UFC 121 “Lesnar vs. Velasquez” took place earlier this evening at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
In the main event, Brock Lesnar put his heavyweight title on the line against Cain Velasquez.
In the co-main event, Jake Shields made his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann.
Tito Ortiz looked for his first win in four years against Matt Hamill.
Diego Sanchez and Paulo Thiago looked for a much-needed win in the welterweight division.
Brendan Schaub took on Gabriel Gonzaga in a heavyweight match-up.
Results, thoughts, bonuses and live gate (when available) after the jump.
Note: Preliminary results will be updated as their aired or after the event to avoid any spoilers.
- Cain Velasquez defeats Brock Lesnar via TKO (Strikes) in Round One
- Jake Shields defeats Martin Kampmann via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Diego Sanchez defeats Paulo Thiago defeats via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-26, 29-28)
- Matt Hamill defeats Tito Ortiz via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Brendan Schaub defeats Gabriel Gonzaga via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Court McGee defeats Ryan Jensen via Submission (Arm Triangle) in Round Three
- Tom Lawlor defeats Patrick Cote via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Sam Stout defeats Paul Taylor via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Daniel Roberts defeats Mike Guymon via Submission (Anaconda Choke) in Round One
- Chris Camozzi defeats Dongi Yang via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Jon Madsen defeats Gilbert Yvel via TKO (Strikes) in Round One
Recap & Thoughts
Patrick Cote vs. Tom Lawlor: First off, great to see “Big” John McCarthy in the Octagon tonight reffing fights. As for the fight, this one was all Tom Lawlor. Lawlor took Patrick Cote down at will and absolutely dominated him on the ground. Lawlor came close to finishing Cote with an arm triangle late in the first round, but Cote illegally grabbed the cage and rolled out of it. Cote survived and made it to the end of the fight, but he failed to get anything going on the feet and had no answer for Lawlor’s takedowns and top control. Easy one to score for the judges. All three rounds for Tom Lawlor.
Ryan Jensen vs. Court McGee: Good scrap between TUF 11 winner Court McGee and Ryan Jensen. Jensen took the early lead in the fight as he seemed to get the better of McGee in the first round striking exchanges. As the second round wore on though it became clear that Jensen was starting to fade as McGee was getting stronger. By the third round, the momentum had completely swung in McGee’s favor. He roughed Jensen up on the feet, then put him on his back. From there, he worked his way into full mount and finished Jensen off with an arm triangle.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Brendan Schaub: Gabriel Gonzaga represented a big test for Brendan Schaub and he passed with flying colors. Besides a few vicious leg kicks, Gonzaga failed to mount any significant offense. Schaub stood at range and pretty much beat Gonzaga to the punch for three straight rounds. A few wild flurries at the end of the first and third rounds made it interesting, but for the most part it was a fairly lackluster kickboxing match. Schaub gets the decision win, but it wasn’t the kind of win that’s going to get people talking.
Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill: First off, Tito Ortiz looked a million times better tonight than he did last year against Forrest Griffin, but was that enough to beat Matt Hamill? Not quite. Tito came out swinging as soon as the bell started and maintained a very aggressive pace for much of the first round, yet he wasn’t terribly effective. In fact, as they returned to their corners between rounds it was Tito’s face who looked like it had been in a fight, not Hamill’s. The second round also looked close in the beginning, but Hamill changed that with a takedown. Tito attacked with submission attempts from the guard, but Hamill defended well and finished the round in side control. The third was more of the same as Hamill secured a thunderous takedown and finished the round strong from the top with punches and elbows just like Tito used to. In the end, Hamill’s takedowns and ground work made the difference and won him the unanimous decision.
It’s Tito’s fourth loss in as many years. He looked better tonight, but the fact is he hasn’t won a fight since he beat Ken Shamrock on Oct. 10, 2006. You gotta wonder how many more chances the UFC is going to give him.
Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago: Diego Sanchez still has it. He got off to a slow start, but once he got going, wow, it was vintage Diego Sanchez. It was pretty close through the first as Thiago threatened with a pair of D’Arce choke attempts that looked close. Sanchez worked his way out and made it through the round, but once he got into the second frame he really turned up the heat and began to overwhelm a fading Paulo Thiago with takedowns, ground and pound and even a highlight reel slam. Sanchez continued that pace in the third and dominated Thiago on the ground for the remainder of the fight. Sanchez needed to win tonight, but more importantly he needed the shake off his back-to-back losses to BJ Penn and John Hathaway with an explosive performance, and that’s exactly what he did.
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann: Joe Rogan loves him some Jake Shields, wow… Shields wasn’t all that exciting, but he was effective. As you would expect, Shields wanted to take this fight to the ground and for the most part he had no trouble getting it there. He took Kampmann down with relative ease in the first round and worked his ground game. Kampmann managed to escape several times, but Shields would put him right back down. When they were on the feet Kampmann was so worried about the takedown, he couldn’t let his hands go. The second was more of the same, but this time Kampmann was able to mount some offense with some wicked knees to the face from the Muay Thai clinch. They hurt Shields but he kept pressing on always working the single and double legs thwarting any attempts for Kampmann to capitalize. By the time the third round started, Shields was exhausted. It was Kampmann’s best opportunity to do some damage and finish the fight, but it didn’t happen. Despite being dead tired, Shields kept pressing on and made it through the round to win a split decision. In the end, Shields performance was just as boring and garnered just as many boos as his last two. It definitely wasn’t the type of performance that the UFC typically rewards with title shots so it will be interesting to see if Shields gets his.
Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez: Cain Velasquez finished what Shane Carwin started tonight. He put Brock Lesnar in trouble in the first round and did what Carwin couldn’t — he finished him. It was a wild four minutes. Lesnar bull rushed Velasquez as soon as the horn sounded, but Velasquez stuffed it. A wild exchange ensued along with a Lesnar flying knee that seemed to land, but it resulted in Brock getting a takedown instead of a knockdown. Lesnar had successfully put Cain on his back this time, but Cain popped right back to his feet, sending a clear message to Brock that he wasn’t going to outwrestle him tonight. After a few more exchanges and another Lesnar takedown, it was Velasquez who finished a single leg takedown on Brock. It was a huge moral victory for Velasquez and he only got better from there. In a short exchange along the fence, Velasquez caught Brock with a short punch that stunned him and sent him scrambling across the cage in search of his balance. Cain followed, stayed patient and attacked with punches, a knee and huge right that knocked the big man to the mat. It was the same situation Shane Carwin had put Brock in four months ago, except Cain picked his shots instead of punching himself out. Brock did make one more desperate attempt to get back to his feet, but Cain put him right back down and opened a huge cut on his cheek with another combination of strikes. Cain followed it up with more shots as Brock turtled and Herb Dean finally called it. Brock Lesnar’s physical attributes certainly make him a force to be reckoned with, but tonight Cain Velasquez proved that skill is still capable of overcoming tremendous size and strength deficits. Cain Velasquez is the new UFC heavyweight champion, and clearly the best heavyweight in the UFC. Well, for now at least. Junior dos Santos is next and he probably has something he wants to say about that.
Submission of the Night: Daniel Roberts
Knockout of the Night: Cain Velasquez
Fight of the Night: Diego Sanchez & Paulo Thiago
Live Gate & Attendance
Live gate: $2.15 million
Bonus and gate info via USA Today