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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Carlos Condit Knocks Out Dan Hardy at UFC 120 (Video)

Man, these free fights on Spike TV are great.  There’s just something more satisfying about being able to take in the fights without burning a $50 hole in your pocket, even if it doesn’t include the likes of Brock Lesnar or Anderson Silva.  Free fights are even better when you get to witness one of the best knockouts of the year, and if you were watching UFC 120 on Saturday night that’s exactly what you got.  Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy both tried to catch the other with a big hook in the first round.  Unfortunately for Hardy, his hook missed a bit and Condit’s landed right on the button.  Check out the Carlos Condit vs. Dan Hardy knockout video:

Video Credit: YouTube user wattsryder217

Arianny Celeste Is Playboy’s Cover Girl for November After Posing Nude

Back in August, we told you that UFC Ring Girl Arianny Celeste was posing in Playboy. Miss Celeste did her shoot and interview with Playboy, and she’s on the cover of the November issue which hits newsstands Friday.

Unless your name is Rube Baker, you probably skip the interview and go straight for the pictures. With that knowledge in mind, here are the cliffs notes from the interview. Celeste says her legs are one of her strongest features “I love my legs – they’re super-strong and lean. I’m proud of these stems.” Not that you’d see those stems in any of our preview pics, but they’ll probably be on display in the magazine.

The other interesting item revealed in the feature is Arianny is pursuing a music career and recently recorded her first pop single, “Fight to Love Me,” which will be available in late October. Who knew? Alright, so here are a few pictures courtesy of Playboy with the nude ones available in the mag.

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Mike Tyson: James Toney Looked Horrible, Had No Respect

James Toney got destroyed by Randy Couture in his MMA debut at UFC 118 last month. Toney was unprepared to fight in the Octagon and was done as soon as he was taken down to the ground. This fact was evident to anyone watching, including Iron Mike Tyson himself.

Tyson, who appeared on The Ultimate Fighter, told the Canadian Press “You have to admit, Toney looked horrible. He looked slow. He didn’t look like a seasoned, conditioned athlete. You only had to look at his body structure. No way, Toney didn’t get ready to fight a real, professional athlete like Randy is. It was ridiculous. He had no respect for Randy.”

Tyson, ever the voice of sanity, said a boxer could succeed in MMA but would have to learn to wrestle and grapple first. He’s exactly right. Many MMA fighters have boxing backgrounds and all have to learn how to box. But that’s the thing — boxing is just one aspect of fighting in mixed martial arts. Without a wrestling and grappling background, you’re not going to do well in a fight.

Leave it to Tyson to say something that makes sense. Now if he says Toney should retire altogether, he’d be making even more sense.