UFC 121 was quite the spectacle, and that’s putting it very lightly. The anticipation for the night’s main event could have ripped the Honda Center from its foundation. Cain Velasquez needed only 252 seconds to insert himself at the top of the UFC’s heavyweight food chain. The battle was fierce and full of action but the tide quickly turned to favor the new champion as he battered Brock Lesnar with punches. Herb Dean was forced to pull the plug on the bout as Lesnar was taking rights and lefts while trying to cover up. Not only did Velasquez take his title, but he took the aura that was Lesnar’s might.
As the stage crew works to take the cage down, I’ll tear down the night’s events and shine a preverbal light on the future of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The era of Cain
During the last few months, expert after expert and professional fighter after fighter picked Cain Velasquez to come out on top during this fight. Ever so swiftly he proved his believers correct and shut down those that doubted him. Velasquez dominated the man that everyone thought was too big and too strong. Now we have a champion that has the striking, wrestling and endurance to hang in there with nearly any contender. With Junior Dos Santos next in line, we may be experiencing the creation of a new icon. Not just for the heavyweight division, but for the UFC as a whole. Can anyone say Mexico City in 2011?
Does weight class matter?
Jake Shields did what he had too against his opponent Martin Kampmann, earning a split decision victory. However, the former EliteXC and Strikeforce champion did not look as dominate as many people hoped he would. At some points during the fight Shields looked tired and gasping for breath. Had Kampmann pressed the action on the feet we may have seen an “upset.” Maybe it was the bright lights of the UFC and Shields stepping up to what has become the big stage of MMA? Or maybe it was Shields cutting down to 170 pounds instead of fighting at 185? Either way he did not look as controlling as he did during his fight against Dan Henderson. The title shot against Georges St. Pierre or whomever is the welterweight champion after December may be further off than some expected.
The Nightmare returns
Diego Sanchez looked to have regained the form that helped him run through so many opponents. His battle with Paulo Thiago had many back and forth moments, but Sanchez’s intensity continued to increase as the fight went on. After a huge slam in the second period, Sanchez became relentless in the assault of Thiago and kept the pressure securely against his opponent. The future once again looks bright for the man who calls himself the Nightmare. The only question is will he stay at 170 or venture back down to the 155 pound ranks. Great matches wait no matter where he goes.
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