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UFC 116 is being billed as one of the biggest single fights in UFC history, and although there are more than enough ways to hype the Shane Carwin vs. Brock Lesnar fight, there is a big chance that all of the hype will go about two minutes of action.
Shane Carwin has never been out of the first round and has won via seven knockouts and five submissions. Meanwhile, Lesnar has as many fights as Carwin has submission victories, and he has gone 4-1 in his five contests.
Despite there being just 17 combined professional fights between the two fighters, this is one of the most heavily anticipated events not only in UFC history, but in MMA history.
Sharing what little of the spotlight is left is a fight between brawler Chris Leben and the Asian sensation, Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Leben loves to fight and is just two weeks removed from a second-round knockout over Aaron Simpson, earning Knockout of the Night honors.
Akiyama hasn't fought in almost a year since making his UFC debut against Alan Belcher, which won Fight of the Night honors.
There are more big names on this card that casual MMA fans should recognize such as Stephan Bonnar, George Sotiropoulos, and Kurt Pellegrino.
After going 3-1 in my first MMA card predictions, let's make some predictions for UFC 116.
George Sotiropoulos (12-2) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (15-4) -- Lightweight Bout
Both of these fighters are skilled submission specialists. Sotiropoulos boasts seven submission victories and a black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu while also never being finished in a fight and winning his last six.
Pellegrino has 10 submission victories, also specializes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has won his last four fights.
I doubt somebody is going to get knocked out in this fight, and I think that Sotiropoulos has all of the tools to come out victorious yet again.
Prediction: George Sotiropoulos
Krzysztof Soszynski (19-9) vs. Stephan Bonnar (11-7) -- Light Heavyweight Bout
This fight is an immediate rematch of a bout from UFC 110 that Soszynski won via doctor stoppage due to an accidental headbutt.
Although he has 10 submission victories, Soszynski can also knock you out, winning eight fights via T/KO.
Bonnar is on a three-fight losing streak and could find himself out of the UFC if he loses this fight. He is a submission specialist, winning seven of his fights that way compared to just two knockouts.
Although Bonnar may be fighting for his UFC contract, something he has done before, I think Soszynski will be able to pull it out.
Prediction: Krzysztof Soszynski
Chris Lytle (28-17) vs. Matt Brown (19-8) -- Welterweight Bout
Remember when I said that Leben loves to fight, well Lytle might just love to fight more than Leben. Whenever he fights, you can be guaranteed a great fight.
He is just 5-5 in the UFC but he has won Submission of the Night twice, Fight of the Night four times and Knockout of the Night once.
He's also hoping to turn around his fortune, winning back-to-back fights against Kevin Burns and Brian Foster.
Brown has had a little better fortune since joining the UFC, going 4-2. Unlike Lytle, however, he is also coming off of a submission loss to Ricardo Almeida.
Although Brown has had better success as of late, these two have fought already with Lytle coming out on top via guillotine choke. I see Lytle coming out the victor again in this one.
Prediction: Chris Lytle
Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1) vs. Chris Leben (20-6) -- Middleweight Bout
This is the Co-Main Event of the evening, and was originally set to be Akiyama vs. Wanderlei Silva, but was changed after Silva had to back out due to injury.
Leben stepped in despite the fact that he fought at the UFC's most recent event, much to the dismay of Akiyama, who didn't think that Leben was worth fighting. They worked out the details, however, and Akiyama vs. Leben became official.
Akiyama is the Tom Brady of Japanese/Korean MMA. Known by the nickname "Sexyama," Akiyama is married to a model, has recorded hit songs, and has done some modeling of his own.
His only MMA loss has come at the hands of Jerome LeBanner in his second professional fight. LeBanner was fighting at about 250, while Akiyama was fighting at 185.
Leben, on the other hand, is 5-5 in his last 10 fights, which might explain why Akiyama didn't want to fight him. If Akiyama wins, he doesn't really move up among the UFC middleweights, whereas if Leben pulls off the upset, he drops big time.
Luckily for Akiyama, I don't see Leben being able to pull this off. While Leben is a brawler with heavy hands, I don't see him being able to beat Sexyama.
Prediction: Yoshihiro Akiyama
Brock Lesnar (4-1) vs. Shane Carwin (12-0) -- Heavyweight Title Unification Bout
Lesnar is a former D-1 wrestling champ who uses his wrestling to ground-n-pound his opponents into oblivion.
His last three fights were a horribly one-sided decision victory over Heath Herring, a TKO victory of the legendary Randy Couture for the Heavyweight Title and beat down of rival Frank Mir for the Unified Heavyweight Title.
Carwin is a former D-II wrestling champ who uses his heavy hands and powerful clinch game to send his opponents to the emergency room.
His last three fights ended at 1:31, 1:09 and 3:48 of the first round. In fact, Carwin has never seen a fight last four minutes. In total, Carwin's 12 fights have lasted about 16 minutes combined.
This fight will likely come down to whether or not Carwin's D-II credentials are enough for him to avoid the explosive takedowns of Lesnar. If he can, Lesnar might find himself face down in the octagon wondering what the hell just happened.
If Carwin can't avoid the takedown, the situation explained above might be reversed. One thing can be guaranteed, however, and that is that this fight will not last all five rounds.
I think that Carwin is able to find a home for his 5XL gloves right on Lesnar's chin at some point in time and sends him to the canvas.
Prediction: Shane Carwin
These are my picks, and even though I am a genius at picking fights, as Fabricio Werdum showed, nothing is a sure thing.
My Overall Record: 3-1
I'm Joe W.