For those who have been living in a cave in some remote corner of the globe, UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is out of action. Due to health related issues, Lesnar will be unable to defend his title for the foreseeable future.
The best thing for UFC to do now is to create an interim title. By creating an interim title, the UFC will be able to keep its fans interested in the heavyweight division while the champ is unable to compete.
The best way to decide who gets to fight for the interim title is to hold a good old fashioned tournament or Grand Prix for the Asian fans. It’s time to throw out all the current matchups and get things started.
The competitors for this tournament have been hand selected by yours truly.
The No. 1 seed will be former UFC champion Frank Mir and the No. 2 seed will be former Pride and interim UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria.
Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Cheick Kongo, Gabriel Gonzaga and Pat Barry will round out the field of eight.
Preliminary Match: Frank Mir vs. Pat Barry
Mir steps into the octagon as a huge favorite, but Barry is not the type of fighter that should be overlooked. Pat Barry is a vicious K-1 striker with three of his five TKO wins coming by way of leg kicks.
Pat Barry proves to be the better man as his striking is too crisp and accurate for Mir to contest.
Barry advances via first round TKO.
Preliminary Match: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Both Big Nog and Gonzaga are brilliant on the ground, so it is likely that they would cancel each other out and make this a standing affair. Gonzaga has improved his Muay Thai and boxing, but is not on the same level as Big Nog.
Nogueria is a far superior technical boxer and will pick Gonzaga apart on the outside before going in for the kill.
Nogueria advances via third round TKO.
Preliminary Match: Shane Carwin vs. Cheick Kongo
Someone is going to sleep when these two big powerful strikers step inside the octagon. Kongo is the more technical striker of the two but Carwin will have the advantage in size, strength and wrestling.
Carwin loves to stand and throw the leather, but against someone as skilled as Kongo he would get back to basics, Utilizing his wrestling pedigree to get Kongo to the mat to ground and pound his way to victory.
Carwin advances via first round TKO.
Preliminary Match: Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos
Finishing of the preliminary bouts are two young, up-and-coming fighters. Dos Santos is a powerful punching Brazilian KO machine, while Velasquez is a chain-wrestling, ground-and-pound specialist.
Dos Santos has plenty of power in his hands but that will not stop Velasquez’s shot. On the ground Dos Santos is a Nogueria-trained BJJ brown belt, but that will mean very little as Velasquez is a master at maintaining a dominate position.
Velasquez advances via unanimous decision.
Semifinal Match: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria vs. Shane Carwin
This is an epic battle between a human wrecking machine and one of the best to ever compete in this young sport.
Big Nog is the more technical of the two, both on his feet and on the ground, but Carwin’s power cannot be denied. The biggest question in this fight is whether or not Carwin has the cardiovasular endurance to go to war with someone like Big Nog. Nogueria has gone toe-to-toe with the best in the business and did not budge an inch.
Carwin will land some big shots and put Nogueria into trouble, but the crafty veteran has been there before. Carwin will be running on fumes by the middle of the second round and that is when Big Nog will take over. Carwin will try to revert back to his wrestling roots but will be too exhausted to defend Big Nog’s submission attempts.
Nogueria advances to the interim title bout via third round submission.
Semifinal Match: Cain Velasquez vs. Pat Barry
This is where Barry’s Cinderella story ends. Velasquez’s wrestling will be too effective for Barry to defend. Barry will be able to land some shots, but Cain has proven he has a strong chin, and will once again grind down his opponent.
Velasquez advances to the interim title bout via second round TKO.
Interim Title Match: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria vs. Cain Velasquez
Velasquez has the drive, determination, and wrestling base to give Nogueria a difficult time. He won’t be able to out-box Big Nog, but will be able to use his standup to setup his takedowns.
Once on the mat, Velasquez will be in Nogueria’s world, but the former All-American should have the stamina and ability to grind down Nogueria.
And the winner is…
Cain Velasquez via unanimous decision.