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MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Brock Lesnar batters Frank Mir

It's a wild night in Las Vegas for UFC 100, but not exactly mainstream.

July 12, 2009|Lance Pugmire

LAS VEGAS — If UFC 100 represents mainstream, the world has changed.

Brock Lesnar, the former World Wrestling Entertainment fighter and current UFC heavyweight champion, battered Frank Mir in a second-round knockout to set aside a festering year of bitterness.

Lesnar, who used at least 17 unanswered uppercut blows on the canvas to beat Mir, then blew off some steam at the booing audience who padded his wallet with a $5.1-million live gate at Mandalay Bay.

With a likely million more watching on pay-per-view, Lesnar gave the 11,000-plus a doubly obscene hand gesture and stood firm as the disdain continued.

He gloated about his violent victory to the crowd, and gave a preview of his R-rated celebration plans.

Hope the kids were in bed.

Lesnar, who lost to Mir by first-round submission in his UFC debut last year (and did apologize for his post-fight actions Saturday), immediately got atop Mir and battered him with repeated rights to the head that bloodied the bridge of Mir's nose and swelled his face. It took only seconds to repeat the position against the cage in the second round, and referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the abuse at the 1:28 mark.

Lesnar's reprised villain role came after UFC officials used the occasion of the landmark event to call mixed martial arts sports' greatest live event.

This night didn't make you forget about the Super Bowl or World Series, which you can watch with your family.

In a one-sided display, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (19-2) defended his belt by subjecting challenger Thiago Alves to repeated takedowns and a third-round knockdown to win a dominant unanimous decision, 50-45, 50-44, 50-45 on the scorecards.

Alves left the octagon with a bloodied nose and eyes swollen because he sustained too many short punches while lying on his back. St-Pierre ended Alves' seven-fight winning streak, and said nice things about the youngster improving with maturity.

But the outcome only confirmed that the match UFC has to make is St-Pierre versus the world's top MMA tactician, Brazil's Anderson Silva.

Also, Michael Bisping, a proud Brit who coached against Temecula's Dan Henderson in the latest version of the UFC's reality show, "The Ultimate Fighter," riled up the crowd by circling the octagon and staring in menace.

Henderson (25-7) thrilled the "USA!" chanters by decking Bisping in the second round with a thunderous right thrown from a near squatting pose. Bisping (18-2) went down hard, and if it had been a boxing match, the fight would have been stopped.

However, this is the extra punishment that UFC sells without apology: Henderson pounced to deliver a tomahawk chop to Bisping's neck and head. Henderson leaped to the top of the cage in celebration.

"I knew I hit him good," said Henderson, whose U.S. team lost to Bisping's on TV. "I think that [second] one was just to shut him up a bit."

All this after UFC execs took every opportunity during the week to continue pushing the notion that their sport is reaching mainstream status.

The organization is preaching to the masses among those age 17 to 35. UFC President Dana White said in a letter to reporters distributed Saturday, "For years, we fought for respect, to prove this . . . was the most exciting live event on the planet."

But let's be honest: An Affliction shirt on anyone over 50 is still ridiculous. If you've seen Willie Mays play, you didn't pay $50 Saturday night for MMA.

And good parents probably want to think twice about letting one of their tykes under 12 risk watching either the Lesnar act or a grown man lose consciousness. That happened seconds into the first round of the first two undercard fights. As for the two-inch-long forehead gash on Mac Danzig that streamed blood like a water fountain . . . let the kids enjoy "Hannah Montana" while they can.

Still, the drinking-age, mostly male UFC audience that packed into Mandalay Bay happily turned over gobs of cash to pack into a fan expo here, pounding beers and chasing scalpers charging a minimum $300 for a seat.

UFC matchmaker Joe Silva said because of the extra attention on UFC 100, an impressive victory by any undercard fighter would launch them faster into more significant fights. Light-heavyweight Jon Jones (9-0) did his part, chopping down Jake O'Brien with a spinning elbow in the second round and applying a chokehold that caused O'Brien to tap out. UFC newcomer Yoshihiro Akiyama also won a split-decision middleweight slugfest with Mississippi's Alan Belcher.

The card paid a nod to its past when former "The Ultimate Fighter" cast member Stefan Bonnar suffered a badly cut forehead and lost to former champ Mark Coleman in a unanimous decision. Setting the mood, Coleman walked past press row with a celebratory expletive, of course.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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