Editorial: Does Size Matter? The Great UFC 91 Debate

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By Scott McMurray
November 14th 2008

We live in a world where women constantly remind us men that “size doesn’t matter”, but is Brock Lesnar going to blow this theory out of the water on Saturday night?

UFC 91 is beginning to gain the momentum and hype that we all expected it would and most of this is on the back of the main event – Randy “the Natural” Couture fighting Brock Lesnar the UFC heavyweight championship and it really is a pick `em fight, so lets begin with looking at the new kid on the block – Brock Lesnar.

The one point nobody will argue with is Lesnar is truly a physical specimen – the man needs to cut to make the UFC’s 265 pound weight limit and the size advantage could be a major factor come Saturday night. Lesnar is expected to come into the fight at about 280 pounds, maybe more, so the question must be posed – how will Couture cope with this? The only other time Randy has faced a competitor that weighs this much is Tim Sylvia and Randy completely dominated him however Brock is a very different animal. The main difference being Tim is 6’8″ compared to Brock’s 6’2″, this is important because Brock is much more compact and powerful than Sylvia and he is a much better wrestler bringing up point number 2, Lesnar`s wrestling.

Brock came out of the University of Minnesota with a record of 106-5, an NCAA heavyweight title and as a two time All-American – I’m sure you’ll agree pretty impressive! Lesnar also seems to have carried his impressive wrestling career into the UFC as he completely dominated Heath Herring at UFC 87 who is no slouch (Herring holds wins over fighters such as Cheick Kongo and Igor Vovchanchyn). Lesnar’s ability to control Herring was impressive and certainly made the Lesnar, who had a 1-1 record at the time of the fight, look more like a seasoned pro. Another factor to be taken into account is Couture has struggled against wrestlers who can take away Couture’s advantage in the clinch, Josh Barnett defeated him at UFC 36, Chuck Liddell used his wrestling to stay on the feet and knocked out Couture at UFC 52 and 57. Although it remains to be seen how Lesnar’s wrestling matches up with Couture’s and how it will effect the outcome of the match.

The final factor to be taken into account when discussing Brock Lesnar is his striking. Lesnar has knocked down both Frank Mir and Heath Herring in his last two fights and his power, perhaps more than technique, cannot be questioned, however Couture has proven in the past he has an amazing chin. A quick look at “The Natural”‘s record backs this claim up. The facts are Chuck Liddell remains the only fighter to have knocked Randy Couture out, which is amazing considering that Randy has been in the Octogon with knock out artists such as Pedro Rizzo (twice) Vitor Belfort (three times) and Tim Sylvia, can Lesnar do what only Chuck Liddell has done before him? Perhaps, but should Brock win this Saturday it does appear more likely to be via ground and pound and that won’t be an easy task either.

Should Lesnar come undone you could probably bet it being caused by a tactical master stroke from the veteran Couture. Since his return from retirement at UFC 68 Couture has produced sublime game plans which have took him past much larger opponents Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga. The build up to this Saturday has been eerily like the build up to the Gonzaga fight with many fans noting that Lesnar, like Gonzaga, is too big and too dangerous for Couture to beat – maybe those fans should stand up and take note.

The facts remain Lesnar out weighs Couture, by a good 50/60 pounds. Lesnar probably does have more power in the punch and more drive through the take down, but even all that might not be enough to take out “The Natural” and prove that size does matter.

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