UFC 131 Fight Card: Will Ring Rust Be a Factor in Shane Carwin's Octogon Return?

Jeffrey McKinneyContributor IIIJune 8, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 26:  UFC fighter Shane Carwin (pictured) weighs in for his fight against UFC fighter Frank Mir for their Interim Championship Heavyweight fight at UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy Weigh-In on March 26, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

This Saturday at UFC 131, Shane Carwin (12-1) will be making his return to the octagon.

After being out nearly a year, Carwin will have a chance to jump right back into the title picture as he takes on Junior dos Santos for the No. 1 contender spot.

The last time Carwin stepped into the cage, he nearly defeated former UFC Champion Brock Lesnar. Carwin’s cardio kept him from finishing Lesnar in the second round of their fight.

He now has the chance to redeem himself if he can get past dos Santos.

Getting past dos Santos will be no easy task, especially when you’re coming off of a long layoff.

Fighters often suffer in their first fight back from long layoffs. Nerves often get the best of them and they’re gassed by the second round.

Because Carwin was scheduled to fight on this same card before changing opponents, he’ll be in great shape. Since the UFC 116 loss and the surgery following it, Carwin has slimmed down some, which can hopefully help with his cardio.

Another thing that can help is staying calm if he hurts dos Santos. Going for the kill too soon has proven to be the downfall for so many fighters.

If Carwin improves on his cardio and comes in as healthy as he says he is, he should have no problem with ring rust. He may be a little cautious during the first couple of minutes of the fight, but once dos Santos swings, expect Carwin to strike back.