Velasquez pounds Lesnar for title
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Cain Velasquez stopped Brock Lesnar late in the first round with a relentless flurry of punches at UFC 121 last night, claiming Lesnar’s UFC heavyweight title.
Velasquez remained unbeaten by outpunching the fearsome Lesnar, the UFC’s biggest star and top pay-per-view draw. After a frenetic opening minute featuring huge blows by both fighters, Velasquez kept pursuing the bigger champion and eventually staggered Lesnar across the octagon, with Lesnar stumbling to the canvas several times.
Lesnar (5-2) tried to cover up near the cage, but Velasquez mercilessly rained down blows on Lesnar and eventually broke his guard, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop the fight with 48 seconds left in the round.
While Velasquez (9-0) scarcely made a mistake in the entire fight, Lesnar was left cut and seriously bloodied from Velasquez’s punches.
“What can I say? He was better than me tonight,’’ Lesnar said.
Lesnar’s third title defense came just four months after his return to the octagon following a yearlong bout with diverticulitis, an intestinal malady that threatened his life and forced him to revamp his training and diet. The former professional wrestler and football player adapted without losing the sheer bulk that makes him the toughest physical matchup in the UFC.
But he had never faced a fighter with the athleticism and well-rounded skills of Velasquez, the former Arizona State wrestler who trains at a famed kickboxing academy in San Jose. Velasquez also drew motivation from the chance to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion in a major promotion in either MMA or boxing.
The UFC returned to the Los Angeles area for the first time in a year. The first 30 seconds were nonstop action, with both fighters trading haymakers and kicks. Velasquez eventually pushed Lesnar back against the cage, testing both fighters’ strength — and Velasquez held his own despite giving away 2 inches and roughly 30 pounds to Lesnar.
Jake Shields also won a contentious split decision over Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut at