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UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez

MMA Fighting Matchups

Brock Lesnar (-170) vs Cain Velasquez (+140)

by Geoff Mackay
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UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez
October 16, 2010
Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez
UFC Betting Pick: Brock Lesnar (-170)

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Heavyweight Championship bout: Brock Lesnar (-170) vs Cain Velasquez (+140)

Love him or hate him, Brock Lesnar (5-1) is the UFC heavyweight champion and will be for some time. There is no one in the heavyweight division that can come close to his size, speed and power.

Shane Carwin had the best chance at beating Lesnar and he would have, if he did not blow his load in the first round. Carwin had the power, strength as well as the striking and wrestling ability to keep Lesnar in the stand up position. He was winning the fight and had Lesnar badly beat, but he punched himself out and in the end, as with all of Lesnar’s fights, he got the takedown and top control.

Once Lesnar gets the top and rains down punches there is no mixed martial arts fighter in the world that can get out from under him—not even Fedor Emelianenko who many feel is the best heavyweight fighter in the world.

On paper Cain Velasquez (8-0) is the better fighter—he has a better wrestling pedigree, trains at a better MMA camp, is a more technical striker, and has a more technical grappling pedigree. His game is to use his wrestling ability to take opponents down for the ground and pound, however, Lesnar is just too big and powerful for that and unfortunately, Velasquez does not have the ability to KO him either.

Though he has seven KO’s in MMA, fighting Lesnar is a totally different story. Velasquez will need to shoot in for the take down and control him from the get-go and from there ground and pound him out, however, how does one take down a 285 pound fighter that moves like a middleweight?

Now do not get me wrong, Velasquez is a top heavyweight and can beat almost every other heavyweight in the division but he is fighting Lesnar who dominates him in power and size. In his past fights, Velasquez has used power and strength to control and win but he has yet to face such a big, strong and fast fighter.

Both fighters are accomplished wrestlers. Velasquez wrestled for Arizona State University for three seasons and compiled a record of 86-17, placed fifth in the USA in wrestling in 2005, and placed forth in 2006. He was a two-time All-American Div 1 NCAA Wrestler, 2002 NJCAA Collegiate Wrestling Heavyweight Champion while at Iowa Central Community College, placed fifth in the 2005 NCAA Division I Collegiate Championship while in Arizona State University, placed fourth in the 2006 NCAA Division I Collegiate Championship and was 2005 Pac-10 Conference Wrestler of the Year.

In most cases this is enough to beat anyone, however, Velasquez is not fighting just anyone, he is fighting a total freak specimen in Lesnar who also has a wrestling background. In his collegiate days Lesnar was a two-time NJCAA All-American, the 1998 NJCAA Heavyweight Champion, two-time NCAA All-American, two-time Big Ten Conference Champion, and the 2000 NCAA heavyweight champion with a record of 106–5 overall in four years of college.

Given his speed and size, it is unlikely Velasquez will be able to take Lesnar down. Despite the fact he is 285 pounds, Lesnar moves far faster than anyone in the heavy division—or even the light heavyweight division. Once he goes in for a single leg or any other take down attempt and grabs a hold of his intended target, he uses his size and power to drive forward to land the take down. From there it is only a matter of time before the fight ends.

When it comes to dealing with Velasquez it is likely Lesnar will go for side control and use his wrestling base and sheer size to hold Velasquez down and rain hammer fists until the ref is forced to stop the fight. Despite Velasquez’s great wrestling experience I do not see him being able to hold Lesnar down. In his fight with Cheick Kongo at UFC 99: The Comeback, Velasquez was able to hold the bigger fighter down but was never really able to control him entirely. Though he had his hands tied and was able to land some square punches on Kongo, those punches were quite weak nevertheless and Kongo was able to withstand three rounds of punishment—Velasquez will not be able to hold Lesnar in the same way.

When it comes to striking Velasquez is the more technical of the two. He has great kicks and has the ability to KO almost anyone in the heavyweight division. Lesnar on the other hand has a weak striking game and is a horrid kicker. Unfortunately for Velasquez he is not very good at pinning guys against the octagon and at landing close contact strikes but rather is more of a ground and pound fighter.

His lack of ability in keeping this fight standing will cost him as once Lesnar closes in on the distance and gets the take down it will be over. The only chance that Velazquez really has is to move in and out and jab away like Frankie Edgar did with BJ Penn at UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2, but it is likely Lesnar’s speed will nullify this tactic.

Grappling. Velasquez is the better grappler technically. He currently trains at American Kickbox Academy and had won the No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt championships roughly a year after starting submission grappling. He currently holds a purple belt under Dave Camarillo who is known to be one of the best grappling trainers in the world.

Velasquez has quite a number of moves on the ground and has decent skills but how does one contend with Lesnar’s size? He will not be able to hold Lesnar in his guard because of his girth, not be able to arm bar him because of his massive arms, nor will he be able to choke him because of his huge neck.

Bottom Line: There is no fighter in the world that is like Brock Lesnar. He is a total freak with in regards to power, size, speed and strength. Though he is still in the midst of refining his MMA game, his raw talent alone is enough to take anyone.

When it comes to UFC sports betting I am surprised that the odds are so close. I cannot believe that Lesnar opened up at the online sportsbooks at -170—that is a real steal. Personally, I would have opened up the money line odds for Lesnar at -250 or -300.

With these soft lines I would wager some heavy coinage on a Lesnar victory. Lesner will shoot in take Velasquez to the ground, gain side control and hammer fist him out till the ref stops the fight.

Look for Brock Lesnar to Win by KO in the Second Round

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