Monday, October 25, 2010

What's Next For Brock???

Nugget Commentary - What's Next For Brock???
At UFC 121 Brock Lesnar lost his UFC heavyweight championship to Cain Velasquez. Brock not only lost but was completely outclassed and battered by his opponent on way to a TKO defeat in the very 1st round. There's already been alot of talk about the fight and what the loss means for Brock's future. What he will do and what he should do?...

First off, lets face facts, in mixed martial arts people win and people lose. Yes, people lose, it has to happen to someone. In fact, at one point or another everyone will lose. It is not shocking for someone to get beaten...
What was shocking was the manner of Brock's defeat...To see Lesnar get dominated and to be beaten so decisively in such a quick fashion must have surprised even the biggest Velasquez fan.
The result led to a lot of speculation over what is in store for Brock Lesnar's future. 
Some fans even went so far as to suggest Lesnar should quit mma, that he isn't cut out for the sport...
Come on now, are they serious?!
A loss to Velasquez is in no way an embarrassment. The new champion is an absolute beast. He is a phenomenal athlete with scary speed, power, wrestling and striking ability. Sure Brock didn't live up to hi shype or look as impressive as he has previously but remember he is still relatively new to the sport.
Brock Lesnar needs to learn from this defeat. Just as he did when he came back from his loss against Frank Mir. He will realize the mistakes he made and the weaknesses in his game plan and improve on them. 
The biggest weakness Brock has shown in during his mma career is his stand up. Now sure, Brock has some heavy hands and if he hits you he's gonna do some damage. Even though Brock does have a lack of technique when it comes to throwing combinations or even just snapping off jabs, his usual technique of wildly rushing in throwing haymakers and attempting flying knees could work out for him. The real problem with Lesnar's stand up game is his defense. He doesn't seem to know how to successfully block or dodge strikes. When he gets hit he just retreats and even with is attempts to cover up he still leaves himself open to get hit with all manner of strikes. Against Velasquez he was hit with punches, elbows and even knee strikes whilst backing away. Brock really needs to get some sparring practice in, to learn how to better react when he's gets hit and to learn some new defensive maneuvers.
Brock's main way of defending was also one of his strongest forms of attack. His takedown ability is outstanding. With his size and speed, when Brock rushes in to shoot the legs, the majority of the time, his opponent is gonna be taken down with him. Against Velasquez, Brock's takedowns and wrestling skills were neutralized by Cain's own wrestling abilities. Velasquez was able defend some takedowns and when he was on the floor, he was able to escape from Brock's mount and get back up to his feet exposing a lack of technique when it came to Brock's ground control.
Whilst Lesnar's size and strength have been enough to hold down his opponents in the past, Velasquez, proved that he'll need to use more than just his physical dimensions if he wants to get back to the top and stay there. Lesnar needs to add some technique to his ground game, and work on improving passing guard and having better control while on top. 
One way Brock could improve both these weakness, his striking game and his overall technique, is to open up his training to a more varied and wider ranged group.
Brock however has made it clear that he hates to travel, and is famous for being a loner. He's lives out in the middle of nowhere and likes to do his training, his way. 
For Lesnar to really improve though and truly reach his potential he has to consider moving to different training camps and facilities. 
Imagine a refocused Brock Lesnar, fresh from a varied training camp coming back with a Greg Jackson gameplan behind him. Improved stand up can't just happen over night, but he could certainly improve his blocking before his next fight. Whether Lesnar decides to radically alter his training methods or not there is still huge interest in what his next move will be. 
Though Brock had expressed interest in taking some time off after this fight, his boss, UFC president Dana White thinks that because of the loss his competitive side will show through and Lesnar will be back in the Octagon (or at least fighting) sooner rather than later...

One rumor running rampant, at least in the wrestling community, is a potential Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker WWE wrestling match up at WrestleMania. These rumours started after a quick stare down and a little comment between the two after the fight on Saturday night. Ariel Helwani, MMA reporter for was in the middle of a little post fight interview with the Undertaker when the little incident went down: (follow Ariel Helwani on Twitter @)

There are so many reasons why this match just won't happen (at least not at next years WM). Dana White has already clearly said that as Brock Lesnar is under contract to the UFC and he will not be fighting, wrestling or even boxing anywhere else other than the UFC. 
Dana, of course, could make an exception. If he was to come to terms on a deal with another promotion over the use of one of his stars i'm sure it wouldn't be to put them in a situation with the very real risk of serious injury. The UFC didn't even want 'Rampage' Jackson to go off and act in a movie makes it's clear that they certainly wouldn't be interested in having one of their biggest names and top level drawers go take risks and bumps somehwere that Dana White has no control over.
Another reason why it won't happen is the scheduling, WrestleMania is on April 3rd next year. After Brock takes some time off to recover from his fight with Velasquez and to let the gruesome cut on his cheek heal, along with spending some time with his family, he could very well be booked another UFC match up right around then. No way is Brock disrupting his training camp to go get back into WWE shape to take bumps just for one more match. 
Even if WrestleMania takes place after a Lesnar fight he will probably be enjoying some time off to recover and not willing to go and risk aggravating any injuries that would hamper his UFC career.
Even if Brock has no UFC fight arraigned for that time period and is injury free, The Undertaker also has his own injuries to deal with...
The Undertaker has an undefeated streak at WrestleMania and i find it hard to believe that he would let Brock Lesnar come in for one night and end his 20 year career achievement. On the same token, why would Brock want to go back just to lose a match and potentially damage his marketability for future UFC fights?

Counting out a fight between the Undertaker & Lesnar, there are some scenarios that the may see Lesnar make his return to the WWE...
Lesnar could be planning to appear on WWE shows not to wrestle but to be a guest referee/enforcer for the Undertaker's match at WrestleMania. Which is a far more likely possibility...
Brock could be wanting to make up any ill-feeling over the way he walked out on wrestling. Multiple WWE stars have shown up in support of Brock throughout his UFC career and the main events, fame and money he currently earns come directly from his recognition as a former WWE star...Or if there really is an offer to go back and appear on WWE tv maybe it is just too good for him to turn down. A WrestleMania appearance will definitely present the opportunity of a huge payday.
Dana White and Vince McMahon are business men, they both find ways to gain the most publicity for their promotions however that may be. Whether it is the WWE having boxing greats like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather involved in previous WrestleMania's, or the UFC promoting street fighter and youtube sensation Kimbo Slice or boxing heavyweight champion James Toney in fights, neither company is against the use of outside celebrities. With Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker they certainly both get their companies promoted here. Vince has a a star who brings mainstream interest with him and his name value alone is sure to drive up buy rates. Dana White has his company and one of his stars promoted world wide without really having to do anything. 
The fact that Brock even had the stare down (as short as it was) with The Undertaker does seem to suggest there could be something there, a legit personal beef perhaps. More likely is the glimmer of co-operation that the 2 men would work such an angle together. Also, Dana White didn't actually deny that Brock may return to wrestling, he just said he couldn't wrestle...
A match at WrestleMania for Brock Lesnar should be completely ruled out, a small appearance that wouldn't effect his mma training or schedule could be expected though. So with his possible guest role in WWE aside what else is next for Brock?

He won't be getting an immediate rematch for the heavyweight title that is for sure. For one, the convincing way he lost doesn't justify him deserving a shot at the title straight away plus Junior Dos Santos is already lined up as the number one contender and  is now set to face the new champion, Velasquez, in early 2011.

A rematch between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin would do huge buyrates for the UFC. It'd also be a fight both would probably be interested in, especially Carwin who would want to take his first round dominance from the last fight and actually transform it into a win. However, with Carwin fighting Roy Nelson in January, Brock may not want to wait until Carwin is ready to fight again after that and may find another opponent sooner. 

A rubber match with Frank Mir is also a possibility. But with Brock's dominance over him in the last fight and only really his inexperience costing him in their first match up, a completely new fight may be more interesting to a larger audience. Still their seems to be bad blood between the 2 fighters and Mir would no doubt love another shot at Brock. It's just if Lesnar thinks he has anything to gain by getting another win over Mir and also UFC 121 winner Brendan Schaub has expressed interest in being matched up against Mir next, in his climb up the heavyweight contenders ladder.

Cheick Kongo was a rumoured opponent for Brock way back, before Lesnar's title fight against Randy Couture. There wasn't much interest in that as a fight as a headline attraction though but it could work tucked into a card under a couple of other big main event fights. Kongo is a big time striker, who has a reputation as a dirty fighter with his stand up and so he could give Brock some problems. However, his ground game is very unimpressive and Brock should be able to dodge any problems on the feet, take him down and cruise to a confidence building victory and a return to winning ways. Lesnar is also too big of a star to be stuck in the middle of a card and needs a bigger name opponent.

A potential match up could see Lesnar face off against former Pride and UFC interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Many thought these two would clash in a match up for the Unified UFC heavyweight championship, but Frank Mir's upset TKO victory over Big Nog, stopped that fight from taking place. If Nogueira can recover from knee surgery in time to fight early next year i think there is a good chance of this fight taking place. Nogueira is nearing the end of his career though and has lost 2 of his last 3 match ups. Still he would be a new opponent for Brock and could pass the time until a rematch with Shane Carwin or a fight against other heavyweights Roy Nelson or Junior Dos Santos could be set up.

A dream match up against Anderson Silva will likely never take place. Silva has expressed interest in fighting just about anybody he thinks would offer a challenge. But with the size difference so great between these 2, and with other opponents scheduled for Silva before hand, by the time Silva had bulked up sufficiently to even make it to a catch weight Brock will likely be busy with other fights. Also Silva has the other far more likely to happen dream match with GSP to consider. This one ain't happening!

The match up i would really like to see next for Brock is unfortunately about as likely to happen as Brock actually wrestling in the WWE again...
Brock Lesnar against Fedor Emelianenko.
I would love to see this one and even with both fighters recent losses it would be a main event match up. The chance of Fedor ever fighting in the UFC is very slim with his management can never being able to agree terms with Dana White's organization. So sadly the 'Last Russian Emperor' won't be next for Brock Lesnar, which is a real shame as they would be perfect opponents for each other, especially now with both coming back from defeats. A win for Fedor would back up his years of hype outside of the UFC and help erase the slip up to Fabricio Werdum, and a win for Lesnar would really show he can cut it in mma and prove that the loss to Velasquez was just due to the fact that Cain is a beast!

Oh well, whatever happens next, the heavyweight division is more exciting than it has been in years. Not only am i confident Brock can get back to winning ways in his next few fights but i can't wait to see Cain Velasquez fight again. He has been improving in every match up he's had, which is good because his next challenger, Junior Dos Santos, is no slouch and has probably the best boxing in the heavyweight division. Good times for fight fans, even if we do have to wait and see what happens next!

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