UFC 121: Velasquez versus Lesnar Breakdown

| July 12, 2010 | 1:16 pm | 5 Replies

On Saturday, UFC President Dana White confirmed that heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will face top contender Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 in Anaheim, CA. Lesnar is fresh off his impressive second round submission victory over previously undefeated Shane Carwin. Velasquez however, has been waiting in the wings for his title shot since his February knockout victory over former champ Minotauro Nogueira.

We are going to breakdown the upcoming fight, examining fight history and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of both of these fighters.

Cain Velasquez

This former 2-time All-American wrestler from Arizona State is undefeated at 8-0 with 7 KOs, with only 2 of those fights coming before he joined the UFC in 2008. He holds wins over Jake O’Brien, Denis Stojnic, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell and Nogueira. In his only fight not won by decision, against Kongo, Velasquez used exceptional takedowns and ground and pound to punish the big French kickboxer to a unanimous decision.


Obviously his wrestling and takedowns are some of the best in all of MMA, but then again, so are Lesnar’s. Despite getting rocked a bit by Rothwell & Kongo, his chin seems to be very strong. Against Kongo, he showed remarkable cardio, never slowing down and perhaps even looking faster in the end of the fight than the beginning. This could be a big factor for Velasquez as Lesnar has only gone the distance once and that was only three rounds.


You would think that owning 7 knockouts in 8 fights would show his power as strength, not a weakness. But it’s tough to imagine that he has more power than Carwin, who was unable knock out Brock. In fact, most of Cain’s wins have been referee stoppages because he took the fight down and his opponent was taking damage and not defending himself. The only man he really seemed to literally knock unconscious with one or two blows is Nogueria.

Brock Lesnar

The former WWE superstar and national champion wrestler from Minnesota has been the UFC Heavyweight Champion since defeating Randy Couture at UFC 91 in November of 2008. Despite his success, Lesnar has still only had 6 professional MMA fights. His only loss was to Frank Mir in his first fight in the UFC in early 2008. He holds wins over Mir, Couture, Carwin, Heath Herring and Min-Soo Kim (under the Dynamite promotion).


It’s not hard to tell that Brock is bigger, faster and stronger than any other fighter out there. He is one of the few fighters that must cut weight to make it down to the heavyweight maximum limit of 265 pounds. Rarely in any sport do you see someone of his size show with the speed, strength and agility of Lesnar. His wrestling and takedown skills are as good as anyone, despite the fact he had a difficult time taking down Carwin in the first round of their title fight. That fight was also the first time we got to see how well he can take a punch. He absorbed an incredible beating from Carwin, but was able to pop right up at the end of the round and looked ready for more. That fight was also the first time we saw him use a submission, finishing Carwin with a triangle choke. He was credited with a submission victory over Min-Soo Kim, but Kim tapped out due to strikes.


Honestly, it’s still tough to fully know what are or aren’t Lesnar’s weaknesses. If anything, you question his cardio, as the only time he went the distance was against Herring. In that fight, Lesnar broke a bone in Herring’s face on the first punch of the fight, but was unable to finish him, tiring badly in the last round. Though neither fighter has gone deep into fights Velasquez will surely be in the best shape of his life for this fight, and if Lesnar doesn’t get to him early, and tires late, that could be the difference.

Lesnar has still only had 6 pro MMA fights and though he looks more and more polished every fight he still has to learn after only 3 years in MMA. His little experience could be seen as a weakness against the more polished American Kickboxing Academy trained Velasquez looking to expose that inexperience.


Velasquez has waited a long time for his title shot, twice being delayed due to injuries and once due to scheduling changes. It’s unlikely that this will be the one and only title fight of his career, but it’s apparent that he is hungry for it. Lesnar’s return from a nearly fatal intestinal disorder has been truly remarkable. His performance has improved dramatically each and every fight, so it’s difficult to imagine anyone taking the title away from him at this point in his career. It will be interesting to see if these guys try to wrestle each other, or if they decide to stand up and go toe-to-toe. Either way, it should be a very entertaining fight.

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  1. MMAquick says:

    Cain does not hold the sheer power of Carwin but his boxing is on a far different level and still improving, he put on a good 2 inches to his arms for the Nog fight because everyone was questioning his power and He is one of the few people in MMA to put NOG away like that ( and it was a healthy NOG) It’s going to be harder for Brock to learn defensive striking than Cain lean to combat Brocks telegraphed takedowns especially when AKA has some of the best wrestlers in the world currently at their gym.

  2. Michael Osborn says:

    Ok, first we have to establish a couple of things. Nogueira only has 2 knock out victories in his entire career. He had also never been KO’d or submitted until getting TKO’d by Frank Mir at UFC 92. Now he has been KO’d twice in his last 3 fights, healthy or not. He isn’t quite the dominant Minotauro that he was in PRIDE 5 years ago.
    That being said, I agree that Cain’s power is under-rated, and his victory over Nogueira was a big one over a top level opponent. But Cain’s wrestling ability (particularly defensive wrestling) helped him greatly in keeping the fight on their feet and away from Nog’s superior BJJ. Nogueira is not known for his power, so this was a perfect style matchup for Cain.
    I went to ASU and watched Velasquez wrestle for the Sun Devils. Nothing would make me happier than to say that Cain will kick Lesnar’s ass all over the octagon, but we have to look at the facts. Lesnar’s only loss was in his second career fight, against a former heavyweight champ (at the time). Lesnar has faced title contenders (or champions) in every fight in his UFC career.
    Despite telegraphing his takedowns, Lesnar is a former National Champion and will weigh close to 300 lbs when they fight. That is a tall order, even for Velasquez. Lesnar also has significantly greater reach, which will help on the feet and if/when he takes down Cain. Again, I’m not making any predictions, just analyzing the facts.

  3. MMAquick says:

    I don’t think I would make that judgement on Nog quite so fast, he gets staph and loses then gets hit perfectly 3 times and dropped then has 4-5 shots on the chin land, thats going to put anyone away. Lesnar showed awful striking defense and ran away from punches that didn’t even land flush from Carwin. On the ground his hand helmet blocked pretty much everything Carwin threw his way. Carwin was Gassed 3/4th of the way through the first round a lot like Rogers was to Fedor. Cain has shown us that he can effectivly strike and GnP for 3 rounds even when tagged. I think Learning to deal with reach and no striking defense / counter punching is a smaller order than learning striking defense, not turtleing up against the fence, better takedowns (Cain has one of the best current wrestlers in the world in his camp) boxing fundementals, and combating ground and pound from someone who IMO is more exp. than Carwin in that department.

    Cain in one of the best MMA wrestlers out there and mixes his kicks and punches better than most Heavyweights around

    Brock has very little unknowns

    Cain has very strong knowns ( he can take a flush punch from superior strikers and still win)
    ( he has great MMA wrestling)
    ( he can finish on the ground and standing)

    Brock IMO just showed he had more gas than Carwin

  4. Howie says:

    Bottom line Brock will win in the 2nd round

  5. Joshua Wood says:

    Love the boldness to call your shot man.

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