Sunday, July 4, 2010


Two of the largest heavyweight mixed martial artists in the world collide in this conflict of titans at the main event of UFC 116. Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin is a much hyped and heavily anticipated fight, and for good reason.

Very similar to the recent UFC 114 main event, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. “Sugar” Rashad Evans, the bout features two warriors of very similar size, strength, and skill at the very top of their weight class battling it out. Only this time, there’s a title belt on the line.

Another similarity to the Rampage vs. Rashad fight is that one of the fighters has been gone from the Octagon for over a year. Shortly after he avenged his only loss against Frank Mir at UFC 100, Brock Lesnar suffered from what is called diverticulitis, a complication in his digestive which, as he revealed inn one of his interviews, created a large hole in his stomach. At one point, doctors even told him that he did not have long to live.

Lesnar magically recovered, though, as the minor treatments the hospitals had given him for a few weeks were apparently enough to allow his body to begin healing itself. Lesnar recovered soon after, and was back in the gym, more than prepared to defend his title again.

His opponent, top contender Shane Carwin, on the other hand, has been very busy in the meantime. He has since knocked out two of the top heavyweights, Gabriel Gonzaga and Frank Mir, and has now been acknowledged as Lesnar’s equal. All of his fights have been won by way of knockout in the first round, and, before this fight, his professional MMA record was 12-0; very impressive indeed.

In fact, most fans and journalists seemed to give the edge to him. The basic thought was that if Carwin manages to catch Lesnar early in the fight, like he’s been able to do with all his past fights, then Brock Lesnar would go to sleep like the rest. I discussed this with some of my friends recently and they all agreed on. I, for one, questioned it a bit. Humorously, I said “well, Brock has that extremely large melon for a head. I don’t think it’s gonna be that easy to smash.” In that sense, I had the fight at 50-50. I was personally rooting for Carwin because I wanted to see what Brock would do if he lost his belt, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be that easy.

And, boy, was I right. Carwin caught Lesnar with a huge punch early in the fight, same as he always does with the opponents, and exactly as everyone predicted. He manages to get Brock quickly on the ground and control him until the end of the round, all the while delivering continuously vicious ground and pound. It looks like the majority would be right: Carwin would knock out Lesnar in the first. I stood up off my seat and exclaimed: “Carwin’s gonna do it!”

But, then, my early thoughts had come to pass: Brock stayed awake! He never gave up and the fight went into the second round. It was the first second round of Shane Carwin’s professional MMA career. This was going to be the big one.

Lesnar’s corner told him to move and punch, not back away and cover up like he did in the first round. They told him it would now be in his favor this second round because Carwin had punched himself out. Most of the time, cornermen exaggerate the truth to their fighters in order to build their confidence up. This is what UFC color commentator Joe Rogan terms as “the Kool-Aid”.

But lo and behold, they were exactly right. Carwin looked noticeably slower and more tentative at the beginning of the round and Brock manages to take him down with ease. What’s even more surprising is that Brock Lesnar finishes him right then and there … with a submission! Lesnar manages to get an Arm Triangle, tightens it up, and gets Carwin to tap. Astounding.

Two things happened there that I never expected:
1) That Brock would survive that onslaught
2) That Brock would submit Carwin in the very next round

All the respect to Brock Lesnar. He may act like a true asshole in front of the camerafrom time to time, but he’s a legitimate mixed martial arts champion. He looked death straight in the face only a few months prior, battled against it, won, then fought against the next toughest heavyweight in the UFC and won. That is just plain awesome.

Check out more amazing pics of the UFC 116 main event over at the official UFC website!
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