ANAHEIM-The UFC heavyweight championship emphatically changed hands as undefeated Mexican-American Cain Velasquez battered former champion Brock Lesnar (5-2) for a technical knockout on Saturday before a large partisan crowd. A Mexican fighter finally won a heavyweight world title.
More than 12,000 at the Honda Center saw the agile Velasquez evade a bum rush by the bigger fighter Lesnar and use speedier punches and sound wrestling to eventually turn things around in the first round of Ultimate Fighting Championship 121.
Lesnar didn’t waste time and immediately attacked as he tried to take down Velasquez who maneuvered his way out, then both fired punches, kicks and knees. When the two separated Lesnar’s face was bloodied and slightly swollen.
“I expected him to go for the take down,” Velasquez (9-0) said.
A second attempt by Lesnar did bring Velasquez down but only temporarily. When they stood up a right hand by the challenger stunned Lesnar who teetered across the Octagon looking to regain his balance. Velasquez didn’t allow it. The quick Velasquez pounced on Lesnar and brought him down.
Velasquez was in control from there on as he punched, elbowed and put the bloodied Lesnar in a pure defensive mode. Velasquez mounted Lesnar and poured punches on the bearded fighter until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 4:26 of the first round.
“I trained for five rounds I wanted it to go five rounds,” said a composed Velasquez to a roaring crowd.
Lesnar was extremely gracious in defeat.
“I expected a lot from him he’s a great fighter,” said Lesnar who hugged the new champion after the end. “What can I say he was better than me.”
Velasquez becomes the first fighter in either mixed martial arts or boxing to win the heavyweight championship of the world.
“Hola Latinos,” shouted Velasquez.
San Francisco’s Jake Shields (26-4-1) made his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann (17-4) but couldn’t muster the right tact to convincingly beat the Las Vegas welterweight fighter. Known for his ground attack Shields couldn’t figure out Kampmann’s weaknesses and tired toward the end to win a split decision 30-27, 29-28, 28-29. The crowd booed the decision.
New Mexico’s Diego Sanchez (24-4) rallied from a poor first round to win the last two against Brazil’s Paulo Thiago (13-3) on the ground. Take downs enabled Sanchez to control the fight and exhibit his incredible stamina. All three judges scored it for Sanchez 30-26, 39-38 twice.
“I was really humbled by my last two losses,” said Sanchez.
Matt Hamill (11-2) scored two take downs against Tito “Huntington Bad Boy” Ortiz (16-8-1) and beat the former light heavyweight champion by decision after three rounds. Ortiz raised Hamill’s hand to acknowledge he lost even before the judges scores were given 29-28 twice and 30-27 for Hamill.
Brendan Schaub’s (8-1) twinkle toes kept him away from Brazil’s big punching and big kicking Gabriel Gonzaga (11-6). When they exchanged it was Schaub’s quicker punches and feet that enabled him to score without getting hit much in return. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Schaub.
“I expected it to go all three (rounds),” said Schaub. “He’s a tough competitor.”
Court “The Crusher” McGee (12-1) started slowly against the fast rushing Ryan Jensen (16-6) but adapted quickly in the first round of the middleweight bout. Toward the end of the first five minutes he began to find his comfort zone and zeroed in with his punches.
In the second round McGee took over and was able to find openings and scored a few take downs. At 1:21 of the third round McGee took Jensen down violently and began to wail punches on him forcing the Nebraska fighter to tap out.
Florida’s “Filthy” Tom Lawlor (7-3) won a unanimous decision over Canada’s middleweight Patrick “The Predator” Cote (14-7) after three rounds. Cote never could get the fight he wanted and lost it on the ground 30-27 on all three cards.
Oklahoma’s Daniel “Ninja” Roberts sped across the Octagon firing rapid blows and put Southern California’s Mike Guymon on the defensive mode. Then Roberts quickly applied an Anaconda choke forcing Guymon to tap out at 1:13 of the first round.
“I was expecting a three-round war and I was surprised when I got the choke. First I had a guillotine and then I went for the anaconda [choke]. I was surprised that I caught him because he’s a ground guy but I’ll gladly take the win. I knew it was tight so I just kept squeezing,” Roberts said.
Canada’s Sam Stout (17-6-1) slugged it out against England’s Paul Taylor (10-6-1) and edged him by split decision 30-27, 29-28. One judge saw Taylor winning 29-28. Taylor had the quicker hands and feet but started slowly against Stout and was given the loss.
“I knew he wanted a war and that’s not what the game plan called for. I’m not one to shy away from a war but I knew he was going to come straight at me and I didn’t want to get caught in those exchanges,” Stout said.
Colorado’s Chris Camozzi (14-3) won a spirited middleweight clash against South Korea’s Dongi Yang after three rounds by split decision 29-28 twice and 28-29. Camozzi was the taller fighter and used his reach effectively against the rugged Yang.
“I wasn’t landing the combos that I wanted to. His distance was throwing me off. I stunned him with that left and I feel like that was the determining factor. I felt like he was gassing in the first round,” Camozzi said.
A heavyweight scrap was quickly won by Minnesota’s Jon Madsen (7-0) in 1:48 of the first round against Nevada’s Gilbert Yvel (36-16-1). A take down resulted in a ground and pound and referee John McCarthy stopped the one-sided contest.
Do you think Alvarez vs Golovkin will fight in 2016?