My Thoughts on……Randy Couture vs Brock Lesnar at UFC 91

by Chris Gorst on 6th September 2008

This week, it was announced by the UFC that at UFC 91 in Las Vegas, NV, Brock Lesnar will be taking on “The Natural” Randy Couture in a 5 round fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. It was also claimed by Dana White that this will be the biggest MMA fight in history, but will it really?

Firstly, Randy has been away from the Octagon since August 2007 when he defeated Gabriel Gonzaga, the man who knocked out Mirko CropCop. Many people are saying that the fight will be one sided, MMA purists are saying that Randy has the fight won, and new converts from the world of pro-wrestling are saying that Brock will dominate, but as someone who follows both, I am looking forward to this fight as it can go either way.

Kim Couture recently sat down with Steve Cofield of Yahoo! Sports (and ESPNRadio1100) and had the following to say regarding the upcoming Randy Couture/Brock Lesnar fight at UFC 91:

“It’s surprising to me, shocking that they’d throw a guy in there with only three fights. I kind of feel sorry for the guy. He poses some interesting problems but that’s what Randy is good at, is taking care of those problems. He’s no bigger or tougher than (Gabe) Gonzaga or Tim Sylvia.”

Now, I have massive respect for Kim as in her debut fight, she had her jaw broken with the first punch and went on to fight all three rounds, losing a decision to Kim Rose, but has she seen Brock fight? The man, well, I shouldn’t say that as he is a machine, but watch his 3 fights (its only 18 minutes, wont take too long). His first fight he destroyed Min Soo Kim (who in all fairness was a can for him to dominate), then in his UFC debut he lost to Frank Mir by a kneebar out of nowhere. For the rest of the fight he dominated Mir, many say he should have won but never because of poor officiating. Then his third fight, he completely dominated Heath Herring for 15 minutes. But, what have these fights all got in common? None of the men he has fought managed to get any offence in at all, Mir’s win come from a defencive position. Now, Randy has beaten bigger guys, but none of them are as freakishly strong or quick as Lesnar.

Randy is a great strategist and I have no doubt that he would be able to come up with a strategy against Lesnar, the problem is, could he execute it? I mean, if Brock comes out of the stocks like he did against Herring and catches a huge knee on the face of Randy (like he was trying against Herring). Who knows, if he lands a big punch like he did against Herring, could Randy take it and come back into the fight? Its highly likely he could, but should he get knocked down, would Couture be able to get out of the way of the bullrush? Lesnar could come out of the blocks and score a big takedown, Randy doesn’t have the submission skills of Frank Mir. If Lesnar can pass Couture’s guard, there is a good possibility that Lesnar wins by stoppage.

As for the claim of this being the biggest MMA fight in history, it all depends on how the fight is marketed. Randy Couture’s highest drawing fight to date was UFC 68 against Tim Sylvia which drew a buyrate of 540,000. Brock Lesnar’s biggest drawing fight was his UFC debut against Frank Mir which saw a buyrate of 650,000. What UFC needs to do for this fight is market it to WWE and TNA fans, much in the same way they did with Lesnar’s debut. Lesnar is a well known name in professional wrestling, Randy Couture is a huge name in the MMA world, so combined, Dana White could be right on the money. The biggest MMA event on PPV was UFC 66: Liddell vs Ortiz which got a buyrate of a staggering 1,050,000 buys.

Based on both men in the fight, promoted correctly (that being to both the MMA and pro-wrestling fans), UFC 91 could be huge. I’m not saying it will get over 1 million buys, but there is a good chance it could. As for the fight itself, it could draw in some fans based on the fact anything can happen. Lesnar is like nobody that Randy has ever faced before, and likewise, Randy is like nobody Lesnar has faced thus far in his short MMA career.

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