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Weight Loss to Blame for Jake Shields’ Underwhelming UFC Debut?

Jake Shields made his UFC debut on Saturday night in Anaheim defeating Martin Kampmann by split decision at UFC 121. Shields may have won the fight but he looked unimpressive doing so. Moreover, his wrestling style bored fans who were looking for more action.

The 31-year-old, who extended his winning streak to 15 with the win, said UFC jitters and a weight drop played a role in his underwhelming performance. “I don’t want to make excuses, but it was my first time at 170 in while,” Shields said after the fight. “I cut 20 pounds in a day. I’ll never do that again. I kept my winning streak going, and I’m going to come back stronger next time.”

Shields had been fighting at the middleweight level in Strikeforce where the weight limit is 185 pounds. His match with Kampmann was a welterweight fight where the limit is 170 pounds, so the weight drop definitely played a role. Watching the fight, we commented immediately that Shields looked emaciated and as if he may have over-trained. He seemed to lack strength and stamina throughout the fight, so his post-fight comments definitely explain things. He won’t make the same mistake next time when he squares off against the GSP-Koscheck winner.

And if you really want to know how fans feel about Jake Shields, check out this video:

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Undertaker Trying to Goad Brock Lesnar into a Fight, Possibly at Wrestlemania

If Josh Koscheck drew the strongest reaction from the fans amongst personalities in the crowd who weren’t fighting at UFC 121, then The Undertaker was right behind him. Being 6’10″ and wearing a bandanna around your head, you’re going to stand out. After the Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez main event came to a close, Lesnar sauntered through the crowd on his way back to the locker room. The Undertaker, who had premium seats, got into Brock’s face. Little did I know that Ariel Helwani was there interviewing The Undertaker at the time and caught it all on camera:

LBS contributor Alan Hull, who shared the story with us, says the conspiracy theory is that The Undertaker and WWE wants to get Brock Lesnar back into wrestling to fight at Wrestlemania 27. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

First off, Lesnar didn’t love his time in WWE and hasn’t done it for a while, so I’m guessing he won’t be anxious to get back until he’s absolutely done in MMA. Second, just because he lost to Cain Velasquez doesn’t mean he’s done fighting in the UFC. You know he wants to get back to being a champion, and his message after the loss was that he would regroup and bounce back the way a champion does. He won’t go back to wrestling until his MMA career is over. That’s probably five years away, if it ever happens.

Video from Cain Velasquez-Brock Lesnar Fight at UFC 121

Cain Velasquez beat Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 to win the heavyweight title. Velasquez was the fan favorite fighting in front of a Mexican crowd in Anaheim, California. Cain came out to some Mariachi music and wasted little time taking it straight to the defending champ. The match didn’t even last a full round as Velasquez beat up a stunned and dizzied Brock Lesnar.

Luckily for you, the LBS crew was on hand for the fight to bring you the atmosphere at the Honda Center. From the ring entrances to the fan reaction after Cain’s win, describing Anaheim as electric is an understatement. See for yourself in this video from the Cain Velasquez-Brock Lesnar fight at UFC 121 and check out the full fight recap at the LBS twitter page:

Fans Boo Josh Koscheck at UFC 121

Josh Koscheck earned some sympathy the last time he made an appearance here at LBS when Paul Daley nailed him with a cheap shot after their fight. The fans on hand for UFC 121 in Anaheim on Saturday were less forgiving.

When the 32-year-old welterweight was spotted walking to his second row seats at the Honda Center, the fans showered him with boos. Koscheck seemed to embrace the bad boy role, playing to the crowd. Every time he got up to move around, he heard boos even though he wasn’t even fighting. Eventually he flipped the crowd the bird (as reported by the LBS twitter account — you must follow) which is what they were waiting for. As if the boos weren’t enough, the fans began to chant “GSP, GSP!” — a reference to Georges St. Pierre.

Koscheck and GSP are set to fight in December at UFC 124 in a rematch of GSP’s win over Koscheck at UFC 74. The fans let Koscheck have it because he threw rumors around that St. Pierre was juicing (in addition to all his talk that has made him a polarizing character). If the fan reaction at UFC 121 in Anaheim is any indication, Koscheck will certainly be the villain in Montreal (not that that’s anything new for Josh).

Cain Velasquez Dominates Brock Lesnar, Captures Heavyweight Championship

After seeing a decent amount of UFC and MMA fights over the past few years, I’ve learned never to be surprised at the outcome of a match.  I can’t say I was surprised with the actual outcome of the fight between Cain Velasquez and Brock Lesnar at UFC 121, but the way it happened was pretty unexpected.

After dominating Lesnar in a fight that didn’t last a full round, Cain Velasquez has become the first Mexican to win a heavyweight championship in combative sports.  As we told you before, there were plenty of experts who picked Velasquez to win because of his superior cardio and wrestling ability.  Cain may possess those attributes, but he barely needed them on Saturday night.

Velasquez and Lesnar both came out swinging to electrify the Honda Center crowd, with the champion landing a couple more shots than the challenger early on.  Velasquez weathered the storm and survived two Lesnar takedowns, popping to his feet rather quickly each time.  From that point, Cain was able to take control of the fight.

Velasquez took the fight to the bigger Lesnar and took him down at around the 3:00 mark, working in punches from his position on the back of the champion.  Lesnar was able to get to his feet after the takedown, but a brilliant two-punch combo from Velasquez sent him stumbling into the cage and into a vulnerable position.  The challenger pounced, landing a series of blows and opening up a nasty gash under Lesnar’s left eye before referee Herb Dean stepped in and called the fight.

So there you have it.  Cain Velasquez is the new UFC heavyweight champion.  Larry and LBS contributor Alan Hull were in attendance to witness the belt change hands, so be sure to check back for their take on the evening.

Cain Velasquez Looking to Beat Brock Lesnar for Mexican Pride

One of the biggest angles played up leading into UFC 121 in Anaheim has been race: Cain Velasquez is looking to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight UFC champion. Many experts and fighters are picking Velasquez to win, thinking that Brock Lesnar was exposed against Shane Carwin, and that Cain’s combination of cardio and excellent wrestling skills will be enough for him to take down Lesnar. Alan Hull, writing here at LBS, agrees about Cain’s wrestling background, but still believes Lesnar’s size advantage will be the difference. If Velasquez does win the fight, he will be doing it for his country.

The UFC has gone into Canada and Europe for fight cards but never Mexico. One would figure the country would lap it up considering their affection towards boxing and maybe that will be the case. We do know that’s what Velasquez is aiming for, saying pre-fight “The Latin people here in the U.S. and the Mexicans in Mexico need a champion. For us, we have a rich tradition in boxing and to not have a Mexican heavyweight champ is unheard of. We need it.”

Targeting the Mexican people has been an excellent marketing push and it remains to be seen if they will respond with pay-per-view buys. If so, it will help give Cain more clout as the UFC heavyweight champion should he win the fight. I don’t think he will, and instead I think we’ll see someone drinking Coronas and eating burritos afterward.

UFC 121 Preview: Lesnar vs. Velasquez

Brock Lesnar is the perfect UFC heavyweight champion.  His popularity is due in large part to his incredible size and speed, his WWE background and his charming personality.  Something that goes under appreciated, and what makes Brock Lesnar so compelling among casual and die-hard MMA fans, is the quality of competition he continually faces and the vulnerability he has shown at every stage in his career.

He is the perfect villain, facing one tough “good guy” after another, looking beatable, and keeping his opponents hungry.  To say that he will be beaten is a whole different story.

At UFC 121 Lesnar will square off with another world-class challenger in Cain Velasquez.

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