(Fight starts at the 3:03 mark. Props: YouTube.com/UFC)
With UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez set to make his Octagon return next month at UFC 166, the UFC has released the video of his first-ever title fight, which took place at UFC 121 on October 23rd, 2010. His opponent that night was Brock Lesnar, the reigning champ who had proven his toughness the previous July with a classic comeback win against Shane Carwin. Lesnar was gigantic, athletic, and had legit talent as a wrestler. To stand a chance at winning, Velasquez would need to be faster, more efficient with his striking, and more willing to take abuse before giving it back. And that’s exactly what happened.
After some rather hoarse-voiced introductions from The Buff, Lesnar bull-rushes the smaller challenger right away, hoping to establish himself as alpha-male. And it actually works, at first. Brock stuffs some knees into Velasquez’s midsection (including a flying knee), and Cain has to retreat momentarily. He storms back with some punches but Lesnar responds by nailing a takedown and landing on top — a position that had spelled doom for the majority of his past opponents. But Cain gets to his feet immediately.
Brock struggles to put Velasquez’s back on the mat once again, and momentarily succeeds, but Velasquez is up even quicker the second time, and deftly escapes Lesnar’s grasp. It’s here that the momentum shifts. Velasquez begins popping Lesnar with punches, showing off his significant advantage in striking technique, before single-legging Lesnar to the mat and firing down some punches from above as Lesnar is turtled. Eventually he escapes to his feet, but he looks much worse for the wear, hunched over, dazed, swatting at Velasquez in panic.