There's a few reasons why Brock Lesnar, in his short stint in MMA, has become the sport's biggest draw. One of them, is how absolutely dominant he's been. Another, is his built-in popularity from his days in pro wrestling. But the biggest comes when mixing those two together and adding in his brash personality. People have been willing to pay lots of money to hopefully see someone beat up Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar's impressive reign as UFC Heavyweight Champion made him the favorite going into his fight last night. The group of friends I watched with had seen Brock overcome obstacles before, and couldn't imagine a way he would lose. I thought Lesnar would win too, but I made sure to point out to my friends that they shouldn't be counting out Cain Velasquez.
It was an insanely exciting fight for its short length, but before long, Cain Velasquez was teeing off on Lesnar with barrages of huge, accurate shots. Before the first round was up, Lesnar had been picked apart, and Cain Velasquez had pulled off the "upset" to end Lesnar's reign and become UFC Heavyweight Champion.
How did Velasquez do it? To me, what stands out is the accuracy of his shots. It's a skill that none of Lesnar's other opponents had been able to show in the Octagon. Forgetting Lesnar's rookie-mistake costing him his first UFC fight against Frank Mir, Lesnar had overpowered three of his next four opponents, in Heath Herring, Randy Couture, and Frank Mir in their rematch. Shane Carwin was the first to really take it to Lesnar, but Carwin's tactics relied on pure power, and little technique with his shots. This ended up tiring out Carwin in the first round, and Lesnar easily took him down and submit him in the second.
Cain Velasquez was able to overcome all of those issues. For one, he had the size to be able to go toe-to-toe with Lesnar and not get overpowered. But what was more impressive was the skill he showed. I was incredibly impressed with the way he was able to handle Lesnar's takedowns, and even managed to take Lesnar down himself. And once he nailed Lesnar with a few good shots, he started to pick him apart with accurate and effective punches, unlike the one's Lesnar survived from Carwin.
Cain Velasquez is an incredible impressive athlete, with such a wide variety of great skills. He's also a soft-spoken, easy to cheer for guy.
In one night, the UFC's Heavyweight Title has flopped from the ultimate bad guy to one of easiest guys in the sport to cheer for. The impressiveness of the athlete holding the belt remains at such a high level, but what will change is the fact that now most fans will be rooting for him to keep defending that belt and taking the Heavyweight division to a new level.
Velasquez is scheduled to make his first defense against Junior Dos Santos, which should be an incredible battle. And should he come out of there with the championship, you'd have to figure a major rematch with Lesnar wouldn't be too far away.
My cable company can take my order for that one already.