UFC 121: "Lesnar vs. Velasquez" went down earlier this evening (Oct. 23) live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Most of the talk surrounding the promotion's return to Orange County was the opportunity for Cain Velasquez to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion in history.
Tonight was that night.
Brock Lesnar heard the opening bell and flipped the switch, charging his smaller foe with a Minnesotan bloodlust that put Velasquez on his keister on two separate occasions to start the main event.
Keeping him there would be another story.
"Brown Pride" kept his composure and retaliated in a calm and collected manner, picking his spots and landing right on the button again and again.
The barrage sent the former champ stumbling and crumbling, and there would be no second round heroics in this contest. The official stoppage came at 4:01 of the first round via technical knockout.
And Cain Velasquez is the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Jake Shields finally made his UFC debut after years of toying with the competition in Elite XC and Strikeforce. The Cesar Gracie disciple, above all else, was looking to secure his spot as number one contender in the UFC's crowded 170-pound division.
And get the respect he deserves in the process.
Standing in his way was welterweight stalwart Martin Kampmann, who made it tough, but not impossible to secure the split decision win. Shields established his grappling dominance early, getting it to the ground and imposing his will in all three rounds.
And he had a little help from "The Hitman's" trunks.
The infraction was hardly a difference maker, and although Shields was completely spent for the second half of the fight, Kampmann played by his opponent's rules, opting to mix it up on the ground when he was on the offensive.
It cost him at least one round, and maybe even the fight.
Was the Dane too concerned about the takedown to let his hands and feet go? And did the speed in which Shields deteriorated leave anyone else wondering if he can be a threat to a cardio machine like Georges St. Pierre?
We may need to see more of him at welterweight to know for sure.
Original "Ultimate Fighter," Diego Sanchez, came into Anaheim at a crossroads, stuck between the division that made him famous (170) and the one that may give him career longevity (155).
Tonight, his dominating unanimous decision win over Paulo Thiago likely helped him with his decision.
The Brazilian supercop was sharp and savvy through the first five minutes, but after Sanchez hulked up and delivered a highlight reel powerslam early in the second stanza, the ticking clock became a "Nightmare" for Thiago.
That's because the bastion of B.O.P.E. was out of gas for the third and final frame, and had no answer for the Sanchez onslaught. Whether it was the suffocating top game or the relentless ground-and-pound, the "Old Diego" looked like he was back -- and back for good.
How much credit does Greg Jackson get for his return?
After four years, a myriad of injuries and a short-term ban from the Octagon, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz desperately needed a win to remain relevant in the 205-pound division.
Not on Matt Hamill's watch.
"The Hammer" went from student to master, beating him to the punch and delivering some trademarked ground-and-pound that "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" made famous earlier in his career.
Ortiz came out hard and heavy to start the fight, but by the second round looked his age, and his declining speed and reaction time left him open for a couple of big takedowns that all but secured the unanimous decision win for Hamill.
Have we seen the last of Tito?
Kicking things off in the opening fight of the night was Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 finalist Brendan Schaub, who wanted to prove he was ready for a step up in competition after the promotion paired him with perennial heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga.
"The Hybrid" was the far more effective striker from the outset, landing at will on the flat-footed Brazilian and nearly finishing him in the waning seconds of round one.
Despite his impressive grappling resume, Gonzaga's efforts to get things to the ground were few and far between. Schaub was stingy in his defense, and aside from a few thunderous leg kicks, "Napao" was content to play Frankenstein, lumbering forward with arms outstretched but not really doing much in the way of damage.
Gonzaga celebrated and raised his hands at the end of round three, but he wasn't fooling any of the cageside judges, who awarded Schaub the unanimous decision victory (30-27).
Overall, it was an entertaining night of fights.
That’s enough from us — now it’s your turn to discuss "Lesnar vs. Velasquez" in the comments section below. Are you pleased with all the decisions and their outcomes? How about the return of Diego Sanchez? Can Jake Shields improve upon his performance tonight -- or does he belong at middleweight? Is Tito Ortiz facing a mandatory retirement?
Sound off, Maniacs.
For complete UFC 121 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.