Seth Petruzelli's Blogs
UFC 116 Postmortem: Lesnar’s Rank Secured, Leben Hits a Double
By: Jake Rossen
Brock Lesnar file photo: Sherdog.com
Calling a bout between two super-heavyweights Fight of the Year material used to be the set-up to a punch line. Being big and athletic meant heading for the NFL; never moving past varsity football and lacking self-preservation meant a stint in Japan or in one of the minor leagues, where promoters expected a solid 30 seconds of action before your lungs shut down. If they got 40, maybe you’d get a bonus.
In terms of an overall MMA game, no one is going to confuse Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin for B.J. Penn. But part of fighting is tailoring your abilities to what your body does best. For Carwin, it was smashing; for Lesnar, it’s being a Division 1 wrestler with a gas tank, tremendous power and a mean streak.
Was their meeting Saturday a 101 in the game? No. But Lesnar’s unbelievable attrition and the emotional element -- so many people are invested in Lesnar’s results -- made it the most compelling fight of the year.
It was an education. Lesnar, always the hammer, could be the nail without giving up: he doesn’t suffer from demoralization after adversity, which is rare in an athlete who usually enjoys the advantage. He’s developing a submission game that’s tailored to the positional control he forces. And it may take a baseball bat soaked in concrete to knock him out.
Carwin’s scorecard was less flattering. Despite constant claims from his camp that he could go five hard rounds with no problem, he was the walking dead going into round two. (Carwin might be hitting 15 rounds in training, but it’s irrelevant: nothing prepares you for the emotional vacuum of a live fight.) He was unable to conserve either his attack on Lesnar or his energy. He came within seconds of stopping him, but it’s Lesnar who will get the credit for surviving. “Came close” isn’t a notation on a fight record.
Lesnar’s comeback was a fitting end to a night that seemed to be all about will and heart over technique and playing for points. Stephan Bonnar, in danger of dropping four straight, had a palpable desperation he used to finish off Krzysztof Soszynski; Chris Leben, only two weeks removed from a big win, took out a guy above his pay grade in Yoshihiro Akiyama. Everyone bled and everyone was smiling. If that doesn’t sum up the sport of mixed martial arts, I don’t know what would.
The winners were all pleased, obviously -- but it was Lesnar who seemed downright content. Much has been made of his seemingly short attention span, how he jumped from pro wrestling to pro football tryouts to fighting, and whether he won’t soon get bored with his latest interest. But you’ve never seen a man more at peace with getting beaten up.
"If it was legal and I wouldn't get in trouble, I'd pick a fight on every street,” he told ESPN.com in 2004, three years before his debut. “If I wouldn't lose any money or nothing, I would fight. I'd fight every day." It’s legal, he’s not losing any money, and he’s getting into it every day in the gym. No wonder the guy is smiling.
Next for Lesnar: Cain Velasquez, who is going to bring more technical hands than Carwin’s with the cardio to back them up. Read more
Kimboslayer Returns Aug. 22
By: Brian Knapp
Seth Petruzelli, forever known as the man who took down Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, will meet International Fight League veteran Chris Baten at Art of Fighting “Damage” on Aug. 22 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.Read more
Petruzelli (10-4) has not competed since he bounced Slice on a first-round technical knockout at EliteXC “Heat” in October. The 29-year-old will carry a two-fight winning streak into his match with Baten.