Cain Velasquez file photo: Sherdog.com
So long to “Brocktober.”
As the month draws to a close, October 2010 will be most remembered for UFC 121 in Anaheim, Calif., where Cain Velasquez savaged Brock Lesnar in the first round and wrested the UFC heavyweight title in perhaps the biggest bout of the year.
With a massive build-up due to Lesnar’s celebrity, including a highly rated series of “UFC Primetime,” tons of crossover media attention and the added angle of Velasquez’s emergence as a Mexican-American heavyweight prizefighting champion, Velasquez’s performance may serve as a springboard to much greater things for the 28-year-old former Arizona State Sun Devil.
However, the real star of the month was the 170-pound division.
Welterweight happenings came fast and furious in the last three weeks. Nick Diaz retained his Strikeforce crown over K.J. Noons in a fun 25-minute battle. In London, two top Brits came out on the short end of the stick, as former UFC title challenger Dan Hardy got blasted in the first round by Carlos Condit and unbeaten up-and-comer John Hathaway learned what it felt like to lose for the first time to veteran Mike Pyle.
UFC 121 saw more shake-ups. Prized free agent acquisition Jake Shields barely scraped by scrappy Dane Martin Kampmann by split decision. And Diego Sanchez -- who might be bound for a lightweight return -- turned in a top-notch welterweight performance, storming over tough Brazilian Paulo Thiago in a wildly entertaining “Fight of the Night” bonus winner.