The Internet is abuzz with talk of UFC 121 this morning. Everyone wants to get their two cents in on the huge event that saw the dawning of the Cain Velasquez area as he TKO'ed Brock Lesnar. Let's take a quick trip around the 'net to see who is saying what:
- Jason Probst at ESPN is calling for five fights that should be made coming out of the event. Among the fights he says we must see is one that we know is coming, Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos:
Dos Santos, like Velasquez, isn't a big heavyweight at about 240 pounds. He has crisp hands and what appears to be excellent takedown defense. Velasquez showed a great sense of composure against Lesnar's early assault, picking his spots and peeling the larger man like an onion. Dos Santos would likely be his equal on the feet, and it'd have a great Latin versus Latin marketing angle to further capture the demographic that used to exclusively be boxing's.
- Over at SB Nation's Bloody Elbow Jonathan Snowden has some harsh words for a couple fighters. First he questions Brock Lesnar's "fighting heart":
For Lesnar, the weakness might not even be mental. It could be, like many promising fighters past and present, he just can't take the blows. Tonight he took a glancing blow from Velasquez, careened into his hip, then stumbled around the cage like a drunk at last call (or like Zab Judah after being knocked silly by Kosta Tszyu). It wasn't dignified, but it was certainly memorable.
And then he asked if Jake Shields' performance against Martin Kampmann was worthy of the title shot UFC president Dana White had promised him:
Shields was able to do just enough to win, but that has more to do with Kampmann than anything Shields did in the cage. The Xtreme Couture fighter was insistent on engaging Shields on the ground, running into the clinch and refusing to trade at distance, where he had the obvious advantage. I'm not sure why Ron Frazier didn't do more to corral his fighter. There was either a major problem in Kampmann's gameplan, his discipline, or his corner. Perhaps in all three. He turned a winnable fight into a losing proposition by failing to fight to his strengths.
- While the event saw the fall of the sports biggest draw to a man very few beyond the hardcore community really knew, SB Nation's MMA For Real wants everyone to know that the heavyweight division will survive just fine:
This is going to set in motion an interesting year in the division, as the heavyweight division's "big six" all will likely meet each other. Of course, Velasquez will defend against dos Santos, Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson will meet at UFC 125 on Jan. 1 and it only makes sense for Lesnar to meet Frank Mir.
From there, the UFC really can't go wrong no matter what happens. This fight almost certainly turned Velasquez into a star (he was trending on Twitter from the afternoon on and was an extremely hot Google search) as he dominated a fighter many had put a lot of stock into. It remains to be seen if Velasquez is going to make as big an impact in the Latino demographic as the UFC hopes, but regardless, more people know Cain Velasquez today than Friday.
- Cage Side Seats says that UFC 121 should serve as a reminder to all of us of the lessons of the past:
To the credit of many members of the MMA media and blogosphere, they didn't get sucked into the fact that Lesnar is such a monster. Some of them did and it's admittedly hard not to. But as the title of this post indicates, Cain Velasquez just schooled us on the very thing we learned all the way back in 1993 with Royce Gracie running through everybody; size will not win you a fight. Skill and technique beat size and strength every time, if you have enough of both. Cain had more skill and technique than Lesnar had size and strength.
- Head Kick Legend is not so sure that business can be just as good without Lesnar:
If Brock decides not to return, UFC takes a giant hit, as Lesnar has been associated with some of UFC's biggest shows. Ever. Brock Lesnar has always meant ratings, buyrates and money to them. A sound beating at the hands of Cain Velasquez tarnishes what was left of Lesnar's hulking appeal as an unstoppable monster, which began to peel away at the hands of Shane Carwin. The question that has to be asked is; if Lesnar does return and stick with UFC, do the fans still believe in Brock Lesnar the unstoppable monster like they used to, or is he simply just another fighter who let the fans down and didn't live up to his immense hype? Time will only tell.
The reactions will keep coming throughout the day and SB Nation will have much more over the coming hours and days as we try to take everything in and figure out what it all means for the future.