guard. Back on top, Shields began smothering his opponent, who could not seem to escape. Shields moved to side control, but, when Kampmann rolled, took his back. Body triangle locked down, Shields looked for the choke. Exhausted, Shields could not sink in the choke, but probably secured the round with his late efforts. Shields def. Kampmann via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).
Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez
Lesnar immediately came out at a brutal pace, landing several big shots to Velasquez. He managed to work a takedown 30 seconds in, but Velasquez stood back up. Up against the cage, Lesnar grabbed hold of the challenger’s legs, looking to out-muscle him. He took Velasquez down again, but he escaped. Blood dripped down from Lesnar’s face from a knee from Velasquez, who earned a takedown after a brief exchange on the feet. Lesnar stood back up, looking for another takedown. Velasquez avoided and landed huge shots to Lesnar, sending him to the floor. Velasquez in side control, began dominating Lesnar on the ground, utilizing ground and pound. Lesnar covered up and looked exhausted. However, he exploded up, and Velasquez landed several big shots to put Lesnar back on his back. Velasquez began pounding away at the bloodied up Lesnar, and Herb Dean pulled him off of the defeated champion. Incredible performance by Velasquez. Incredible. Velasquez def. Lesnar via technical knockout at 4:12 of Round 1.