Brock Lesnar: UFC 81

February 04, 2008

I havenít done too many MMA commentaries but with Brock Lesnar making his UFC debut this past weekend, I just canít see myself talking about anything else. This past Saturday was not only Brockís UFC debut but also my debut as a UFC PPV customer. I am a very cheap man and far from what I would call a MMA diehard, but I forked out the $44.99 to watch this show. This was the first UFC PPV Iíve ordered and I ordered it solely based on the fact that Brock Lesnar was on the show.

UFC 81 was a big event at my house this past weekend. I had 3 friends over to watch the show, a huge gathering by my standards, and all 4 of us were there to see Brock Lesnarís Debut. Silvia Ė Nogueira may have been the main event but Brock was who we paid to see. I even had my own personal MMA expert on hand to provide additional insight. My buddy Paul Lazenby does colour commentary for bodogFIGHT, and he was in town calling a Hardcore Championship Fights event Friday night and stayed the extra day to catch the UFC show with us.

Iím not going to run down the whole show, I donít think I have near the MMA knowledge to offer much in the way of opinion but I do want to talk about the Lesnar Ė Mir fight from both a fan and business prospective.

From a fan stand point I was disappointed that Brock lost, but thought it was a great fight, and a strong showing by Brock. I donít know Brock well, but I did work with him in WWE and genuinely liked the guy. Iím a huge Brock supporter and hope he has great success in MMA. Going into the fight I was fairly confident Brock would win, but not completely sure. From what Iíd heard about Mir, a win is never a sure thing when fighting that guy, no matter how good you are, and the chance of getting caught in a submission was a real possibility.

Mir tapped Brock out in a minute and a half, which sounds much worse than it actually was. Brock looked great, and I doubt there are many people out there who donít now think he is absolutely for real and a genuine threat in MMA. Brock pounded the living hell out of Frank Mir for 1:25 second of a 1:29 second fight, and made, for lack of a better term, a rookie mistake that cost him the fight. This was Brockís second MMA fight and his first time in the UFC and he completely dominated a former UFC Heavy Weight Champion. Iím not trying to take anything away from Frank Mir here, he weathered an incredible storm and beat the man, straight up, but I think even Mir would have to admit, with a bit more experience Brock Lesnar is going to be a VERY tough man to beat.

From a business standpoint I would think UFC is ecstatic at the out come. I think they got both guys over in this fight and have so much they can build to from here. Brock Lesnar looked awesome and exciting. There is no way anyone can take Brock lightly after that showing, and him being so dominant and the fight staying relatively short left me wanting to see more of him. With Brock being that aggressive he will never have a dull fight and I absolutely want to see him fight again. If he were fighting tomorrow night Iíd pony up the money to see it. He may have lost the fight but he lost to a former Heavy Weight Champion who was on his game.

Mir too is now a valuable prospect for UFC. Had he lost to the debuting Lesnar he would probably be finished in the eyes of many, but instead they have a revived legit contender who I would be very happy to see fight Nogueira, if UFC canít resolve the Couture issue.

UFC also has a great angle to build to Brockís next fight that theyíve already laid the groundwork for. If you saw the All Access special you saw Brock tell the story of his first National Championship in wrestling. He talked about how in his first shot at the championship he made a foolish shoot-in on his opponent, which cost him the match after dominating just before the shoot in mistake. He said the mistake pissed him off and he hated losing that way. He then explained that he trained like crazy and came back the next year and didnít make a mistake and won the Nation Championship. This is the perfect story. Here is an athlete that learns from his mistakes and comes back stronger each time to win. I guarantee you Brock was back in the gym training leg submission counters and blocks before this commentary was posted. Brock will be twice as hard to beat next time out, and that is a very frightening prospect.

There are so many possibilities down the road as well with Lesnar. They will likely want to give him a lower profile opponent next time out, but Iíd pay huge money to see Brock Lesnar vs. Tim Silvia. They are both coming off similar type losses and Silvia was the first guy Brock started trash talking before joining UFC. That fight would be, in the words of Jim Ross, one hell of a slobber knocker, and Brock would be a huge baby face if (when in my opinion) he beat the living hell out of Tim Silvia.

After a few wins and a thrashing of Tim Silvia (all which I think will happen) youíve got Brock in a position to challenge for the title, and youíve got the ďBrockís no longer a rookieĒ rematch with Frank Mir, sitting there just waiting to draw money. If Nogueira retained against Mir and Brock beats Silvia that match-up would be an easy sell. If Mir defeated Nogueira, Brock vs. Mir for the title would also sell huge.

If the stars all line up the grand slam would be Nogueira retains against Mir, Brock beatís Silvia, then defeats Nogueira for the title, and youíve got Frank Mir challenging Brock for the title as the only guy to ever beat Brock, with Brock wanting to avenge the loss.

This is all of course down the road and in the future, but after what I saw out of Lesnar he is definitely going to be a huge force in UFC and with that many option available, itís a case of Heads they Win, Tails they win for UFC. There are 4 or 5 different doors of opportunity just waiting to be opened and there is money behind each and every one of them. UFC 81 was a very happy day for Dana White.

Lance Storm