...OH, ONE MORE THING - PLEASE BOOKMARK US & VISIT DAILY!
By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Brock Lesnar entered his fight on Saturday night with Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 seemingly having answered the question of his heart as a Champion. The Shane Carwin fight showed him come back from a bad spot to take the fight over and retain his Championship with an arm triangle choke; but in Anaheim on Saturday, Velasquez took the heart right out of his chest and beat him over the head with it.
Lesnar's strategy was baffling. He's fought slowly and methodically in some past performances, and that slow and steady pace has allowed him to keep control of the fights he's been in. When he took Velasquez down early in the fight, he tried to advance his position quickly and land a number of strikes, and as he failed to do that he also let Velasquez back up to his feet.
It's clear that, no matter what improvements Lesnar has made in his striking in training, that he doesn't handle getting hit very well. That just can't be denied after his reaction to Shane Carwin's punches and his little somersault move against Velasquez before dropping to the canvas on Saturday. To be fair, Velasquez wasn't given enough credit for the improvements he's made in his striking, and that was on full display in the fight, but Lesnar simply couldn't take those shots and continue.
Velasquez deserves all the credit that can be given to him for his performance in this fight. He went out, took some hard knees from the Champion, got taken down, and then got back to his feet and kicked his ass. There's no two ways about that. Velasquez simply was the better fighter, and not only deserved the Championship but now the respect of fight fans everywhere. He's overtaken the number one spot and there shouldn't be an argument about it.
The new Champion already knows what his next challenge entails, and that's the striking ability and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt of Junior Dos Santos. As for Lesnar, this loss will fuel those fans who have yet to accept him as a legitimate fighter, and if he decides to continue this career he'll need to figure out how best to proceed. Despite the loss, he can and will continue to be a major draw for the UFC, though perhaps not nearly at the level he was prior to this loss.
Time will tell what the next step will be for Lesnar, but all that can be said for sure is he's still got a ways to go to reach the level of mixed martial artist that Cain Velasquez proved himself to be. It may or may not be a new era in the heavyweight division, but it's certainly a new day.
DON'T GO YET... WE SUGGEST THESE MMATORCH ARTICLES, TOO!
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
STAFF COLUMNISTS: Shawn Ennis - Jason Amadi
Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
Chris Park - Matt Pelkey
Interested in joining MMATorch's writing team? Send idea for a theme to your column (for Specialist section) or area of interest (i.e. TV Reporter) along with a sample of writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.