MARK COLEMAN TO BROCK LESNAR
Wrestling has always been a big part of MMA. Japanese MMA roots can be tracked down from its pro-wrestling circuit , Kid Nate blogs it here and here. On the other side of the world, amateur wrestling was making a mark in MMA. Don Frye stormed thru UFC 8 and looked like an unstoppable force, but then came Mark "The Hammer" Coleman in UFC 10. After winning their respective fights, they finally met at the finals. Brent describes the fight :
Mark was able to bust Frye up throughout the bout. Repeatedly putting him on his back and repeatedly throwing fluries of heavy punches downward and providing an exclamation point to the beating with a few heavy headbutts, a Coleman trademark.
The always dangerous Frye was in a fight where he was forced to be on the defensive from the opening bell. It was the perfect statement that a new force had arrived on the scene.
A NCAA Division I wrestling champion and an Olympian in Freestyle, there is no secret to Coleman's gameplan: be on top of a grounded opponent and beat the crap out of him. At 6 feet 1 inch and a powerhouse body, Coleman was finding his way thru his opponents and had relative ease during the first tournaments of the UFC. He took his opponents down and rained them with punches and the occassional headbutts to submission or knockout. It was a pattented move that seemed impossible to stop. The simplicity and effectiveness of the GnP method was perfected by Coleman. He is very heavy handed and each one that landed really hurt his opposition. Nobody had anything to present against the power of "The Hammer". It was not until Maurice Smith came to the scene and exposed his main weakness:cardio. The Godfather of Ground and Pound had a roller coaster career from losing 4 straight then regaining prestige as one of the best HW in the world after winning the GP in 2000. Losing to Nogueira, Emelianenko and Filipovic marked the end of his prime, something, which at one point, looked to last for a decade.
While Mark was fighting in Japan, WWE brought in a new star, accompanied by Paul Heyman and was called "the Next Big Thing". The first time I saw Lesnar, I remember an ultra massive no neck freak just suddenly rushed into the ring and placed Mark Henry (a 400 pounder) in his shoulders and threw him 180 degrees w/ ease.
Brock Lesnar was also a NCAA division I wrestling champion w/c opted to proceed w/ a pro-wrestling career. A huge 6 foot 3 inches mammoth w/ agility and speed only took his first MMA fight in June 2007.
Lesnar was a big attraction in the MMA world even only after 1 fight because of his WWE career. I remember the same feeling for those who knew Coleman prior to UFC 10. The anticipation of what a monster can do in a fight. The difference is that we have a version of Coleman who is TALLER, BIGGER, arguably STRONGER and more importantly FASTER. Being a NCCA champion himself, there was no suprise to Lesnar's technique, Ground and Pound. His mediocre standup and submission skills are very well compensated with ability to ground his opponents and land bombs from the top. If Cawin, Velasquez and Dos Santos can't find a way to stop being on their back, I truly see a domination similar to Coleman's reign in the tournaments.. Wrestling is about to find a new era of success.
Between Coleman and Lesnar, the similarities in techniques are amazing as it feels like a "The Hammer" ver. 2 was created. Whats even more exciting is that we get to see the Lesnar against huge opponents and it would come down who has a better skillset, not who is larger.
Randleman was a failed prototype of Coleman II, Lesnar is the Micheal Corleone of Ground and Pround.