Brock Lesnar file photo: Sherdog.com
Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will defend his title against unbeaten American Kickboxing Academy standout Cain Velasquez in the UFC 121 “Lesnar vs. Velasquez” headliner on Oct. 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. UFC officials on Monday made the matchup official, along with four others.
In just six professional fights, Lesnar has ascended to the top of the heavyweight division. A four-time collegiate All-American wrestler, he won a Div. I national championship at the University of Minnesota in 2000. Lesnar submitted the previously unbeaten Shane Carwin with a second-round arm-triangle choke in the UFC 116 headliner last month in Las Vegas, as he returned to the cage following a lengthy illness. Since entering mixed martial arts in 2007, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar has become the sport’s biggest box office draw. Lesnar holds other notable wins against UFC hall of famer Randy Couture, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir and Pride Fighting Championships veteran Heath Herring.
Velasquez has finished seven of his first eight foes, five of them inside one round. The 28-year-old last appeared at UFC 110 in February, when he blasted through beloved Brazilian Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a little more than two minutes. A junior college national champion, Velasquez was a two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State University. Victories against French kickboxer Cheick Kongo and former International Fight League standout Ben Rothwell anchor his resume.
Other matchups greenlit for the pay-per-view event include a co-feature pitting former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields against Martin Kampmann, a welterweight duel pairing Paulo Thiago with Diego Sanchez and a light heavyweight tilt between one-time UFC champion Tito Ortiz and Matt Hamill. In addition, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 finalist Brendan Schaub will lock horns with former heavyweight title contender Gabriel Gonzaga.
UFC 121 “Lesnar vs. Velasquez”
Saturday, Oct. 23
UFC Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann
Paulo Thiago vs. Diego Sanchez
Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill
Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
* Todd Duffee vs. Jon Madsen
* Patrick Cote vs. Tom Lawlor
* Court McGee vs. Ryan Jensen
* Dongi Yang vs. Chris Camozzi
* Not Official