When Brock Lesnar stepped into the octagon Saturday night in Las Vegas he was faced with the toughest opponent of his career. In Shane Carwin he faced somebody who could not only match his size and power, but possessed the most devastating punching power in all of combat sports.
The way that Lesnar handled the threat proved that he’s not only a worthy champion but also the best heavyweight in MMA.
The fight started badly for the heavyweight champion, with Lesnar being overwhelmed in the opening minutes. Carwin swarmed forward, connecting with several hard shots including a vicious uppercut. With Lesnar now on the floor, Carwin unleashed a brutal ground-and-pound attack. To survive such an onslaught not only showed superhuman toughness but the crucial ability to think rationally during a crisis. We must remember none of Carwin’s previous opponents survived the first round, so he knows how to close the show.
Lesnar showed superior positional awareness off the bottom, never risking compromising himself but constantly moving and working to ensure that the referee knew he was still in the fight. This calmness when placed in the worst possible situation was eerily reminiscent of Fedor Emelianenko at his peak.
He also had the killer instinct to see that his adversary was beginning to weakening, seizing on the smallest detail to give him the confidence to move forward to victory. Seeing that Carwin was tiring, Lesnar pushed the action in the final minute of the first round, using his wrestling to control Carwin and force him to carry his 270-pound frame for the final minute. Not only did this show superior fight strategy but it again demonstrated the exceptional wrestling ability of the former NCAA champion. In his last fight, Carwin destroyed Mir from the same position. But even after the damage he had taken, Lesnar had the technique and brute force to handle Carwin.
This wrestling ability was displayed again in the second round, with Lesnar quickly securing the takedown after which he showed slick grappling to quickly get the mount. Instead of being predictable and trying to work his brutal ground and pound, Lesnar switched to side mount to successfully apply the arm triangle choke. His submission victory once again showed the unique way that Lesnar’s jiujitsu is based on his brute strength as by turning into the arm triangle he successfully concentrated all of his strength onto Carwin’s neck. For all the emphasis on his wrestling, the fact is that Lesnar is unusual in the variety of methods he uses to secure victory. In his last four fights he has won as a result of his top control, his boxing, his ground and pound and his grappling. There are few fighters that can boast so many options, so many ways to defeat their opponents.
His victory Saturday continues a winning streak that has seen him defeat Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Frank Mir and now Shane Carwin. With each fight he has shown significant improvement, with his fighting technique making better use of his exceptional physical attributes. And the scary thing is that although he’s already the heavyweight champion he’s yet to fulfill his full potential. Unlike other famous outsiders such as Bob Sapp and Kimbo Slice, he’s not content to rest on his laurels and live off his celebrity.
Brock Lesnar may have once been an entertainer but he has the heart and mind of a true competitor. He truly is the baddest man on the planet, the best heavyweight fighter in the world.
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Tags: Brock Lesnar, Mixed Martial Arts, shane carwin, UFC 116