Love him or hate him, Brock Lesnar is the now officially the Baddest Man on the Planet.
In the wake of the fall of the great Fedor, Lesnar’s victory over Interim Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin at UFC 116 has solidified his place at the top of the mountain.
The fight itself was every bit as epic as we had hoped it would be. And most importantly, it answered all the questions looming over the heads of the two UFC Heavyweight Champs:
Is Brock Lesnar fully recovered from his medical problems?
Can his as-of-yet untested chin withstand the concussion-inducing punching power of Shane Carwin?
Does Carwin have the cardio to go the distance?
The answers there were yes, yes, and, unfortunately for Carwin, absolutely not.
Shane Carwin looked convincing right out of the gates, dominating Brock in Round One. He was able to neutralize Lesnar's world-class wrestling and freakish size with, you guessed it, his own world-class wrestling and freakish size. Carwin dazed Lesnar with an uppercut early in the round, overpowered him, and swarmed him on the ground. Brock was simply manhandled for almost five solid minutes.
Lesnar, however, defended himself well and weathered the storm by proving he doesn't just look like he can get hit in the face by a truck and survive, he actually can get hit in the face by a truck and survive. I don't think Brock would have been able to take another round like that.
Fortunately for him, neither could Carwin. He ran out of gas somewhere between the fourth and fifth minute and was a totally different fighter in Round Two. Lesnar scored an easy takedown and showcased his top game (which no longer consists entirely of hammerfists) submitting Carwin with, of all things, an arm triangle.
Brock Lesnar has always been a polarizing figure in MMA, and critics have always considered him more hype than fight and undeserving of his opportunities. On top of that, his past as a pro-wrestler, post-fight outbursts, and nearly career ending struggle with diverticulitis have provided an unending distraction for people to focus on throughout the duration of his three year career.
But somewhere along the way, somebody taught this monster how to fight.
This genetic anomaly now has the tools to become unstoppable. Brock Lesnar really does look better and better every time he enters the cage, and for his size, his agility and athleticism are unmatched. Now he has shown he’s got an iron chin as well.
This must be getting a little frightening for the rest of the heavyweight division.
Lesnar’s next title defense will be against undefeated Cain Velasquez, another guy who improves exponentially with every fight. While cardio certainly won’t be a problem for Cain (the guy is a maniac with an infinite gas tank) he does give up a good 30 pounds of muscle to Brock. We will have to wait until at least the Fall to see this one, but it should be well worth the wait.
As for Carwin, this fight was his first time out of the first round and it showed. His loss will only make him a better fighter in the long run, and I’m sure a rematch is in his future, as I can’t imagine either man straying too far from the top of the division any time soon.
In the meantime, the Era of Brock Lesnar has begun. Here comes the pain.