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UFC 121: Velasquez First Mexican UFC Heavyweight Champ

Cain Velasquez became the first UFC heavyweight champion of Mexican descent with his win over Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 Cain Velasquez became the first UFC heavyweight champion of Mexican descent with his win over Brock Lesnar at UFC 121

Cain Velasquez’s first round TKO of UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar was impressive on it’s own, but the Mexican fighter’s performance at UFC 121 taught MMA fans a few things.

First of all, Velasquez showed incredible wrestling. As an NCAA Division 1 wrestler, Velasquez’s skills were assumed to be above average in the MMA world. But most of his fights have been out-and-out stand up battles that ended quickly and badly for his opponents. So his wrestling was something of an unknown quantity.

That combined with the fact that Brock Lesnar is a former NCAA national champion wrestler left a lot of people to assume the Lesnar would be able to take Velasquez down and control him the way he has everyone else he’s fought.

Lesnar knew that would be his best plan of attack. Velasquez’s kickboxing is top shelf, while Lesnar’s is still developing. But Lesnar was never able to execute any ground and pound because every time he managed to get Velasquez to the ground, the challenger was able to escape and pop back to his feet.

Velasquez’s ability to neutralize Lesnar’s next-level wrestling was astonishing, not least because Velasquez gave up 25-30 pounds to the champ.

On their feet, Velasquez and Lesnar are night and day, a circumstance that quickly came to light. However, another thing that became apparent was how little Lesnar is able or willing to withstand punishment in the striking game.

Lesnar shrunk in his last fight when Shane Carwin landed some big punches, and UFC 121 only confirmed the fact that Lesnar is a different fighter when the heat gets turned up. The left hand that dropped him for the first time against Velasquez traveled less than a foot, and when he hit the canvas and Velasquez turned up the pressure, Lesnar turtled. The champ showed little in the way of resilience.

Late in the first round, referee Herb Dean stopped the action as Lesnar had completely ceased fighting back, and was only covering up.

Also on the night, Jake Shields made good on his UFC debut, earning a split decision win over Martin Kampmann. Diego Sanchez turned in an unbelievable, high-paced decision win over Paulo Thiago, and looks to make some noise at 170 pounds. And Matt Hamill earned a unanimous decision win over Tito Ortiz.

Cain Velasquez became the first Mexican heavyweight champion in UFC history with his first round TKO of Brock Lesnar at UFC 121. It’s an exciting time for MMA fans, who can now look forward to seeing Junior Dos Santos become the first challenger to Velasquez in what promises to be a stand-up war for the ages. As for Lesnar, it’s difficult to imagine who he will fight next. But it’s clear that the athletically gifted behemoth will have to sharpen his skills if he wants to recapture the title, until Saturday night, placed him at the top of the fight world.

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Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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