UFC 121's main event between Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez is one of the most highly anticipated fights in recent memory.
It could be because Cain Velasquez could become the first Mexican American MMA champion. It could be because Velasquez is undefeated and coming off a destruction of Minotauro Nogueira. Or it could just be because of Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar is a huge draw. Love him or hate him, people care about what Lesnar does.
Which is ironic because he seems to hate everyone.
Lesnar is an interesting character. He's a giant who moves like a welterweight, but has only fought six times. His physical charisma is undeniable. There's even something interesting about watching Brock work out. The guy is a freak and a one-in-a-million athlete.
Then there's the other stuff.
After winning a national championship in wrestling at the University of Minnesota, Lesnar was a superstar in the WWE for a few years, bringing a lot of fans and drama with him to UFC.
Inside the Octagon, Brock has been a dominant force in most of his fights. The two exceptions being his first fight with Frank Mir, when he made a rookie mistake and got caught in a submission, and his most recent fight with Shane Carwin, where he weathered a huge storm of punches before coming back to choke Carwin out.
Some questions still exist about Brock's overall ability, especially his ability to fight standing up. Sure, Brock's got a ton of power, but not much in the way of technique. He also seems to cover up as soon as he gets hit, which was clear in the Carwin fight.
His wrestling is top notch, but, as we've seen in the Carwin and Herring fights, it can be stopped at this level.
Going up against Velasquez, questions have also been raised about Brock's ability to go five rounds without gassing out.
Cain Velasquez is a wrecking ball.
The former Division 1 All American wrestler is 8-0 in the Octagon after being forced into the UFC when fighters in smaller companies continuously pulled out of fights to avoid him.
Cain's cardio has become legendary in the MMA community. Josh Koshcheck swears that Cain once ran on a treadmill for 24 straight hours without tiring. Jon Fitch says Cain fought a line of 500 men without a sip of water.
The bottom line is that very few fighters have made it out of the first round against him, including Minotauro Noguiera.
Lesnar is clearly the bigger, stronger, better athlete; Velasquez is clearly better trained with a more well rounded game. So, Lesnar vs. Velasquez will hinge on the answers to three questions.
What Happens When Lesnar Takes Velasquez Down?
Lesnar will take Velasquez down at least once. I'm not saying he's going to come in there and throw him around like a rag doll. But he's a much bigger, stronger guy. That makes a huge difference in grappling. He's going to step into the cage at least 30 pounds heavier than Velasquez.
So the key will be his ability, or inability, to hold Velasquez down.
Velasquez is no slouch in the wrestling department himself. That, combined with his speed advantage, should help him get back to his feet, in which case, Brock is in trouble.
What If Velasquez can get back to his feet?
Should Cain be able to get back up upon being taken down, the fight will change dramatically. I don't think Lesnar has the skill to knock Velasquez out. And while Velasquez doesn't have Carwin's power, he has much better technique than Brock and should be able to out-point him and possibly set up a take-down of his own.
Furthermore, as we saw in the Carwin fight, Lesnar gets frustrated when an opponent refuses to stay down.
In short, if Velasquez can get up, he wins this fight.
What if Lesnar can hold Velasquez down?
We've seen what happens once Brock gets side control or into a devastating mount.
People get smashed. Ask Frank Mir or Randy Couture about that.
What's interesting about this fight is that Brock can only win by TKO. I don't think he's going to be able to submit Velasquez or knock him out. And if this fight goes the distance, Cain's cardio and technical advantages will become more and more clear.
As crazy as it may sound, I don't think Lesnar can win a decision against Velasquez.
So the whole fight comes down to whether or not Brock can keep Cain down and pound him out.
We'll find out Saturday night.