Brock Lesnar took the long way home to retain his UFC HW belt privileges. On his way there, he suffered a serious beat down that lasted for what appeared to be forever.
Shane Carwin clocked Lesnar less than 40 seconds from the opening bell. The onslaught had Lesnar defending (read: absorbing) Carwin’s punches for the good majority of the first round, until Carwin appeared to gas.
Carwin’s great wrestling pedigree wasn’t much help, as the contender’s conditioning gave out on him after raining shots on Lesnar’s head during round one. To repeat, for the better part of that round. So, did MMA fans witness the sport’s version of rope-a-dope?
If so, it probably became a fallback plan that Lesnar reluctantly accepted. Carwin was clearly at an advantage standing up and Lesnar’s take down attempt was easily countered by his rival. At some point, fans saw Lesnar running from Carwin. Seeing a gigantic individual running away in fear is odd. It couldn’t get much worse for the former WWE star and much-maligned defending UFC champion.
Round two came along. Lesnar’s conditioning had him looking much fresher than his opponent. After a longish period where both fighters appeared to take an extra minute to recuperate, Lesnar successfully charged Carwin and got him on his back without great difficulty.
A careful positioning game ensued, with Lesnar submitting Carwin by way of arm triangle at 2:52 of the second round. That submission netted Lesnar the Sub Of The Night purse worth $75,000.
The fight proved that amazing strength and conditioning can win fights. So it turned out to be not an amazing feat, but convincing it sure was.
Lesnar successfully challenged a very legitimate contender in Carwin (valued at +110 or hovering around there), but not one who was given a better chance than Couture (+100 or around there) nor Mir (+110 or around there), when he first fought Lesnar in 2008 at UFC 81.
Lesnar still has an incredible strength advantage over his closest rivals, whether Cain Velasquez or Junior Dos Santos. Adding that Carwin’s reputation for powerful punching is greater than JDS’, and very evidently humbles Velasquez, it appears that Brock Lesnar might grow into his own and dominate the HW division for a while.
Who knows, MMA fans might get to see a guy who goes through the roster the way Anderson Silva did his weight division.
The MW bout between Chris Leben and Yoshihiro Akiyama provided great intensity, though masterful shouldn’t ever come to describe it. Akiyama failed to capitalize on the few times he got to push Leben around. The latter fought like the scraper he is, but with slightly improved cardio. It ended with a surprising SUB defeat by Akiyama, late in the third round. Both fighters were awarded the Fight of the Night purse of $75,000 for turning in such a performance.
The other fight that got the same distinction was the one that pitted LHW Stephen Bonnar to Krzysztof Soszynski. There was incredible intensity with Bonnar, the underdog, stopping the fight halfway through the second stanza by way of TKO.
Other fights that rounded up the main card were those between George Sotiropoulos and Kurt Pellegrino for LW contender status. Sotiropoulos defeated Pellegrino by unanimous decision. The WW bout between Chris Lytle and Matt Brown also provided intensity, unfortunately resulting in Brown’s broken arm. He lost by submission (armbar) at 2:02 of round two.
Main card fighter reported payouts are below:
Brock Lesnar ($475,000—includes $75,000 Submission of the Night bonus; no win bonus reported)
Shane Carwin ($40,000)
Chris Leben ($161,000—includes $43,000 win bonus and $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Yoshihiro Akiyama ($120,000—includes $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Chris Lytle ($52,000—includes $26,000 win bonus)
Matt Brown ($10,000)
Stephan Bonnar ($125,000—includes $25,000 win bonus and $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Krzysztof Soszynski ($85,000—includes $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
George Sotiropoulos ($24,000)
Kurt Pellegrino ($25,000)
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