UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez Recap

UFC 121 was one of the best events so far this year, and that’s saying something. Brock Lesnar was facing a hungry, young and supremely talented Cain Velasquez along with fights that will change carreers and title outlooks.

Tom Lawler faced Patrick Cote in a middleweight fight for the first preliminary bout on Spike. This didn’t look like the old Patrick Cote, as Lawler dominated the pace from start to finish and out-worked Cote on the ground from beginning to end winning a unanimous decision, scored 30-27 by all three judges.

Ultimate Fighter winner Court Mcgee took on Ryan Jensen in another middleweight match-up on the Spike prelims. Jensen controled Mcgee for much of the first round, landing most of the shots. The second round wasn’t much different but the deciding factor was a takedown by Mcgee into side control seconds before the bell. During the third round, Mcgee came out with a powerful takedown and quickly moved into mount. He landed hard shots and ended the fight with a triangle choke 1:21 into the third round.

The next bout was a clash of aggresive strikers in the Heavyweight class: Gabriel Gonzaga vs Brendan Schaub. Schaub was the first to strike and set the pace from there dominating the first round and knocking Gonzaga down with two seconds left. The next two rounds were very much the same story with an occasional hard leg kick from Gonzaga. Schaub won with  a unanimous decision scored 30-27 by all judges.

The Light Heavyweight bout between Tito Ortiz and Matt Hamil didn’t come without a bit of trash talking before hand. The first round was a striking bout between the two wrestlers. Each got some good combos here and there and Hamil, being the only deaf UFC fighter, hit Ortiz twice after the bell. Round two was similar until Hamil scored a take down and would ground and pound his way into round three and beyond with a convincing unanimous decision scored 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

Diego Sanchez vs Paulo Thiago was an important bout in the Welterweight division. Thiago is close to a title shot, while Sanchez was falling down the ranks fast. The first round opened up with Thiago working the strikes effectively then taking Sanchez down and working his superior jiu-jitsu toward the end. The second round was close at the beginning but Thiago took Sanchez down with Sanchez ending up scrambling and lifting Thiago to one shoulder. In a very “Matt Hughes” fashion, Sanchez slammed Thiago to the floor and made the crowd erupt. The third round went Sanchez’s way as he dominated the ground game and landed at least fifteen shots in the last ten seconds. Sanchez won with a unanimous decision 30-26, 29-28, 29-28.

The co-main event was between possible number one contender and former Strikeforce champ, Jake Shields, and the rolling Martin Kampmann. The first round was a show of superior jiu-jitsu from Shields as he dominated the first leg of the fight. Shields got it to the ground again in round two but was absolutely exausted. He said on MMA Live that he “overcut [weight],” so this could have been a factor in his fatigue. Shields moved into mount and controlled round two for the most part, but Kampmann dominated when Shields wasn’t on top. The third round was almost all Kampmann as he was aggressive against the tired Shields but lost the fight in a close split decision, 28-29, 30-27, and 29-28.

The main event was Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar vs the most talented fighter in his weight class, Cain Velasquez. The most important note was Lesnar outweighed Velasquez by at least twenty five pounds. The champ came out fast and aggressive, landing good punches that were swiftly followed by effective counters from Velasquez. Lesnar landed a flying knee and took Velasquez, but he quickly recovered, proceeding to land a hard shot on Lesnar followed by a huge knee. Lesnar had a huge gash under his left eye and was knocked down, tailed by Velasquez pounce. Velasquez attacked and ground and pounded his way to a devastating TKO in round one, winning in 4:12.