For many of you, there is one reason you read my material on this site. While I know the majority of you don’t follow MMA closely, it has been impossible to ignore the transition former WWE and IWGP Champion Brock Lesnar has made into the sport. From winning the WWE Title, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble and headlining WrestleMania 19 his first year in WWE, to winning the UFC Heavyweight title 9 months after joining that company, there have been a lot of highlights in the career of Brock Lesnar. The past year and a half have not been highlights. This continued Friday night, as the TKO loss marked the end of Brock Lesnar’s short, but successful MMA career.
From battling two career-threatening cases of diverticulitis, to losing his UFC Heavyweight title in late 2010 to Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar had hit a low point in his mixed martial arts career. Never one to stay out of the spotlight for long, Lesnar was slated to face former Strikeforce, DREAM, and K-1 champion Alistair Overeem in a classic striker vs. wrestler main event at UFC 141.
For those of you whom are new to the sport, New Year’s cards are synonymous with MMA, particularly in Japan. As I write this, I am concerning myself how I’ll manage to stay awake to cover the DREAM FC New Year’s card (from 1am-10 am), but until this year, the UFC hadn’t thrown their hat in the proverbial ring. Not to be outdone, the UFC also put former title contender Jon Fitch, as well as big name lightweights Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone.
With Brock Lesnar being featured in the new WWE 12’ game (an excellent game I might add), he has been introduced to a whole new generation of pro wrestling fans who may now gain an interest in his MMA career. On the other hand, Alistair Overeem isn’t known by many casual fans, as he’s never fought in the UFC. Among hardcore fans, he’s regarded as one of the best strikers in the sport, and a major threat to the UFC heavyweight division.
At UFC 141, Alistair Overeem closed the chapter in Brock Lesnar’s MMA book. One that includes runs in WWE, NCAA, IWGP, and the NFL as well. With absolutely no respect or regard for Lesnar’s standup, Overeem dropped the former champion with a vicious liver kick, and followed up with strikes against the cage to a crumpled Lesnar. While Brock was defending himself, it wasn’t sufficient, and Overeem became the number one contender to Junior Dos Santos’ heavyweight title. Afterwards, Brock Lesnar retired from the sport of MMA, and graciously at that. For Brock, I’m sure the speculation will start for WWE returns. I’ll give you my scenario at the end of this column.
Dana White was visibly upset about the retirement at the post-fight presser, losing his biggest name and box office draw. He credited Overeem, and questioned Brock’s strategy in the match. He also noted Brock has retired under contract, but would do the “right thing” regarding that contract.
Donald Cerrone fought for the sixth time under the Zuffa banner in 12 months, after going 4-0 in the UFC in 2011. Standing in his way was Ultimate Fighter winner and Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu fighter Nate Diaz.
Diaz attacked early and often, battering Cerrone with sick combos. Cerrone was able to answer, knocking Diaz down several times with leg kicks. However, Cerrone’s lack of head movement and footwork was a Diaz brothers’ wet dream, and he was picked apart, on his way to a unanimous decision loss. While I’ve thought both of the Diaz boys are overrated, I think the only two UFC lightweights with effective enough footwork to stop Nate is Melvin Guillard or Frank Edgar. I’m sure many of you will recall that Diaz finished Guillard years ago, but that was right before Melvin Guillard found himself in Greg Jackson’s camp, a huge factor.
Jon Fitch went into his bout with Johnny Hendricks with a renewed motivation. With Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre out indefinitely with a torn ACL, the title picture is wide open. Fitch, having lost his only UFC bout to GSP himself, was likely to be the prime contender following the upcoming Interim Title match pitting Nick Diaz against Carlos Condit. All of that means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING now. Fitch was knocked out cold by a Johnny Hendricks left hand only twelve seconds into the bout. For Fitch, he moves to the back of the line, while Hendricks climbs into the upper echelon of UFC welterweights.
I’d like to mention a couple of polarizing situations regarding UFC 141 however. Due to New Year’s Eve falling on a Saturday, this card was pushed up to Friday, which I love. It’s nice to vary it up a little bit, but likely confused some viewers who were accustomed the Saturday slot. However, with this card, also brought the return of the dreaded 10 pm EST start time for the pay-per-view. If you are in Europe or the east coast, you’re really feeling this (as I am). The UFC claims this was done due to decreasing buy rates (because of an early start time on the west coast). When the majority of your fans are on the east coast, you should cater to them. I would think the PPV buy rate drop has more to do with piracy, the increasing number of PPV shows, and other factors than the formerly 9 pm start time.
FOR ALL YOU WRESTLING FANS!!
As for a possible scenario regarding Brock Lesnar making a short-lived return to WWE, here are my thoughts. He and the Undertaker had an infamous face-off following Brock’s loss last year, and the company should capitalize on that. If the Undertaker were to return (assuming this WrestleMania is his last), he proclaims he wants to go out as WWE champion, and enters the Royal Rumble.
In the Royal Rumble, Taker enters 29th and dominates….with number 30 being Brock Lesnar himself. They face off, brawl, eliminate each other, and continue going at it. With that, you have a ready- made marquee, headline match for WrestleMania.
Do NOT expect Lesnar to make a full or part time return to the company however, as there is no chance in hell he takes on a significant road schedule.
That’s it for now folks!
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