UFC 116 provided some of the best action of any UFC card in 2010, culminating in an outstanding main event in which many feel Brock Lesnar should have lost in the first round.
The challenger Shane Carwin came out and after a feeling out period began landing punches at will on the feet. Lesnar tried to move away but eventually was dropped. This is when ref Josh Rosenthal became the center of a controversy. Carwin spent the majority of the first round in a dominate top position raining down punches on the defending Champion and many feel the fight should have been stopped for a TKO win for Carwin.
For the most part, people claiming that Carwin should have won and that the fight should have stopped are being blinded by emotion and their own hatred for Brock Lesnar.
Josh Ronsenthal did an excellent job by seeing the vast majority of Carwin's punches where landing on Lesnar's forearms and hands. Carwin was getting punches through, but not at a rate that was putting Lensar in any serious danger.
People screamed "He wasn't intelligently defending himself!" and this is also clouded by emotion.
Keeping you hands up is an intelligent defense, and while his hands where up Brock was creating distance and improving position with his legs. This an intelligent defense, considering the position Lesnar couldn’t just stand up and bust out some crazy sweep, so he kept his hands up and just created space to take a little pop off the punches and waited for his chance.
Lesnar's chance came because Carwin was so concerned with throwing as many punches as he could and as fast as possible that he was not controlling position at all.
This was Carwin’s big mistake, he didn’t use his wrestling at all, he didn’t control Lesnar, he wasn’t using anything but his punches to keep Lesnar down. So when his strikes slowed down and weakened, Lesnar simply sat up and turned into Carwin and finished the round pressing Carwin into the fence.
And we all know what happened in the second round, which brings us to a side comment about the "Lesnar only won because Carwin gassed" argument.
That’s Carwin’s problem that he came in to fight a one round fight and Lesnar came ready to go a bit longer, that’s just good preparation and Carwin not fighting smart.
The people screaming for a Round One TKO win for Carwin are calling for the garbage stoppages that normally would make them pull their own hair out and scream at the referee.
Stopping a fight because someone is on their back, getting their forearms bruised cannot become an acceptable stoppage, the whole point of the UFC was to prove that fighters could operate from off their backs and survive a guy being on top of them punching.
This fight really shines a light on the possibilities MMA fans miss out on every time a match is stopped too early, and I think will become a reference point to just that for years to come.
The outcry against this fight is completely emotional, by people who where tuning in to see Lesnar get his butt kicked, not to watch an MMA match.
If the same thing had transpired but it had been Randy Couture or Nogueira sinking in that choke in the second round this would be mention in the "Greatest UFC Heavyweight Title Match Ever" discussion.
And yes, Lesnar showed some real holes in his game, his striking defense is porous. I really feel that his next match with Cain Velasquez poses big problems for Lesnar. Velasquez is a demon on the feet, with lighting fast hands and great power, and he likely matchs Lesnar in wrestling and has enough mobility off his back to not get pinned down like Mir or Carwin. It should be a fantastic fight.