LAS VEGAS -- What
"I can't believe it," Lesnar (3-1) said after the win, echoing the sentiments of many who thought him simply too inexperienced to beat the veteran champion. "I may come off as a cocky S.O.B., but I just believe in hard work."
Lesnar relished his victory by climbing atop the Octagon and mugging for the crowd, but later gave Couture (16-9) credit for coming back after a year-long layoff and taking on "a young buck like me."
Despite showing some holes in his game, it was Lesnar's striking, and not his wrestling, that made the difference. A right hand from Lesnar landed just behind Couture's ear midway through the round, dropping him in a heap. Lesnar wasted no time in pouncing on the UFC hall of famer and finishing him with a torrent of unanswered hammer fists 3:07 into the second round.
"Those were some big ham hocks coming at me," said a battered, but good-humored Couture. "It's hard to get out of the way. He's a big guy and he caught me with a big shot."
The 45-year-old former champion appeared to have the edge in the striking department in the second round after being overpowered both in the clinch and on the mat for most of the first. He managed to open a cut around Lesnar's right eye early in the round, but one punch was all it took to turn the tide.
As for what's next for Couture now that's he's lost his title, "The Natural" sounded optimistic.
"I still feel like I'm getting better. I made some mistakes and got caught."
• The co-main event of the evening was less competitive, with
After adamantly insisting that he was not an underdog, Stevenson proved to be no match for the Massachusetts fighter. Florian was the more active fighter from the opening bell, out-maneuvering and outstriking Stevenson in the early going. A takedown midway through the first round was the opening Florian needed. He quickly gained the mount and used his striking from the top position to force Stevenson to give up his back. The rear naked choke finish followed at the 4:03 mark.
An emotional Florian called out lightweight title-holder
"I want B.J.'s belt. I consider [Penn] a master. It's time to kill that master."
"I want a title shot, and next time I'm going to get the belt," Gonzaga said.
• Jiu-jitsu ace
"It's up to
• Former Ultimate Fighter contestant