10 Things We Learned at UFC 121
A New Champion is Crowned
Wow! There really isn’t another way to describe the performance Cain Velasquez put forth in becoming the UFC heavyweight champion.
The unbeaten Velasquez stuffed Lesnar’s initial shot and scrambled to his feet quickly when the champion did get him down. From there, the American Kickboxing Academy product put it on Lesnar, landing a short left hand that sent Brock stumbling across the cage.
Velasquez pounced and did what Shane Carwin could not, taking a measured approach with his offense against the downed and dazed Lesnar. Shot after shot landed, opening a massive gash under the champion’s left eye. As the heavy hands and hammerfists continued to rain down, Herb Dean had to step in, giving Velasquez the win and the UFC heavyweight championship.
Now Entering the Era of Cain
I generally loath the instantaneous proclamations that a newly-crowned champion is destined to rule for all of eternity that follow fights like this. After all, this is MMA, and everyone loses, right?
While the old axiom is certainly true, watching Velasquez beat the pulp out of Lesnar, a fighter who had previous done the same to his last four opponents, makes you wonder how long the title reign of new champion could possibly last.
Velasquez displayed the all-around skills that many of his supporters had spoken of before the bout and throughout his career, taking Lesnar down and hitting the now former champion with a mix of quick, powerful strikes. With a tremendous wrestling base, diverse striking and fight-finishing power, Velasquez has the assortment of talents that could keep him on top for some time.
Without a blemish on his record and fresh off delivering a savage beating to a champion many viewed as unbeatable, Velasquez is primed to start a dominant run atop the division.
Time for Lesnar to Re-evaluate
Though it might sound harsh to suggest that the recently disposed ruler of the heavyweight division needs to think so things over, that is exactly what Brock Lesnar needs to do in the wake of being badly beaten by Velasquez on Saturday night.
For the second straight bout, Lesnar was knocked right out of his element and forced to recoil across the cage when his opponent connected with a forceful blow. While not being a big fan of getting punched in the face is fine for you and me, its part of the job description as a cage fighter, and it has been made abundantly clear that Lesnar doesn’t handle it well.
When it was Randy Couture and Frank Mir doing the punching, Lesnar had little difficulty shaking off the less powerful punches of the two former champions. But with Carwin and now Velasquez, two heavy-handed heavyweights, Lesnar could not deal with the force of the blows.
That is something he’ll have to address at the DeathClutch gym if he hopes to wear heavyweight gold ever again.