Written by Jude Bautista
UFC sportscasters Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan encapsulated the fight by agreeing: “It was technique over horsepower”. Brock Lesnar is an imposing figure having a decisive height 6’3”-6’1”, reach 81-77 and even weight advantage over Cain Velasquez.
Initial weigh-ins weeks before had Brock walking around 285 lbs vs Cain’s 230 lbs. Immediately before the fight it was 265 vs 245, still a 20 pound advantage for Brock. And he was quick to point out that people will see the difference in power between their size and weight.
And yet, Cain Velasquez overcame two takedowns not only to defeat Lesnar but completely knock out him out in the first round at the 4:12 mark. There was never any question about Brock’s physical advantages. But Cain had more MMA fights and experience and no one could question his heart and relentlessness in the octagon.
So it was very difficult to call the fight. I was personally wary to make any predictions since I picked Shane Carwin to win over Brock a few months ago (who proved me wrong). I wanted Cain to win but wasn’t really sure he could overcome the incredible size and strength of the Heavyweight champ. Lesnar has custom made UFC issued gloves because he has ‘lunch box sized fists’ as described by Rogan. In spite of this actor Dennis Trillo fearlessly predicted the win by Cain Velasquez. If you scroll down and read my interview with him during the Georges St. Pierre visit here in Manila you’ll see the depth of his knowledge and devotion to MMA.
Velasquez has earned the distinction of becoming the first Mexican to win a Heavyweight title, which is definitely no mean feat. In a country where boxing is a religion and has such a rich history in pugilism, Cain has certainly reached greatness. Cain seems a more likable character too. It was after all Brock who christened himself “the baddest man on the planet.” For a lot of people it was no exaggeration as he is known for trash talking on another level. Even UFC Pres. Dana White would apologize to the press and attribute it to his WWE days. But White assured them that Lesnar really was a ‘nice guy.’
In the opening seconds of the match Lesnar did everything right. He had the correct strategy in immediately going for the takedowns, which showed his speed, quickness and strength. But Cain’s ground game was so much better that he immediately stood up, when he did get on the mat. Brock was also able to throw several haymakers but Cain withstood them. From then on, it was only a matter of time when Cain landed and when he did, Lesnar could not take them.
When the two got up after a successful take
down defense, Cain threw a right hook that sent Brock back tracking and eventually tumbling down. When Cain got on top it was the most vicious beating Lesnar had ever experienced. Rogan noted that Cain is not like Carwin who tired himself out trying to get that knock out punch. Even on the ground and pound, Cain would look for openings AND THEN throw the punches. The hammer fists started raining down accurately and Lesnar’s face almost turned to raw hamburger meat instantly. The swelling and cuts was just too much to bear but was still hanging on, and briefly got up. When he went down a second time from the blows Herb Dean had seen enough and stopped it.
MMA is not Street fighting
UFC 121 was also the first time I watched it on TV together with my dad over lunch. And he was expressing his disdain over the excessive violence and brutality. He was also saying that it was just street fighting and that you could do anything. I explained very kindly that there are so many rules that protect the fighters: you can’t knee to the head while on the ground, a five minute break is imposed when hit in the crotch etc.
And we had yet to see a fatality in the UFC during or immediately after the fight. Boxing which we both love and grew up on, I said can be more brutal. This is because there are more rounds with which fighters get hit (8, 10 and even 12 rounds). The numbers of punches can easily go up in the hundreds in ONE FIGHT. In MMA or the UFC in particular non-title fights are five minutes each with only three rounds. Championship fights are five rounds maximum. If it weren’t for Manny Pacquiao, UFC and MMA in general would completely overtake boxing. The Filipino boxing icon is the lone torchbearer that keeps boxing intriguing to watch for the whole world.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has missed the bus in his date with greatness. He could
have had a historic ultimate match up with Manny Pacquiao but has allowed his cowardice and ego to make him run away from it. I respect and admire all the Mexican boxers who have fought Manny including the up and coming fight with Antonio Margarito this November 14. They relished the challenge of fighting Pacquiao showing courage and determination their Aztec ancestors would proud of. Cain Velasquez is part of this proud heritage and their latest warrior to make it big.
Yes MMA can be brutal, but in the long run there’s less damage as compared to boxing or even American football. One of the things that made me into a fan is the incredible strategy involved. There are so many disciplines and skills that you need to master and employ in MMA. If you’re weak in one aspect you are going to lose badly. Kimbo Slice, a street fighter and knockout artist found this out the hard way. He found out he had so much to learn after losing in the Ultimate Fighter reality show and the actual UFC fights.
Lyoto ‘the Dragon” Machida is a black belt in both Karate AND Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He was Light Heavyweight champ until Shogun Rua took the belt. Shogun is a kick boxing champion as well as a Jiu Jitsu blackbelt.
The sheer unpredictability, exciting knock outs, the chess match of the ground game between (Greco-Roman) wrestlers and Jiujitsu practitioners, powerful kicks, all of these things make MMA the fastest growing sport in the world.