Newly crowned UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez displayed coolness under fire in weathering the early storm delivered by his giant-sized opponent Brock Lesnar and implementing superior technique en route to earning a first round stoppage.
“Sweet feeling,” Velasquez said of the victory at the post-fight press conference.
Lesnar came flying out of the gate right at the bell, throwing punches, knees and even a flying knee to his smaller opponent. The champ-at-the-time bullied Velasquez to the mat more than once and had the challenger mostly on the defensive.
“We knew his game plan going in and it kind of surprised me how hard he did go for it in the beginning,” said Velasquez. “I kind of froze just a little bit. I wasn’t as relaxed as I should have been, but I think after that takedown he got on me, that’s when I was like, ‘OK, relax.’
“I felt his strength, and I felt his power, and I was definitely used to competing with guys that were just as strong as him… I just think I was well-prepared for this fight.”
The momentum shifted when Velasquez landed a takedown of his own and followed up with some big punches when Lesnar got back to his feet. Lesnar spun across the cage attempting to escape but Velasquez stayed on him the whole time.
“He was covering up well,” Velasquez admitted. “I wanted some punches to connect, and some elbows to get in there, so I took my time and really thought about where I should throw the punches and where I should give the elbows.”
From there, Velasquez wilted Lesnar with constant ground and pound from the top position and wore him down until he could no longer defend himself; prompting Herb Dean to halt the battering.
“I knew the ref wasn’t going to stop it that early,” he stated. “So we had to pick our shots. I wasn’t just going to go crazy [with] punches if he was on bottom.”
Before the belt can even get warm, Velasquez already has a tough challenge waiting in the wings in top contender Junior Dos Santos.
“I have to be a much better fighter, I have to keep evolving,” he admitted. “I think [Dos Santos] is the best standup fighter that there is as far as heavyweight, so he’s extremely tough,” the new champion admitted. “He has great takedown defense. He gets right back up if you take him down. He’s really relaxed in his boxing, so I definitely have my work cut out for me.”
Velasquez begins his reign as the champ on the strength of a 9-0 undefeated record.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.