UFC 91: Couture-Lesnar live blog
SI.com MMA writer Josh Gross brings you blow-by-blow thoughts on the Randy Couture-Brock Lesnar heavyweight clash at UFC 91.
11:00 p.m. -- A note, please, about this "biggest fight in UFC history" we've heard so much about lately. Context. I need context. Because by any sporting measure, a champion with 24 fights against a challenger possessing three might come down as the biggest mismatch ever.
We know that's not true. Couture will cede as many pounds as he has years on this earth to a 280-pound gorilla whose 40-yard time rivals Mario Williams'. There's another way to look at that. Lesnar's physical gifts can't bridge a wide gap favoring "The Natural" when it comes to winning championship fights.
And, so, no one really has much of an idea how things will play out, though all things being equal Couture really should win.
Back to context, it's no secret what UFC President Dana White meant when he said Couture-Lesnar is the biggest fight in the company's 15-year history. He expects it to make a ton of cash. It has nothing to do with 1- and 2-ranked fighters elevating the sport.
Had Couture got his way and finagled a fight against Fedor Emelianenko, tonight's five-rounder really would have been the biggest, and not just UFC history, but the whole of MMA. Alas, we're left to watch a bout compelling for reasons other than determining the world's best.
That said, I'm intrigued.
11:22 p.m. -- First shots of Couture and Lesnar warming up. Take it for what it's worth, but Randy looks 45.
11:33 p.m. -- Kenny Florian gets better every time he fights. The lightweight looked great dominating Joe Stevenson tonight and he deserves a chance at B.J. Penn's belt. It would be a mistake to discount him against the Hawaiian.
11:47 p.m. -- A thought on Speed. Couture came in at 220 pounds hoping size and agility would be by his side during the fight. But Lesnar is awfully athletic for his size. Pace will be a big factor here. Couture must rely on lateral movement and pressure. Angles and technique.
11:49 p.m. -- How hyped up is UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer right now? I fear for his safety when Michael Buffer's brother snaps his head and points to Couture.
11:52 p.m. -- Couture enters the octagon and the smile returns.
11:53 p.m. -- A look at the tale of the tape and it's little wonder why Lesnar is a 1 1/2-to1 favorite.
11:55 p.m. -- Getting what he asked for, Lesnar doesn't have to see Steve Mazzagatti share the cage with him tonight. Instead, Mario Yamasaki refs tonight.
11:57 p.m. -- Nice staredown. Lesnar a little tight, Couture loose.
11:58 p.m. -- Early clinch. Our first look at how they wrestle.
11:59 p.m. -- Good right hand by Couture off the clinch. The subtle stuff, like striking off breaks and controlling distance, favor Couture.
12:00 a.m. -- Some effort there, but Lesnar gets the first takedown. But he gives space and Couture nearly takes Lesnar's back. Great first early grappling exchange, and Lesnar now knows he'll have to work to keep Couture on his back.
12:02 a.m. -- Randy stands. He can turtle and not worry about Lesnar getting his hooks. The round could not have gone better for Couture in terms of wearing on the pro-wrestler's mentality heading into the second.
12:03 a.m. -- Good opening round for Couture, but Lesnar may have eeked out a 10-9 round.
12:04 a.m. -- Wobble or feint? Lesnar landed a short elbow on the inside and Couture moved back. Part of me thinks Couture was baiting him.
12:05 a.m. -- Good exchange. Couture lands a stiff shot which brings a trickle of blood down the right side of Lesnar's face. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. Couture refuses to let Lesnar breathe.
12:07 a.m. -- And that's all she wrote. An exchange of knees and Couture is on his heels. A straight right behind Couture's left ear sees the champ go down. It was a good shot. Perfect place to disrupt the electricity necessary to keep people standing. Short flurry from Lesnar. Yamasaki gives the champ a shot, but no more. At 3:07 of Round 2, Brock Lesnar is one of two UFC heavyweight champions, joining interim champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
12:10 a.m. -- So I'll be the first to ask. Can we please see Brock Lesnar fight Fedor Emelianenko?
12:14 a.m. -- A rough week all the way around for Couture. He's back on his feet, and pragmatic in defeat. "He's a big summa bitch," Couture says of Lesnar. There were spots "The Natural" looked good. He landed several solid right hands, testing Lesnar's chin and giving us an idea just how good the new champion can become. But it wasn't enough to defeat one of the best athletes to enter MMA since its inception. Couture falls to 16-9 while Lesnar improves to 3-1.
12:23 a.m. -- Since I brought it up, Fedor-Lesnar. If you've followed the Russian, you know many think his greatest test would come from a powerful wrestler that understands submissions. Well, Lesnar has the powerful wrestling bit in spades. Submissions, not quite. But a year from now? Eighteen months? If Fedor can remain standing, he'll be faster than the swift giant. Right now, I'd make Emelianenko a 3-1 favorite against the new UFC champ. At 31, the former Pride king has found his prime. Lesnar, also 31, wouldn't have the benefit of being the younger man like he did tonight.
As for UFC challengers, Lesnar will wait until the Dec. 27 affair between Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. I think we can look forward to Lesnar-Nogueira sometime in 2009.
12:54 a.m. -- The UFC belt looks good around Lesnar's shoulder. He said he was coming in to win the strap and defeat Randy Couture, and he managed both. Many very good mixed martial artists could not.