Is Shane Carwin a Better Fighter Than Fedor Emelianenko?

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Is Shane Carwin a Better Fighter Than Fedor Emelianenko?
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Shane Carwin, the 6'2", 265 pound contender for the UFC heavyweight championship, has gone undefeated in 12 MMA fights. As most MMA fans know, these wins have all come about by way of finish in the first round, whether by submission, TKO, or KO.

In fact, nobody has lasted even four minutes against Carwin, Frank Mir being the one closest to actually finishing a round with the big guy by holding a fight time of 3:48.

What happened during the thirty seconds before that moment was one of the most severe beat downs of all time, thanks to the great refereeing of Dan Miragliotta.

Think about that, though. Frank Mir, the guy who was the UFC heavyweight champion, who beat Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and most importantly, the only guy to hold a victory over Brock Lesnar, barely lasted beyond three minutes against Carwin.

Mir is clearly one of the toughest fighters to ever grace the Octagon with his presence, yet Carwin did something even Lesnar couldn't do: he finished Mir in the first round.

This could make a good case for a Carwin/Lesnar comparison, but that will be determined this Saturday. Another question, though, is at the end of his career, how will Carwin end up ranking against Fedor Emelianenko?

Emelianenko is no joke when it comes to knockouts, submissions, wrestling, and strategy. He certainly isn't the biggest heavyweight in the world, though Emelianenko has a mystique about him that has put him at the top of many, many people's best pound-for-pound fighter list.

At 31-1-0, Emelianenko has only demonstrated true weakness one time in his whole career, and that was when he fought Ricardo Arona. Arona relentlessly ground-and-pounded Emelianenko, though somehow Emelianenko won a unanimous decision.

Even though there has been speculation as to why many of his opponents are not high profile enough—outside of Arona—Emelianenko has truly dominated all the fighters he has faced. Many people consider him unbeatable, though he does not have a perfect record.

Carwin, on the other hand, has an untarnished record. He has been rocked hard (for example, his fight against Gabriel Gonzaga), only to come back with a brutal, fight-ending punch of his own. He has swarmed his competition with punches, smothered his opponents with expert wrestling, and he's overpowered everyone he's faced.

Of course, there is the matter of Carwin having only competed in 12 fights versus Fedor's 32 fights. At a 100 percent success rate, Carwin is statistically a more successful fighter than Emelianenko was in his first 12 fights.

Another factor to take into consideration is Emelianenko's ability to reverse inferior positions and come out on top. Pertinent examples are his fights against Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman.

Randleman suplexed Emelianenko on his head and gained side control, only to have Emelianenko sweep him and turn his gain into a fight-finishing Kimura. Coleman once took Emelianenko's back, only to have Emelianenko turn the worst possible position into an advantageous one by escaping it and armbarring him.

Critics of Carwin say that he has yet to prove himself against such dire straits, but is that such a bad thing?

Carwin has thus far done something every fighter has dreamed of: he has won every one of his matches in the first round, which means he can basically finish fights at will. He's an aggressive striker, has a great wrestling basis, and most importantly, he's hungry.

He's not so big that he's completely invulnerable, but he's powerful enough to challenge anybody. He has as heavy of hands as anybody ever in the history of MMA, and he can keep the fight standing, in the clinch or on the ground.

To Emelianenko's credit, most fighters are concerned with technique and conditioning whereas he is a master strategist. Emelianenko used his impeccable timing to devastate Andre Arlovski only after suckering him in to making an emotion-based mistake (i.e., the famous flying knee attempt that even Arlovski himself couldn't explain).

In terms of strategy, though, Carwin seems set on adapting it to each of his opponents. Against Mir, for instance, Carwin planned on a Lesnaresque smothering combined with knee/hook combinations that worked to slowly loosen Mir up for a grade A beating.

Although a true comparison at this point might be vague due to the factor of time, Carwin is a true Renaissance man of MMA. His combination of strength, power, skill, strategy, and desire to win will no doubt work to give him a successful career in MMA.

As for the frequent poll of who might win between Emelianenko and Lesnar, perhaps after Carwin and Lesnar's upcoming match at UFC 116, the question will change to, "Who would win: Fedor or Shane?"

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