The face of the Ultimate Fighting Championship got bashed in this weekend.
Brock Lesnar's misfortune in losing his title is an opportunity for the UFC to expand its audience with the first Mexican American heavyweight champion in combat sports, Cain Velasquez.
"We have a fighting style that's always forward moving, with blood in our heart," Velasquez said late Saturday night after stunning Lesnar and pounding his head often to claim a first-round technical knockout at Honda Center.
He was speaking of the best reputations of Latino fighters, an effort he displayed in a thrilling round in which Velasquez (9-0) got past Lesnar's early pressure and overcame the champion's 20-pound advantage with superb conditioning and an onslaught of punching power.
The UFC gave Velasquez a $70,000 bonus for the knockout of the night, on top of his $100,000 guaranteed purse.
Lesnar, a former World Wrestling Entertainment star, and the UFC were clearly positioned for a lucrative run as UFC champion, but in defeat, questions about Lesnar's conditioning and ability to take a punch have punched holes in his self-proclaimed standing as "the baddest man on the planet."
"We'll see what happens," UFC President Dana White said.
Velasquez, 28, gives the UFC footing in its quest to widen an audience too often stereotyped in the U.S. as a group of white, 20-something beer drinkers. Velasquez dedicated the triumph to Mexican Americans and his parents' former countrymen in Mexico.
Latino fight fans are loyal to boxing, but UFC executives White and Lorenzo Fertitta made a strong marketing push with Velasquez, setting up a Spanish-language media tour and staging an Olvera Street rally for the fighter before his Saturday night victory.
His first title defense will come next year against Junior Dos Santos (12-1), a talented striker from Brazil who is 6-0 in the UFC.
With his eye keenly on the growing fan base, former Arizona State wrestler Velasquez said late Saturday he wants his first defense to be the first major UFC card in Arizona, or the main event of a card in Mexico or in California.