Jae C. Hong / AP
Published Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 | 5 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 | 9:31 p.m.
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — All of the talk entering Saturday night's main event at UFC 121 was whether heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar could go with a well-conditioned Cain Velasquez into the deep waters of the fourth and fifth rounds.
Everyone who wondered that was left guessing, as Velasquez unseated Lesnar and became the new UFC heavyweight title-holder via TKO with 48 seconds to go in the first round at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
"I trained for a five-round fight," Velasquez said. "I was hoping for that."
Lesnar charged hard right out of the gates, but Velasquez never wavered, landing some early shots, including creating a nasty gash under Lesnar's left eye. Lesnar was then wobbled by a series of blows and fell across the octagon to the mat in the corner. Velasquez took advantage of the opportunity and pounded away at Lesnar until ref Herb Dean called an end to the bout, forcing a sell-out crowd with a heavy Hispanic influence to erupt into sheer pandemonium.
Lesnar's professional record dropped to 5-2, including a 4-2 mark in the UFC.
As for Velasquez, he has the chops to hold the belt for an extended period of time. At 9-0 professionally, his first defense is expected to come against Junior dos Santos (13-1 overall, 6-0 UFC). Dos Santos's most recent victory came against Roy Nelson in a unanimously decided slugfest at UFC 117.
For full post-UFC 121 coverage, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/fighting.
Other Main Card Results
Jake Shields def. Martin Kampmann (split decision)
Overall, Jake Shields' highly-anticipated UFC debut will be considered somewhat of a flop. In an unimpressive showing that could have gone either way on the judges' scorecards, the former Strikeforce middleweight champ took a split decision victory over Martin Kampmann. The scores were a bit questionable, as one judge scored it 30-27 in favor of Shields, who was clearly out-worked in the second round. He may, too, have lost the third, but the judges didn't see it that way. Now, the question on everyone's mind: Is Shields really ready to face the winner of the upcoming Koscheck-St. Pierre welterweight title bout? In a fight that was considered a showcase by many to break Shields into the UFC, he got worn out mid-way through the second round and drew many boos from the crowd for a lack of action. Surely, the title shot topic will be hotly-discussed with UFC president Dana White at the post-fight press conference.
Diego Sanchez def. Paulo Thiago (unanimous decision)
This week, Diego Sanchez said that along with working his way towards a UFC belt, after the disappointment of losing at UFC 114 to then-unknown John Hathaway, he wants to entertain fans and have wars in the octagon. He lived up to his word, putting on quite the show against Paulo Thiago in a unanimous decision victory. After looking sluggish in the first round, he got stronger as the fight went on. The highlight of the second round, which ignited a crowd with a huge hispanic influence, was when he picked Thiago up, carried him 15 feet in the cage while screaming and slammed him hard to the ground. From there, it was ground-and-pound for two strong rounds, including a dominant third stanza that he took 10-8. It wasn't quite a must-win for Sanchez, who is one of the UFC's biggest fan favorites, but it was pretty close, and Sanchez may have re-ignited his career in the process. The fight could end up making big money for both fighters, as to this point, it's the leading candidate for Fight of the Night bonuses.
Matt Hamill def. Tito Ortiz (unanimous decision)
UFC president Dana White said at Wednesday's press conference, when asked if Ortiz could be done in the UFC with a loss on Saturday, that he 'needed to win,' not unveiling any consequences for a loss. Well, now we'll see what they are. Ortiz came out charging hard against his former TUF Season 3 pupil Matt Hamill, and even scored a win in round one on two judges' cards. But Hamill wore Ortiz down after doing some facial damage to the UFC legend in the first round, scoring big takedowns and following them up with hard elbows in the second and third rounds. Ortiz was clearly more tired than his opponent after the first round, leaving Hamill plenty of room to pick his spots. Hamill took the unanimous decision victory, 29-28 on two cards and 30-27 on the third. Including a controversial DQ victory over Jon Jones at the TUF Season 10 finale, that makes it five wins in a row for the rapidly-improving Hamill. The two were emotional afterwards, with a bloodied Ortiz hugging Hamill and then raising his friend's right hand before the decision was officially announced.
Brendan Schaub def. Gabriel Gonzaga (unanimous decision)
Brendan Schaub had never gone longer than the first round in seven pro fights, while UFC veteran Gabriel Gonzaga had never gone to the judges' scorecards. It was a first for both, as Schaub made it three straight wins since losing the TUF Season 10 finale to Roy Nelson by taking a unanimous decision over Gonzaga to open the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 121 card. All three judges scored it 30-27 in the Aurora, Colo., native's favor. Schaub had strong stand-up for 15 minutes, stunning Gonzaga several times. The most notable was in the final 10 seconds of the first round, as he landed on top of a shaken Gonzaga just as the bell sounded.
Preliminary Card Results (seen on Spike)
Court McGee def. Ryan Jensen via submission (1:21, Round 3)
Court McGee's first fight after winning Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter started a bit shaky, but ended in resounding fashion, as he submitted Ryan Jensen with an arm triangle 1:21 into the third round. McGee's face was red and swollen after absorbing an entire arsenal from Jensen in the first round, then he regrouped to take round 2. All three judges had the score at 19-19 heading into the final round, and McGee came out of his corner ready to unload. After landing an early shot, he took Jensen to the ground, threw a wave of heavy elbows and ultimately caught Jensen in the choke not even 90 seconds into the final stanza. The win added yet another chapter into McGee's incredible story, which on top of winning the TUF title includes overcoming battles with alcohol and heroin.
Tom Lawlor def. Patrick Cote (unanimous decision)
Due to television timing, Tom Lawlor was not able to make one of his flashy, signature cage entrances, but maybe the change of routine was a good thing. He assumed top position on Patrick Cote for much of a 15-minute fight, snapping a 2-match losing streak via unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 30-27, and rightly so. Lawlor used takedowns early in each round and successfully landed numerous shots to Cote's head and body while on the mat. Early in the third round, when Lawlor again broke Cote's spirits with a drop, Cote appeared completely gassed. When the fight was brought to a stand-up minutes later, Cote's tank was empty, as a lazy kick attempt turned into another takedown. For Cote, it was his third loss in a row, and he has not won since UFC 86.
Preliminary Card Results (not televised)
Daniel Roberts def. Mike Guymon via submission (1:13, Round 1)
In his second consecutive appearance on a Brock Lesnar card, Daniel Roberts was victorious. But this time, it wasn't via decision. In fact, it didn't take long at all, as a quick takedown and failed attempt a a guillotine choke resulted in a 73-second victory over Mike Guymon with an anaconda choke. Roberts is now 2-1 in the UFC, and Guymon's organization record was dropped to 1-2.
Sam Stout def. Paul Taylor (split decision)
After falling to Jeremy Stephens via split decision at UFC 113, the karma from the judges' scorecards went Sam Stout's way this time around. He capped a strong final round by sending Taylor to the floor in the closing seconds with a shot square on the chin. As expected, the match was fought completely standing up, with Stout just doing a little more damage when all was said and done. The first judge scored it 29-28 in favor of Stout, with Taylor taking the next card 29-28 and the final ballot going to Stout, 30-27. It was the third win for Stout in his last four fights, all ending in decisions, while it was Taylor's third loss in his last four outings and he's now 3-5 with the organization.
Chris Camozzi def. Dong Yi Yang (split decision)
Camozzi made up for a sluggish start in his first fight since The Ultimate Fighter 11 finale, coming back to take a slight decision over Yang. Camozzi was a 29-28 winner on two of the three judges' scorecards. The round in question was the second, which could have gone either way. Camozzi, however, made a huge statement in the third frame, stunning Yang a couple of times, including with a strong left jab to the face that forced his opponent's nose to bleed profusely.
Jon Madsen def. Gilbert Yvel via TKO (1:48, Round 1)
It didn't take long for Yvel's record in the UFC to drop to 0-3, and his future with the organization may now be in question. It took Madsen almost no time to drop Yvel to the ground, mount him and bring the match to an end via strikes. Madsen is now 7-0 professionally and 4-0 in the UFC. It was his first fight in the UFC that did not go to the judges' scorecards.