UFC 87: What happened when Brock Lesnar bid for his first win inside the Octagon?
UFC 87 took place on August 9, 2008 and was a heavily promoted show that was built around two headline fights. The co-main event pitted former WWE superstar, Brock Lesnar versus the "Texas Crazy Horse" Heath Herring.
Lesnar had disappointed UFC officials with his debut loss for the promotion at UFC 81 six months earlier, although his performance had impressed.
The promotion had planned to pit Lesnar against former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Mark Coleman in order for their big money signing to achieve a statement victory over a legendary performer. However, an injury forced Coleman to withdraw and Lesnar was paired with the veteran, Herring instead.
Lesnar did deliver the statement win UFC bosses were hoping for. In a departure from Lesnar's bout with Mir, he was roundly cheered in this encounter emanating as it did from Lesnar's hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The bigger, stronger Lesnar showed much more discipline in this fight than he did in his UFC debut versus Frank Mir, meaning he did not give the veteran an opportunity to steal a win as Mir had done at UFC 81.
Lesnar rocked Herring with a huge right hand early in the bout which almost turned the Texan inside out. It has been replayed on many highlight reels since. From there, Lesnar controlled the match with ground and pound and earned a unanimous points victory.
The main card began with a Middleweight matchup between Demian Maia and Jason MacDonald.
In an entertaining clash, the superb Maia largely controlled in the mount before earning the win with a rear naked choke. It was a thing of beauty and rightly earned Maia "submission of the night" honours.
In another hyped match on the card, Kenny Florian met Roger Huerta in what proved to be a deathly dull encounter which played before long periods of silence in which neither man achieved much reaction from the live crowd.
Florian's excellent defensive skills negated Huerta's usually devastating brawling. This meant the clash was a dud as a spectacle as Huerta could not land any substantial blows on Florian and rather inevitably found himself on the wrong side a Unanimous Decision.
Next up was the shortest match on the card by some considerable distance; a mere 12 seconds.
The battle of The Ultimate Fighter alumnus ended with Rob Emerson knocking out Gamburyan with a huge left hook. It was an ugly end to the fight for Gamburyan who was laid flat out on the canvas.
In the headliner, George St-Pierre defended the Welterweight Championship he unified with his Interim Championship at UFC 83, for the first time, versus contender Jon Fitch.
Prior to this encounter, Fitch had lost just twice in his entire career and was unbeaten in six years. He was a formidable opponent for the defending champion. However, GSP proved himself to be a legend in the making, controlling the encounter standing up and on the ground.
It was a testament to Fitch's heart that he went the full five round distance. However, this was to be GSP's night. There would be many more in his future.
UFC 87 thanks to the drawing power of GSP and Lesnar pulled what was then the sixth highest grossing pay-per-view buyrate in UFC history at around 625,000 buys.