With just three professional fights under his belt, former WWE champion Brock Lesnar (3-1) defeated Randy “The Natural” Couture (16-9) by TKO to become the new UFC heavyweight champion.
The very pro-Couture crowd booed the new champion from the outset, but the screams of 14,272 fans couldn’t carry the 45-year-old five time champion to victory. Lesnar set much of the pace from the outset, trading punches with his older rival in the opening minutes of the first. Couture showed signs of life early on in the clinch, proving that he would not be bullied by Lesnar—who (as of Friday’s weigh in) came in 45 pounds heavier than Couture.
Couture’s dirty boxing and clinch work was effective early on, as he caught Lesnar with several clean shots which bruised the man fighting out of Minnesota. However, Lesnar made “The Natural” pay, returning fire, staggering Couture on several occasions.
When Lesnar was able to take Couture down, the veteran minimized the damage by utilizing a close guard to stall the action. Couture—also an accomplished college wrestler—was able to get to his feet after being taken down, but was unable to take down Lesnar despite several attempts.
As the first round came to a close, the capacity crowd was on their feet chanting “Randy, Randy!”
Midway through the second round, Lesnar was visibly tired and it seemed that Couture would once again beat the odds and earn a victory.
However, it was not to be.
After recovering from the clinch battle, Lesnar landed several shots to Couture’s head—with the final right hand clipping Couture’s ear, sending him sprawling to the Octagon canvas.
From there, Lesnar pounced, reigning a series of short punches and hammer fists to until Mario Yamasaki had seen enough.
“I believe in hard work and that it pays off, honest to God,” Lesnar said through a mixture of cheers and boos. “I may come across as a cocky SOB, but I’m confident. That’s what the Lord gave me, my body and my mind.”
“That’s just a big son of a bitch,” said Couture, who made no excuses for the loss. “I felt good. He’s just a big guy, he caught me with a big shot.”
The victory, Lesnar’s third seemed to usher in a changing of the guard. In pre-fight comments, Couture said Lesnar reminded him of himself ten years ago.
Like Lesnar, Couture also entered mixed martial arts in his thirties and won the heavyweight title in his fourth professional bout.
In the night’s co-main event, Kenny “KenFlo” Florian defeated Joe “Daddy” Stevenson by rear naked choke in the first round.
Several celebrities were in attendance including 50 Cent—who performed the UFC 91 theme song, “Get Up”—and Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.