Today in MMA History: Velasquez Dethroned Lesnar
Thanks to Online Betting NZ for pointing out that today in Mixed Martial Arts history, Cain Velasquez deposed Brock Lesnar, and the latter faced up to what would turn out to be the beginning of the end.
A Four-Minute Unseating in Anaheim
On a cool October evening in Anaheim, California, Brock Lesnar, heavyweight champion of the UFC, swaggered into a packed arena, pushed a police officer aside, and then promptly got his ass handed to him by an opponent who shrugged off the weight difference of 20 pounds to give Lesnar the most lopsided thrashing of his young career. It was frenzied and messy, and took just over four minutes, leaving spectators and punters participating by means of the online betting NZ provides aghast.
Velasquez Emerges as the New Champion
In that very short amount of time Velasquez took the title of UFC heavyweight champion. Lesnar was the enormous bloodied man stumbling down the steps with a split-open face, blood dripping from his Viking-styled beard, staring in a benumbed silence at those before him.
The Biggest Fight Possible
This all happened on the 23rd of October 2010. For the UFC 121’s main event, executives had organised the biggest MMA fight possible, featuring two of the reigning heavyweights. One was an undefeated stoic, the other a superstar professional wrestler who had dived headfirst into the deep end of a brand-new sport and was making headlines with every move.
A Shaky Foundation for Lesnar
But just 12 short months before this colossal clash, Lesnar was looking at a hazardous future. After he debuted in the UFC with a submission loss in 2008 to Frank Mir, Lesnar had managed to rebound, winning the UFC heavyweight title in just his fourth professional fight when he beat a very undersized Randy Couture at UFC 91.
This fight reportedly topped one million pay-per-view buys, and minted Lesnar as the newest box office UFC star. Lesnar defended the belt that made him the baddest man on the planet, quote unquote, with another million-buy event which followed in the summer. He wreaked his revenge on Mir at UFC 100 and strode off with the win.
Illness Almost Ended His Career
As the UFC was going into preparations for a showdown between Lesnar and Shane Carwin, another terrifying behemoth of a man in the division, illness struck the champ. While he was on a hunting trip in Canada, Lesnar was rushed to a hospital. He later claimed that this hospital was so utterly unable to treat him that he was almost killed by the Canadian healthcare system. The culprit was a painful disorder that would eventually see Lesnar losing a foot of his intestine in surgery, diverticulitis.
Summer See Lesnar’s Return
However, by the time summer rolled around in 2010, Lesnar seemed to have recovered well enough to start fighting again. He met Carwin, who had in the interim become the heavyweight champion, and beat his opponent to a bloody pulp, with an exhausted Carwin submitting early on in the second round.
This fight seemed to pave the way for a comeback story of Hollywood proportions, and Lesnar was once more the man of the hour. When he got booked by the UFC to fight Velasquez around three months later he was confident that he could pull off another win with ease.
This sadly proved not to be the case, and Lesnar would, in fact, never again hold a UFC title.