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UFC 121: What happened when Cain Velasquez challenged Brock Lesnar for UFC Heavyweight Championship?

Paul Benson
ANALYST
Feature
1.55K   //    Timeless

Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez: Clashed in the UFC 121 headliner
Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez: Clashed in the UFC 121 headliner

UFC 121 was built around the headline attraction; a Heavyweight Championship match between defending champion, Brock Lesnar and undefeated challenger, Cain Velasquez.

Lesnar who had been suffering from a severe bout of diverticulitis had not looked himself in his previous outing at UFC 116 and looked an even greater shadow of himself opposite Velasquez.

The result of the main event fight was then rather inevitable as the dangerous Velasquez swarmed Lesnar with his aggressive striking and when he eventually found an opening overpowered Lesnar with vicious punches for the TKO win.

Velasquez was the new UFC Heavyweight Champion inside the first round.

Lesnar, going into the fight knew that he was nowhere close to 100% and would likely drop the title. Prior to the card, he had arranged for a post-fight confrontation with WWE star, The Undertaker. As Lesnar sloped past Undertaker who was being interviewed Octagon-side, 'Taker challenged Lesnar to a fight. Lesnar would return to WWE 18 months later and would end Undertaker's two decades Wrestlemania undefeated streak at Wrestlemania XXX in April 2014.

The Undertaker confronts Brock Lesnar after the main event
The Undertaker confronts Brock Lesnar after the main event

Another fighter who was trading on past glories was Tito Ortiz, who incredibly had not won a UFC bout in four years, heading into his clash with Matt Hamill. The man who had dominated opponents with ground and pound for years found himself on the wrong end of exactly that game-plan as his former student demonstrated he was now the master. Ortiz frankly had no answer and it was sad to witness the fall of this once great fighter. Hamill won via Unanimous Decision very, very comfortably.

Jake Shields was a big money signing for UFC and the company had high hopes for him. His debut versus Martin Kampmann however largely underwhelmed. It was noted that Shields had had trouble cutting weight and oh boy oh boy, it showed. Shields was gassed badly in this contest and Kampmann did not have the nous incredibly to play to his own strengths, namely striking and instead tried to grapple with Shields. That played into Shield's hands and despite his poor cardiovascular conditioning, he was still the busier of the two fighters in the mount. Shields was the winner via Split Decision.

Diego Sanchez beat Paulo Thiago in a fantastic three-round battle. One of the very best contests of 2010. Thiago was closing in on a Welterweight Championship, while Sanchez appeared to be on the decline after two consecutive losses, although one admittedly was to BJ Penn. The first round began with Thiago working the strikes before earning a big takedown. The second began in much the same fashion with Thiago taking Sanchez down to the mat but this time Sanchez escaped and slammed Thiago to the floor to a massive response. He completed the turnaround in the final round, dominating on the ground to take the win via Unanimous Decision.

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Brendan Schaub defeated former Heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga in the clash of big-time strikers. However, it wasn't the fight many were expecting. Schaub dominated the first round and knocked Gonzaga down just as the buzzer sounded. Gonzaga was saved by the bell on that occasion but 10 minutes later and the judges awarded a unanimous decision to Schaub with Gonzaga unable to land barely anything apart from the occasional leg kick.

UFC 121 was a mixed bag of a card inside the Octagon but a colossal success on pay per view, pulling over one million buys.

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