UFC 111: All Roads Lead to Lesnar as Frank Mir, Shane Carwin Battle over Brock

Daniel O'DowdContributor IFebruary 25, 2010

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar reacts after knocking out Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

March 27 marks a pivotal date for the UFC heavyweight division, as former champion Frank Mir takes on the undefeated Shane Carwin for a shot at Brock Lesnar's Heavyweight Championship.

Each man has taken a different route to the position they're currently in, and stylistically they're each different and each hold their own strengths. Mir has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with impressive boxing, as he displayed in the Cheick Kongo fight at UFC 107. He is an accomplished submission artist who is more than capable of submitting men off his back and fighting men inside his guard.

Carwin is a brutally strong fighter who resembles Lesnar in terms of stature and wrestling pedigree. Although Lesnar may have a marginal advantage in that department, Carwin, however, has undeniable knockout power. (And in a somewhat powerful side note, Carwin has never seen the second round of a fight.) In his 11 professional bouts, Carwin has ended five by submission and six by KO or TKO.

It shouldn't go unmentioned that he has a purple belt in BJJ under Nate Marquardt, either.

He showed against Gabriel Gonzaga that he has the ability to take punishment after he recovered from having his nose broken to slip a right hand through Gonzaga's guard and knock him out.

In terms of momentum, these fighters most certainly have it.

Since losing to Lesnar back at UFC 100 last July, Mir has put on a lot of weight and has admitted that he's adding muscle to compete with the likes of Lesnar and Carwin. Mir dropped Kongo at UFC 107 in December and submitted him in the first round.

Admittedly, Kongo may not be among the premier fighters in the heavyweight division, but it was quite the statement nonetheless.

Mir is a man on a mission, and there is absolutely no mistake about his intentions; he wants to defeat Carwin and go on to avenge his defeat at the hands of Lesnar. Some may even say he's obsessed. After all, it was just last week that Mir said on Pittsburgh's WXDX radio how he'd like to "break Lesnar's neck" and for him to be the "first death due to Octagon-related injuries."

His disdain for Lesnar is undeniable.

As a viewer and a fan of the sport, I'm not complaining, though. Obviously I think Mir's recently comments were ridiculous, but to see two guys who hate each other square off makes for compulsive viewing. If Mir gets past Carwin in New Jersey, a third match against Lesnar will be a big, big draw for the UFC and would go some way to settling their feud.

For Carwin, he may not share Mir's hatred for Lesnar, but he's spoken out against Lesnar in the past and will undoubtedly do it again in the future if he conquers Mir.

The intrigue of seeing two behemoths such as Lesnar and Carwin is an appealing prospect too, and I for one wouldn't be complaining if Carwin won and set up a match with Lesnar.

Whatever happens at UFC 111 in a month, the talking will stop and somebody will take a fall. Either Carwin loses his impressive undefeated streak or Mir loses the chance to get the revenge on Lesnar he so desperately craves.

I, for one, can't wait.