Carwin (top) file photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
With just one tap by Fedor Emelianenko, UFC 116 “Lesnar vs. Carwin” went from being headlined by a heavyweight title unifier to a battle for status as the world’s premier heavyweight.
Airing live on pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the cost of admission is worth it just for the chance to watch Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin decide who is the heavyweight alpha male of the moment.
For a proper breakdown of this massively important fight as well as the rest of the main card proceedings, read on and get your knowledge right.
Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
A few days ago the title unification bout between Lesnar and Carwin was the biggest heavyweight fight on the UFC docket. Then Fedor Emelianenko lost, the Internet blew up and the No. 1 spot in the division is now all but reserved for the winner of this fight.
Who exactly holds the edge in the race for heavyweight supremacy is anyone’s guess. Lesnar has been on the shelf for a year thanks to a life-threatening case of diverticulitis, and Carwin still has yet to fight past the first round. For all the questions on the table, however, both fighters are still unbelievably talented prototypes for the next generation of physically dominant heavyweights. With that much freakish DNA in the cage, strategy is going to be what separates these two.
Known for being a pure power puncher and little else, Carwin actually showed surprising fight IQ in his fight with Frank Mir by pressing him against the cage and clubbing the former UFC heavyweight champion in close quarters. Just a little bit of strategy makes Carwin’s sense-shattering punches that much more dangerous, and it’s hard to imagine Lesnar going blow for blow with his ginormous counterpart. That’s not to say Lesnar can’t crack; rather, he hasn’t shown Carwin’s willingness to brawl nor his ongoing improvements as a boxer.
What Lesnar does have on Carwin is wrestling. The hulking South Dakotan has a preposterously fast shot and real wrestling skills to back it up. Just from a technical perspective, Carwin relies heavily on his strength to get takedowns, which won’t work against a wrestler of Lesnar’s caliber. Getting stuck underneath Lesnar is a scenario he has to avoid at all costs considering the smothering top control and rapid-fire ground striking synonymous with the reformed pro wrestler.
Those are all skills Lesnar has refined in a shockingly short amount of time while Carwin’s game hasn’t changed much since bursting onto the scene. While Lesnar’s recent dance with death has many wondering what sort of shape his body is in, he hasn’t fought in nearly a year, which is plenty of time to regain his form. All that time sitting on the sidelines also gave Lesnar the chance to continue making quantum leaps in his game.
Assuming full health and massive improvement from a guy who had a hole in his guts not too long ago may seem like a leap of faith, but Lesnar has proven many times over that he simply defies human physiology. As long as his strategy doesn’t defy logic, he has the edge on Carwin, who needs to be upright to win this fight. Every second this fight is on the feet will be a nail-biter, but Lesnar will keep them to a minimum by ground-and-pounding Carwin for the win.
Lesnar or Carwin, win or lose, they’re still better than “The Other Guys” -- In theaters August 6
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