UFC 116: The Aftermath

Posted: July 5, 2010 in Marketing, PR, UFC

Photo via UFC.com

Clap, clap, clap…the UFC comes up aces once again.  This is back-to-back PPV cards that did not leave fans disappointed.  After all the advertisements, all the media speculation and fanfare, Lesnar vs Carwin turned out to be one hell of a heavyweight match up.  However, the under card was not to be denied its proper respect and held many surprises for fight fans.

Chris “Lights out” Lytle won over Matt “The Immortal” Brown via a nasty, nasty inverted

Photo via UFC.com

triangle choke/armbar.  (This is the second time Lytle has used that little number – fighters keep an eye out.)  In the battle of the great nick names, TUF Season I veteran, Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar defeated TUF season 8 member Krzysztof “The Polish Experiment” Soszynski via TKO. However, the real surprise of the evening was Chris “The Crippler” Leben winning for the second time in two weeks overly highly respected international star Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama.

Now, before I get to the main event, let’s look at the marketing power behind this card.

Similar to UFC 115, this card had its fair share of heavy-hitter sponsors: The movie The Expendables, Harley Davidson, BSN, Cazadores Tequila, Xience, The MGM Grand Casino, TapOut, StubHub,  UFC Undisputed 2010, Affliction, The U.S. Marines,  and of course Bud Light. (During the pre-lims on SPIKE TV Bud Light aired a great 2 minute commercial that I’ll post here as soon as I can find it online.)

Photo via UFC.com

However, the two branding efforts that caught my eye the most were from the UFC directly:  The UFC branded water bottles that are typically only seen on The Ultimate Fighter were seen in every round and the UFC “Hulk Hands” that were sported throughout the arena.  These hands were likely celebrating the humongous paws involved in the main event and can be seen here modeled by Playboy’s Holly Madison.

Not since Godzilla vs Rodan have we seen a heavyweight slugfest like this:

As I predicted in my earlier post, Shane Carwin would need to come ‘guns blazing’ if he wanted to defeat Brock Lesnar.  However, despite nailing Brock with 50+ strikes during the first round, Carwin could not put Lesnar away.  The second round would prove that Carwin had nothing left in the gas tank and Lesnar would capitalize.  After a quick takedown, Lesnar would shock the MMA world by winning via submission.  That’s right, Brock Lesnar won via submission.  With a beautiful “big guy choke” (an arm triangle), Lesnar was able to submit the very tough Shane Carwin. Although Lesnar ultimately won submission of the night, MVP of the night clearly goes to ref Josh Rosenthal for not stopping the fight early as some other officials may have.

As shocking as Lesnar’s submission win was, his victory speech was even more shocking.  He was humble, gracious, and only slightly obnoxious.  Who knew that Kobayashi would prodcue more drama this weekend than Lesnar? The martial arts fan in me really wants to believe that he is in fact a changed man, but the PR guy in me says that the UFC PR team had a very specific victory speech prepared for Brock to ensure that UFC 100 was not repeated.  Only time will tell us for sure.

Here is an interesting compilation of interviews from Brock’s fans after the fight from MMA Fanhouse:

What did you think of the fight?

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