Questions still about as we wait the few hours left until the start of one of the most hyped UFC events of the year. Ultimate Fighting Championship 121 features a massive main event that pits current heavyweight champion and self appointed “Baddest Man on Earth” Brock Lesnar against the undefeated heavyweight standout Cain Velasquez. Along with this battle is the UFC debut of Jake Shields, a man who dominated the Strikeforce organization and has not lost since 2004. Both of these fights have massive implications on the UFC as an organization going into the next year. Here are some things to look for as you enjoy tonight’s event.
Does size matter?
Saying Brock Lesnar is a big man is a very obvious fact. But in a sport such as mixed martial arts, girth may not always be your friend. Everyone knows that Lesnar will have the strength advantage going into tonight’s fight. That power is going to be very important as Lesnar works to impose his will against his smaller opponent. The question is what happens if this fight goes beyond two rounds. Will Lesnar gas tank creep towards empty too fast and leave him facing off against Velasquez’s deadly striking? Lesnar has gone a whole three rounds of competition but not against an opponent such as Velasquez. With striking and wrestling to back up his game, Velasquez poses a serious threat to the current champ of the big men.
How will Jake Shields approach tonight’s fight?
Over the years Shields has become known for his grinding style of fighting. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, trained under Cesar Gracie, has earned a majority of his success by using his stifling top control and submission skills. However, today’s mixed martial arts fan calls for a steady stream of knockouts from the sport’s top stars and in the UFC Shields will have to accommodate to be taken seriously by some of those same fans. Fighting a slower, drawn out battle can hurt ones chances at gaining that coveted title shot. Take John Fitch for example. His recent fight against Thiago Alves was supposed to be a number one contender’s battle, with the winner getting the next title shot. That has now changed to a maybe as some expect Shields to get the next shot, dependent upon how well he fares tonight. If he comes out and runs through Martin Kampmann he should get a title shot. Of course a loss would be a major setback but a poor performance in a victory could also prove the same.
Is Tito Ortiz finished?
Tito Ortiz has not experienced victory in the past four years and 13 days. Some can even argue it’s been longer since he has earned a significant victory. As he returns to face off against Matt Hamill, will Ortiz be able to return to his old form? With the light heavyweight division currently stacked with a long list of stars, Ortiz is far away from a title shot. Recent surgeries and contract negotiations have kept Ortiz away from the cage, but now that he’s back, is this the same Huntington Beach Bad Boy. Many fight experts believe not, but a victory against his former protégé from the Ultimate Fighter Season Three may prove otherwise.
You can also follow The MMA Zone on Twitter here.