The UFC has been promoting UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem as “the biggest fight of the year” and after two heavyweights weighed in at a combined 529 pounds, they were right.
The event featured Lesnar’s return after over year-long bout with diverticulitis. The former champion had battled the disease before, but finally received surgery to fix it for good. He claimed he was back and he would need to prove it against one of the top heavyweights in the world, Alistair Overeem.
Speaking of Overeem, UFC 141 also featured Octagon debut of the former Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 champion. “The Reem” is perhaps the best striker in the heavyweight division and the contrast between his and Lesnar’s styles made for a very intriguing fight.
In the end, it was Overeem who shocked the world by sending Lesnar into retirement with a crazy knockout win.
But although “The Reem” might have been the big winner from the night, he wasn’t the only winner. In fact, many of the real winners and losers from tonight’s event weren’t even fighting on the card.
Here were the real winners and losers from UFC 141.
Former winner of The Ultimate Fighter Efrain Escudero was cut in September 2010 immediately following a string of disappointing performances after winning the reality show. Perhaps being cut was the best thing that ever happened to him, though, because 2011 has been great for him.
In his sixth fight of the year that including a win in his previous fight in Bellator, Escudero was unable to control stop the takedowns from Jacob Volkmann.
Escudero nearly submitted Volkmann numerous times in the fight, twice with guillotine chokes and once at the end of the third round with a North-South choke, but was unable to get the Minnesotan to tap out.
On a four fight win streak coming into the fight, Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann took care of business at UFC 141, extending that winning streak to five with a dominant victory over Efrain Escudero.
Utilizing excellent wrestling, Volkmann held Escudero down with pure strength and technique, earning a the unanimous judges’ decision, 29-28 across the board.
He won the fight, but...
Worst. Post-fight. Joke. Ever.
C’mon Christmas, you’re better than that!
Jimy Hettes made his second fight in the Octagon count with an impressive and dominant victory over Nam Phan in the opening fight on pay-per-view.
A great takedown early in the bout was followed by some surprisingly impressive ground-and-pound from Hettes. Hettes is known for his submission work, but not particularly for his striking, so it was interesting to see him nearly finish Phan with punches early in the fight.
It wasn’t quite “fight of the night” caliber, but Hettes improved his UFC record to 2-0 with a dominant, bell-to-bell victory.
It was quick, it was clean, it was impressive.
24-year old prospect Alexander Gustafsson proved that Jon Jones isn’t the only young stud in the light heavyweight division when he landed a perfectly placed jab on “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko that knocked the veteran out just minutes into the fight.
Watch out for Gustafsson as he makes a push for title contention in 2012.
Widely considered the No. 2 welterweight in the world for the better part of the past five years, Jon Fitch came into UFC 141 as a large favorite against rising star Johny Hendricks who had looked great against lesser competition but had not yet fought a top-10 opponent.
A smothering wrestler who has only lost one fight in his UFC career, Fitch has barely been in trouble in any fight. However at UFC 141, he didn’t even have time to be in trouble. He just went right to sleep.
Hendricks caught Fitch with a huge left hand just 12 seconds into the first round, knocking out the former No. 1 contender with relative ease.
Fitch was unhappy with the decision to stop the fight, but it was a great stoppage from Steve Mazzagatti who had to stop Fitch from incoherently trying to wrestle him after he stepped in to pull Hendricks off.
One of the fastest knockouts in UFC history against one of the best fighters in UFC history. UFC 141 was most certainly Johny Hendricks’ night as he will almost certainly shoot himself into top-10 consideration.
The punch earned Hendricks “knockout of the night” honors and a $75,000 bonus to pad his pockets.
They may not want to publicly admit it, but it’s almost impossible to believe that UFC executives weren’t secretly hoping that Johny Hendricks would score an upset victory on Jon Fitch.
As one-sided as many of Fitch’s victories have been, most of his fights have simply not been the most exciting bouts in UFC history. It’s not necessarily that he is doing things wrong, it’s just that his style isn’t particularly pleasing to the eyes, particularly for newer fans who like to see big knockouts and fast-paced action.
Fitch’s grinding style has cost him UFC title shots in the past and it has to be assumed that Dana White and company breathed a collective sigh of relief with Hendricks’ knockout, as Fitch now drops down the rankings yet again and will need to start his climb once again. He won’t be competing for the title for quite some time.
In a fight that earned “Fight of the Night” honors, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone just did not look like himself. He didn’t get knocked out or submitted, but after talking a bunch of smack going into the bout, Cerrone didn’t back it up like he would have liked to and lost a unanimous decision to Nate Diaz.
Cerrone was competing in his fifth UFC fight this year, so it’s possible that his body had just had enough, but this had to be a disappointing performance for him and Team Jackson.
It seems like we are saying this with every fight of his lately, but this was unquestionably the best Nate Diaz we have ever seen. Not only did he pick apart one of the top UFC lightweights for 15 straight minutes, but he finally began to look more like his older brother Nick...and that’s a huge compliment.
Diaz poked at Cerrone throughout the fight, using pinpoint striking accuracy early while almost taunting Cerrone throughout.
A very one-sided first round set the pace for the rest of the fight as Diaz was able to use his jab and punching combinations to earn a unanimous decision victory, dropping only one round on one judge’s scorecard.
The lightweight division has a new contender and his name is Nate Diaz.
In his first fight back from surgery to remove 12” of his colon due to diverticulitis, Brock Lesnar confidently walked into the cage to fight one of the top heavyweight fighters in the world. It appeared as if he was ready to get right back where he left off before the disease took a year out of his career... But it wasn’t to be.
After catching Overeem early with a punch that cut his eye, Lesnar was unable to do much more, even failing to complete his trademark single-leg takedown.
Overeem’s striking was the difference in the main event, as many believed it would be, as he used a combination of punches with crushing knees and kicks to the body to finally knock out the former UFC heavyweight champion.
To the surprise of most, Lesnar announced his official retirement from the UFC in the post-fight interview. Although we have seen that he was not fond of all of the fanfare that came with being a top-level UFC fighter, it was very unexpected that he would retire after making such a tiring effort to get himself back into competition shape.
Either way, Lesnar’s UFC career was short, but undoubtedly memorable. If this was the last time that we have ever seen him in the cage, he has nothing to be ashamed of. He came, he saw, he conquered. He fought the best, he beat the best. He won’t retire as champion, but he will never be forgotten.
We knew that Alistair Overeem was good, but who knew that he was this good?
He promised that the fight wouldn’t make it out of the second round and he was dead on. He actually might have doubted himself too much as the fight didn’t even last one round before Brock Lesnar was turtled up against the fence, eating punches before the referee stepped in and called a stop to the contest.
Look out, Junior dos Santos...The Reem is coming.
If you were one of the 25,000 fans who signed up to watch UFC 141 for free on Xbox, chances are that you spent much of the night being pretty angry.
Technical errors kept many fans out of the new UFC Xbox application, thus not allowing many people to view the event that they ordered. Even though it was something free that they missed out on, it still must be very frustrating for those who were looking forward to watching one of the biggest events of the year in high-definition from their Xbox.
Some fans were able to get into the application eventually, but many people likely ordered the event on pay-per-view before they were ever able to get in... And it’s hard to get that $60 back from the cable company once you give it to them.
Hopefully Xbox will have this problem fixed by UFC 142 or there are going to be a lot of angry UFC fans.