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UFC 121 ‘Lesnar vs. Velasquez’ Post-Fight News, Notes & Quotes

UFC 121 images via Esther Lin for MMA Fighting and Tracy Lee for Yahoo! Sports. Check out Esther’s awesome UFC 121 photo gallery here. UFC 121 post-fight news and notes…

— 14,856 spectators witnessed Cain Velasquez crush Brock Lesnar in the Honda Center last night, according to Dana White. Their gate receipts totaled $2.15 million.

— Cain Velasquez was awarded the Knockout of the Night bonus for giving Brock Lesnar the worse beating of his short career. Daniel Roberts earned an extra $70,000 for his slick anaconda choke of Mike Guymon. And thanks to Diego Sanchez turning it on in the second round, he and Paulo Thiago were awarded Fight of the Night honors.

Cain Velasquez reflects on Brock Lesnar win, looks forward to fighting Junior dos Santos

Cain Velasquez stopped the unstoppable force last night and he made it look easy. Velasquez said he was surprised how aggressive Lesnar in the opening seconds of the fight, but he was able to weather the storm and settle into his gameplan.

“I was kind of surprised at how hard [Lesnar] was coming forward at the start of the fight,” said Velasquez, who now has six first-round knockouts among his eight stoppages. “I froze up a little bit, but once I got a takedown, I was OK. I feel like my hard work really paid off. I worked really hard in my camp on getting a single-leg [takedown] and did a lot of reps with it, and it worked to a T.”

Once he put Lesnar in trouble, he knew he needed to stay patient and pick his shots.

“I knew the ref wasn’t going to stop it that early. So we had to pick our shots. I wasn’t just going to go crazy [with] punches if he was on bottom.

“He was covering up well. I wanted some punches to connect, and some elbows to get in there, so I took my time and really thought about where I should throw the punches and where I should give the elbows.”

“I felt his strength, and I felt his power, and I was definitely used to competing with guys that were just as strong as him,” he said. “I just think I was well-prepared for this fight.”

Velasquez credited his Mexican heritage for his relentless pace that earned him the UFC heavyweight championship.

“It feels great to be the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the UFC,” said Velasquez. “I want to dedicate this title to all of the Mexicans here in America, as well as Mexicans in Mexico. I think [Latinos] bring an aggressive fight style. We come forward and don’t stop, and people like that. [Anaheim] was one of the key spots where I’ve wanted to fight, along with Mexico. To win the title here means a lot to me.”

After a short break from his grueling training camps, Velasquez will turn he attention to number one contender Junior dos Santos. Cain says he has his work cut out for him.

“I have to be a much better fighter,” he said. “I have to keep evolving. I think [Dos Santos is] the best standup fighter that there is as far as heavyweight, so he’s extremely tough.

“He has great takedown defense. He gets right back up if you take him down. He’s really relaxed in his boxing, so I definitely have my work cut out for me.”

It’s unclear when Velasquez and dos Santos will meet, but Dana White did seem to think the next heavyweight title fight will come sooner than if Lesnar would have won.

On a side note, Shane Carwin noted on his blog that it was “hard to watch” Cain utilize a similar gameplan as his against Brock Lesnar with better results, and that Brock should be “respected” for the warrior that he is. It’s the “era of the UFC heavyweights,” said Carwin, and he’s “honored” to be a part of it and “motivated” to get back to “the top of the mountain.”

What’s next for Brock Lesnar?

Brock Lesnar didn’t have much to say following the loss. He gave Cain his props immediately following the fight, but didn’t show up at the post-fight press conference. With Lesnar’s history of quitting the WWE and the NFL, a lot of people are predicting he quits MMA after such a dramatic loss. I don’t agree at all and neither does Dana White. He thinks the loss will stoke Lesnar’s competitive fire and bring him back to the cage quicker than if he would have won.

“We’re going to find out the real competitive side of Brock Lesnar here,” White told ESPN’s “MMA Live.” “I have a feeling, knowing him, his plans are going to be cut short. I think obviously he’s going to go hunting and spend some time with his family, but I think we’ll see him back a lot sooner than what we had planned.”

Dana also mentioned that he thought Brock verbally submitted when he was watching the fight on the monitor. He also made the same observation many fans have made — Brock Lesnar doesn’t react well when he gets punched in the face.

“He has been working on his stand-up,” White said. “He’s only fought five times in the UFC. We’ve seen fights where his stand-up looks good. He’s not going to win any boxing titles, but it looks good when he’s doing the punching. When he starts getting hit is when his hands start to fall apart. It’s not a matter of working on his hands enough. It’s a different ballgame when you’re getting punched in face.”

“I was watching the monitor, and I thought he yelled ‘Stop!’ White said. “From what I saw, I thought he did, too.”

White didn’t say what’s next for Brock Lesnar but many including Dave Meltzer seem to think it will be the rubber match with Frank Mir.

Jake Shields still next in line for welterweight title shot?

Jake Shields had no problem going five rounds with Dan Henderson and Jason “Mayhem” Miller in his last two fights, but last night he was visibly exhausted by the time the third round rolled around against Martin Kampmann. Shields blamed it on an extreme one-day, 20 lbs. weight cut.

“I don’t want to make excuses, but that was my first time cutting to 170 (pounds) in a while,” Shields said. “I do think I dropped too much weight. If that was a factor, I don’t know, but I pulled out 20 pounds in a day.

“Will I do that again? No, never. I’ll never drop that much weight again.”

Dana White later said that Jake’s own fault for coming into the fight so heavy.

“No matter how much weight he cut and whatever he did, that’s his fault,” White said. “That’s his stupidity. He’s been in the game for a long time, so I don’t like to use any of that stuff, but the reality is I do know what he did, and I know he won’t make those dumb mistakes next time.”

But did the weight issues and lackluster performance diminish what Dana thinks about Jake?

“I think no less of him today than I did yesterday.”

“I know who he fought tonight. He fought a real guy tonight, and he overcame it. You don’t even have to fight at this level to know that when you’re looking at that clock, and there’s still three minutes left on it, and you’re in the second round, and you make it through the fight and you win it, it says something about you.”

“It was a tough fight for Jake coming in, and no matter where Jake’s fought and what he’s done and who he’s beat and what he’s accomplished, it’s tough coming into the UFC your first time,” White said. “He beat a tough guy tonight, and he got his first win under his belt.”

So does that mean Jake Shields still gets his title shot against the GSP-Koscheck winner? Well, that’s a little unclear. While Dana seemed mostly complimentary of Jake following the event, he told Ariel Helwani that Jake’s “in the mix” for a title shot. He never said he would definitely get it. If they’re not going to give it to him, a fight against Jon Fitch would make the most sense.

Is Tito Ortiz on the UFC chopping block?

Tito Ortiz made it crystal clear following his loss to Matt Hamill last night that as far as he’s concerned, he’s not even close to calling it a career.

“It’s not even close to the end of my career,” Ortiz said. “The decision might be in Dana’s hands, but I’ve gone through some surgeries that people don’t come back (from). I feel great. Besides my face being a little sore, I feel fine. I have no more neck problems, no more back problems.

“I need to get back to wrestling. I need to get back to my roots. … I’m not a quitter. I’m going to continue on. It sucks to lose because I let down a lot of my fans. I let down the UFC. I let down Dana, but I want to prevail.

“It sucks having losses, but I’m a person to suck it up and carry on. I’ve been in this game for 13 years. I still feel like I have a lot more in me.”

Tito may want to continue his UFC career, but he may not be given the chance. On the ESPN MMA Live post-fight show, Dana White strongly hinted that with four losses in a row, Tito’s UFC career may be over.

“I think the fight tonight was [about] Tito Ortiz’s relevancy in the light-heavyweight divsion,” White said during a post-fight interview on ESPN’s MMA Live. “I don’t know the exact number, but he’s lost like four in a row. And I think we know what happens when you lose four in a row in the UFC. This is the big leagues, man.”

Dana told Ariel Helwani it had nothing to do with their rocky past, it just “is what it is.”

Meanwhile, Josh Koscheck, who called out Tito earlier this year, told TMZ that Tito needs to “get his old ass out of the Octagon” and “retire.”

Diego Sanchez may compete in two weight classes

Following his explosive performance against Paulo Thiago last night, Diego Sanchez says he may continue to compete in the welterweight division and fight in the lightweight division.

“My motto is, ‘Just earn it.’ Just earn the ‘W,’ and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to work and earn the ‘W.’ Whatever weight class I fight at, as long as I earn it, I think I’ll be fine fight at 155 or 170 (pounds).”

“I just want to fight the best matchups that are going to give the fans the best fights and move me up the ladder in mixed martial arts and this organization,” Sanchez said. “That’s what I want to do, whether it be 155 or 170 (pounds).

“I’m willing to sacrifice, make dedication, and put my heart and soul in this game.”

Dana White said he would support Diego Sanchez in whatever weight class he wants to fight in, but thinks he looks stronger at 170 lbs.

Diego credited the win to “cleaning up his life” and focusing on the things that matter, “God, my family and my career.”

Brendan Schaub wants Frank Mir

Brendan Schaub said his win over Gabriel Gonzaga was the best feeling he’s had in the UFC thus far.

“Look at my face; I’ve been in a fight. It’s definitely the best feeling that I’ve had in the UFC so far.”

Schaub wants to continue to climb the heavyweight ladder and mentioned Frank Mir as the next step he’d like to take.

“I’d love to match up with Frank Mir,” said Schaub, a former football player once employed in the NFL and AFL. “He’s one of the stars in the division, and I think I would give him a lot of problems.”

“It’s in (UFC president) Dana White and (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva’s hands, but I think that would be a good fight for me.”

It would be a decent match-up, but Lesnar-Mir 3 is a much bigger fight for the UFC than Mir-Schaub. He might have to wait for that one.

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Fight Cards

Bellator 163: McGeary vs. Davis

Event Date: November 4, 2016
Broadcast: Spike

UFC Fight Night 98: Dos Anjos vs. Ferguson

Event Date: November 5, 2016
Broadcast: TBD

Bellator 164: Koreshkov vs. Lima

Event Date: November 11, 2016
Broadcast: Spike Sports

UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor

Event Date: November 12, 2016
Broadcast: Pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass

Bellator 165: Chandler Vs. Henderson

Event Date: November 19, 2016
Broadcast: Spike TV

UFC Fight Night 99: Mousasi vs. Hall 2

Event Date: November 19, 2016
Broadcast: TBD