Shane Carwin has finished 12 of his 13 opponents in the first round. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Two of the heavyweight division’s heaviest hitters will collide when Junior dos Santos meets Shane Carwin in a title eliminator at UFC 131 on Saturday at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Recovering heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez likely awaits the winner.
Dos Santos was originally slated to fight Brock Lesnar, his opposing coach on Season 13 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” However, the former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar was forced to withdraw after a second bout with diverticulitis resulted in substantial intestinal surgery.
Enter Carwin, a behemoth of a heavyweight with devastating punching power. The 36-year-old Coloradan has not fought since succumbing to an arm-triangle choke from Lesnar nearly a year ago. In the months since, he underwent a surgical procedure to correct a nagging neck injury.
Sherdog.com recently touched base with dozens of professional trainers and fighters to gauge their opinions on the Dos Santos-Carwin matchup:
Matt Pena: Having seen JDS train on a couple of occasions, I’m convinced that folks have no idea exactly how good his standup really is. Sure, he’s impressed folks in fights, but I promise you, unless you have been in the gym with him that you haven’t seen the angles, movement and speed that JDS uses. It’s better than any other heavyweight in the division. The real question is how tentative can Carwin make JDS of his takedown attempts. My eye tells me that JDS has seen many heavy-handed fighters in his upbringing, so he will be able to handle a powerful puncher, skill-wise. If Carwin gasses or can’t get in JDS’ head or get a consistent takedown, which I don’t think he will, it will be an early stoppage win for “Cigano.” Exciting fight, because I know Shane will bring it, but I look for the precision fighter, who is JDS, to take advantage of Carwin.
Kyle Kingsbury: Dos Santos will be crushed by “Sloth” Carwin via takedown and You- Stole-My-Baby-Ruth hammerfist.
Eric Pele: Dos Santos.
Erik Paulson: I believe that Carwin is the most dangerous heavyweight fighter in the first round. If Junior can push the fight into the second round or more, I think Junior will win. It’s a bummer that Brock had to pull out because of his stomach. We shall all say a prayer for his instant successful recovery so we can watch him fight the winner of Junior and Carwin.
Jason Lambert: Junior [by] TKO.
Nam Phan: I say Dos Santos will win by letting Carwin outpunch himself into a TKO victory. If that doesn’t happen, I think Dos Santos has better boxing anyways and will get the TKO in the later rounds.
John Hackleman: It appears to me that Junior has [better] athleticism and better technical boxing skills with the knockout punch. If he keeps the speed on or keeps the distance, I think he will either outpoint or find the chin of Carwin and knock him out. But if Carwin uses his superior strength and overall athleticism -- he has just as much but in a different way -- and gets inside, roughs him up and lands that hammer-like right hand, I think he can knock out Junior. So I think whoever gets their [game plan] off first will win. That’s just my way of staying on the fence (laughs).
Ryan Ciotoli: I am going with Dos Santos by second-round TKO. Dos Santos will counterstrike off Carwin’s missed takedown attempts and will be too quick for him on the feet. Expect a big uppercut from Dos Santos in the second round.
Scott Jorgensen: Man, that’s a good fight. My heart lies with the wrestler, but Dos Santos is so dangerous and, at that weight, it’s a puncher’s game. Whoever can land that clean, solid shot can end the night. You see it all the time. I think it’s going to be a great fight, but in the end, it’s whoever lands that big shot, and [then] it’s lights out.
Ed Herman: I’m going with Carwin, man. I’ve been training with him. I tend to go with my heart, so I’m pulling for Shane.
Greg Jackson: I’m going with Shane. He’s my man, and I believe in him 100 percent. He’s a great guy [and] a great fighter, so, yeah, I’m sure he’s going to take it home. (Laughs) It’d be nice if [it ended] in 10 seconds so my friend, Trevor [Wittman], doesn’t lose his mind, but I’m just hoping he wins it.
Ramsey Nijem: I’m definitely going with Dos Santos in this one, as long as he can move. Carwin hits with power, but Junior hits with power and speed, so I think that Junior is the more dangerous heavy hitter in this fight. He was able to stop Roy [Nelson]’s takedowns, so as long as he can stop Carwin’s takedowns and always get up, he’s always in better shape. I think a second-round knockout is my prediction right now.
Continue Reading » Pros Pick: Dos Santos vs. Carwin