Four-and-a-half years ago, Brock Lesnar suffered a first-round TKO at the hands of Alastair Overeem at UFC 141, making what many assumed to be his last appearance in MMA.
Brock LesnarAt UFC 200, the 2000 NCAA heavyweight champ for the University of Minnesota returned to the Octagon with a unanimous decision over Mark Hall. All three judges scored the fight 29-27, helping Lesnar break a two-fight MMA losing streak.
"With his performance at UFC 200, Brock Lesnar once again proved he is one of the most special athletes of this generation," wrote Alex Schlinsky for MMAMania.com.
"On just five weeks' notice, the former UFC Heavyweight champion took on the legendary striker and top ten contender Mark Hunt, and completely dominated 'The Super Samoan' on the mat."
"Lesnar's explosive takedowns and impregnable top control led to a ferocious beating in the first and third rounds, and although the WWE superstar had some cardio issues, his performance was sensational."
Sherdog.com reported that Lesnar looked good in the first five minutes, then went on to say, "At the start of the third, Lesnar shot and pulled down Hunt again. Lesnar dominated the round, though he was not dominating. He tried lobbing tired arms into Hunt's face. The crowd began booing as Lesnar stayed on top, occasionally hitting Hunt with rights to the head."
"It took me a little while to get acclimated," Lesnar said after the bout. When asked about his next step, he said, "One day at a time."
Lesnar, 38, is now 6-3 in his pro MMA career that goes back nine years (but includes nearly a half-decade away from the Octagon); the 42-year-old Hall falls to 12-11-1.
Cormier: Still the champ
Just two days ago, Daniel Cormier, two-time Olympian and Oklahoma State All-American wrestler, thought he would be defending his UFC Light-Heavyweight title against Jon Jones, former junior college wrestling champ ... until it was revealed that Jones had failed a drug test. Instead, all-time great Anderson Silva stepped into the breach, going the distance with the champ who ultimately won a unanimous three-round decision, with all three judges scoring it 30-26.
"In the second round, a cascade of boos fell from the rafters; the sellout crowd apparently forgot that it was watching an exhibition instead of a fight," said Sherdog.com. "Silva showed some spark by flicking a few punches and some kicks, and Cormier smiled and walked through it all as if they were pebbles thrown at him. When Silva appeared as if wanted to make it a real fight in the third round, Cormier simply picked up the Brazilian and dropped him. Silva may have even hurt Cormier with a kick late in the third, but Cormier again quelled the threat by tying up the legend and ending it."
In its assessment of the bout, MMAMania.com wrote, "Sure, 'The Spider' lost , but he wasn't savagely beaten down and finished. Silva was there to compete for his fans, for his legacy, and for the UFC."
After the match, Cormier said, "Hats off to Anderson. I got him with some good elbows early and landed some hard shots, but he just kept going. It's a dangerous fight anytime you face Anderson."
Cormier is now 18-1, while Silva drops to 33-8.
Cain Velasquez, two-time NCAA All-American wrestler for Arizona State in 2004 and 2005, scored a TKO at 4:57 of the first round of his heavyweight match with Travis Browne.
"It was a thoroughly dominating performance by the two-time UFC heavyweight champion," is how Sherdog.com succinctly described the bout.
In his review of his less than five-minute performance in the Octagon, Velasquez said, "I'm never happy with what I have. My timing was a little off as far as being able to close the distance. Yeah, it's good to get a win, but I always want to be better. It's about improving on those little things as a fighter. That's just the way I am."
The former Sun Devil mat star is now 14-2, while Browne comes out at 18-4-1.
Dillashaw does it
T.J. Dillashaw avenged an October 2013 defeat to Raphael Assuncao as he cruised to a three-round unanimous decision, 30-27, in their bantamweight bout on the preliminary portion of the card.
"Assuncao held his own in the standup exchanges but lacked the speed and skill necessary to deal with the former titleholder's footwork and movement," according to Sherdog.com. Dillashaw picked apart the Brazilian from the outside, integrating kicks to the legs, body and head with two-, three- and four-punch combinations. By the time the second and third rounds arrived, Assuncao was bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth."
Dillashaw, a three-time NCAA Division I championships qualifier for Cal State-Fullerton, is now 13-3 overall, while Assuncao drops to 23-5.
Rough night for Edgar, Hendricks
In a main-card match, Frankie Edgar lost a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo for the UFC interim featherweight title, with two judges scoring it 49-46 and one had it 48-47.
Edgar, a four-time NCAA qualifier at Clarion University, was busted up by the end of the fifth and final round, bleeding from both eyes. He now drops to 20-5-1.
"I feel really good," Aldo said, now 26-2. "This is one step to getting the belt back. The next time you'll see me as the true champion."
In a preliminary welterweight bout, former UFC champ Johny Hendricks came out on the losing end of a unanimous decision vs. Kelvin Gastelum.
"Stifling forward pressure and heavy punching combinations carried 'The Ultimate Fighter' 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum to a unanimous verdict," Sherdog.com reported. The judges gave the match to Gastelum 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27.
Hendricks, two-time NCAA champ for Oklahoma State in 2005 and 2006, is now 17-6, having lost four of his last six bouts, while Gastelum climbs to 12-2.