Sunday, November 16, 2008

Couture-Lesnar recap

By Rick Morris

UFC was hoping that they had the “Kimbo who could actually hang,” and they proved Saturday night that they did. Kimbo Slice couldn’t parlay his underground fighting prowess into even a fraction of the legitimacy that Brock Lesnar achieved last night as the former NCAA wrestling champion and (in a resume note much more controversial for MMA fans) former WWE champion took the UFC heavyweight championship away from legendary fighter Randy Couture.

The second-round TKO proved me wrong, as I thought that the craftiness of Couture would be too much for the rampaging young buck, who had yet to prove (and still has yet to prove) that he does not have a glass jaw. The visibility of UFC and MMA as a whole will take another giant step forward with this most unconventional path to the top taken by their marquee titleholder, although the less informed skeptics of the circuit will giggle a bit at the notion of an ex-‘rassler as the world heavyweight champion of legitimate fighters. More informed skeptics are still raising a legitimate question about how Lesnar “earned” a title shot so quickly, although this issue will die down if he is able to “grow in office” and continue to refine other necessary skills for an ultimate fighter. If he is able to mix in other martial arts and work on his defense a bit more, he could be unstoppable.

Today, UFC President Dana White has to be a happy man. Six months ago, he was watching a much smaller promotion, Elite XC, grab the sport’s first prime-time spot on a broadcast network when CBS put their fights on the air. Since then, Kimbo got exposed, Elite XC crumbled shortly thereafter and now it’s the UFC who now goes into the future with a controversial and athletically gifted behemoth to help move their promotion further into the mainstream.

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