ANAHEIM, October 23 - Too small, they said. Cain Velasquez had other plans in the UFC 121 main event Saturday night at the Honda Center, and despite giving up more than 20 pounds to Brock Lesnar, he held off an initial charge from the 6-3, 265 pounder to take the Minnesotan down, knock him down, and then finish him off in the first round to win the UFC heavyweight championship.
"I expected nothing less," said a gracious Lesnar. "He's a great fighter. What can I say? He was better than me tonight."
The crowd at the Honda Center was standing before the opening bell even sounded, and they remained there for the entirety of the ensuing battle.
Lesnar attacked with a takedown attempt immediately, but Velasquez met it with a flurry of punches. Lesnar eagerly fired back and even shot off a flying knee, and the crowd erupted. With less than 30 seconds of frantic action gone, Lesnar got his takedown, but Velasquez shot up quickly. Lesnar immediately bulled his foe into the fence and got another takedown, but Velasquez got up almost immediately and bloodied Lesnar's face with more shots. At the 2:53 mark, Velasquez scored with a takedown of his own, and amazingly the crowd got even louder. Lesnar made it back to his feet, but his balance was off and Velasquez took advantage with more accurate blows that sent Lesnar scrambling face first to the mat. The champion weathered the initial storm, but after getting up again, Velasquez made sure he was not to be denied, as he dropped Lesnar again. This time, the humble kid from San Jose finished what he had started years ago on a wrestling mat, and after a barrage of strikes, referee Herb Dean halted the bout at the 4:12 mark and Cain Velasquez began a new reign atop the heavyweight division.
With the win, Velasquez, the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a major heavyweight title in combat sports, improves to 9-0; Lesnar falls to 5-2.
(Release courtesy of UFC)