UFC 121: “Lesnar vs. Velasquez” was a great event filled with star-studded fighters and lots of up-and-coming talent, and further proved that the UFC likes to finish strong when it comes to their end-of-year activities. The UFC was more than happy to open their wallets after the event, and awarded their traditional “Of the Night” bonuses after the event, with four men pocketing an extra $70,000 for their spirited performances. Here are all the details, courtesy of Sherdog.
New UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez was rightfully awarded “Knockout of the Night” for making quick work of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. The fight was blissfully brief: both men traded takedowns, then Lesnar got clipped and Cain pounced on him like the monster that he is. Daniel Roberts earned himself $70,000 as well for a great Anaconda Choke on Michael Guymon that Guymon fought bravely against but ultimately tapped to. And finally, Paulo Thiago and Diego Sanchez each got their additional $70,000 as well, as the two men received the “Fight of the Night” award for their fast-paced and very exciting encounter.
I think Cain Velasquez definitely deserved “Knockout of the Night” for his amazing performance against Brock Lesnar. If you recall, I thought Cain would win it by TKO, but I had Lesnar lasting four rounds and succumbing to punches out of fatigue more than anything. Instead, Cain picked his shots, delivered huge power right onto Lesnar’s chin, opened up a massive gash on his cheek, and pounded out the man who famously survived the striking game of Shane Carwin. In an era where “bigger is better”, Velasquez proves that you don’t need to tip the scales at 265 to be a UFC Heavyweight Champion. I wish him all the best and am really looking forward to seeing him defend his championship.
As for Paulo Thiago and Diego Sanchez, I was very impressed by their fight as well. Paulo Thiago always seems to have a problem when it comes to justifying his hype, he’s never truly gotten out of the shadow of his KO win over Josh Koscheck but he’s made some admirable attempts. Diego Sanchez seemed to discover that old fire inside himself in this fight, and I think he earned himself another worthy entry into his highlight reel when he ran screaming across the cage with Paulo Thiago on his shoulders before sending the man crashing down to the mat with a massive slam.
Overall, UFC 121 was a big event and saw some big finishes that were awarded with big bonuses. I’m glad that the UFC’s “Of the Night” bonuses continue to increase, the athletes receiving them usually fully deserve them, and a huge bonus is a great incentive to keep producing entertaining and engaging fights. I think UFC 121 set up quite a lot of fights that will play out in 2011, so I look forward to seeing what the future holds.