As a huge fan of Brock Lesnar, I was saddened by his departure from MMA. Of course, there was no reason for him to stay--he had already accomplished all there was to accomplish in mixed martial arts, and I can't fault the man for wanting to spend less time on top of Frank Mir, and more time on top of his wife. Still, one can't help but grieve for the missed potential. Lesnar, with his freak athleticism, was capable of so much, and he was bound to change the face of MMA. The day he retired for good, I hung my head and wept. That is, until I saw the following video.
Did you know that Brock Lesnar, legendary mixed martial artist, is also a professional wrestler?
I couldn't have been more excited when I saw this foootage. Though certain techniques from MMA, like the jab and the double leg takedown, are not allowed in wrestling, many of the most dangerous and spectacular moves remain. Better yet, the WWE allows some moves that the UFC won't even hear of.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the F-5.
Like small joint manipulation and the Dim Mak, F-5s are expressly banned under the Unified Rules of MMA, but in professional wrestling they're fair game, so it's no surprise that a man with Lesnar's fearsome reputation chose to make the F-5 his signature. This particular F-5 was one of his finest.
After a brutal back-and-forth war with popular wrestler C.M. Punk, in which both wrestlers fought for twenty five minutes straight despite gassing out minutes into the match, Lesnar finally managed to get the best of his foe. Punk is a great wrestler, but he lacks commitment: his back story, that he is only a mild-mannered Gracie Combatives salesman by day and a wrestler by night, indicate that he doesn't spend as much time in the gym as Lesnar. And if there's one thing Brock made himself known for in his MMA days, it was his flawless technique.
As with most finishers, the set-up is the most important part. First, Lesnar weakened Punk for his coup de grace by smashing him in the back with a folding chair while Punk was busy trying to tap out former manager Paul Heyman.
The chair is the wrestling equivalent of the jab, keeping the aggressor ahead on points and stifling his opponent's offense. Here, Lesnar uses a chair (this one a sleek, black model) to distract Punk while he gets his feet in position for the F-5. Note how Lesnar targets Punk's back, breaking down his posture and creating an opening for his attack.
Once Lesnar has weakened Punk with the chair, he makes a few more subtle adjustments before the big finish.
Lesnar takes Punk in a modified front headlock, grasping his throat with both hands and lifting him from the ground. Once Punk is in position, Lesnar makes brilliant use of eye contact to keep him distracted. As Punk meets Lesnar's sweaty, almost intimate gaze, he is defenseless to stop the big man from seizing wrist control.
Once Lesnar has Punk's wrist in his grip, it's a simple matter to transition to a fireman's carry. Note that Lesnar keeps perfect balance as he lifts Punk from the ground, keeping both feet well grounded and maintaining good posture. Once he has the fireman's carry, he deftly switches from wrist control to a modified collar tie. Now Lesnar carries Punk effortlessly across both shoulders. From this unenviable perch, there is little Punk can do but wait for the inevitable.
As the final stroke of genius, Lesnar utilizes the chair once again, positioning it in just the right spot so that Punk lands face-first on top of it, crushing his skull like so many cans of Coors Light. This is similar to a boxer using the jab to regain distance after a successful combination.
The entire match is excellent, but the finishing sequence really deserves to be watched in its entirety. Lesnar's execution is as perfect as it gets, and with it he proves that, though there was nothing more for him to achieve in the UFC, there are many more sports out there for the Beast to conquer yet.
For more deadly serious analysis like this, check out Heavy Hands, the only podcast that focuses exclusively on the finer points of face-punching. Please take a minute to rate and review the show on both iTunes and Stitcher.