“Mir” being used as a verb in this case which means taking
down, mounting and utterly dominating (Cyberaxis)
The technical pyrotechnics were missing as we had expected but the fight very much lived to its spectacle billing for the 7:19 minutes the fighters traded leather. At about 2 minutes of the second round – Brock Lesnar, who had come within seconds of being “counted out” after a merciless pounding by Carwin – took Carwin down and then mounted him the way he did Frank Mir in UFC 100. After manhandling him a little he slipped an arm triangle choke on Carwin’s supine form and started to choke him. THIS was manly business - virtual killing in mundane time – boys need not apply. Fans and even Carwin himself didn’t realize the gravity of what was happening until the cinch tightened and an already spastic Carwin was struggling for dear breath. Reality check time. Carwin tapped out at 2:19 minutes of the second round.
MMA fans the world over erupted in belief and disbelief. Those on pacemakers were in clear danger of succumbing to what Terence McKenna called “death by astonishment.”
Google Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin UFC 116 video in place of the catch-as-catch can links below:
Brock and the Beast: The amount of strength it took squeeze a man of Carwin’s strength into submission scary at best. The Brock made it look routine …. like roping a calf; Cool Farmhand Luke style. Thanks to Carwin’s enablement. He had all but punched himself out in the first round after downing Lesnar. Otherwise the choke is not an easy move. If it was fighters would be using it left right and center to subdue irrepressible opponents. No, this arm triangle choke represented the brute, anaconda side of Lesnar – the side of him that crushes lesser fighters like a junkyard compactor. With this win, Lesnar distinguished himself as a freak. A virtual killer that other fighters should have a healthy respect for. He may not have the art of pugilism dialed up to the nth degree the way Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva and Shogun Rua have, but he is still Sasquatch in a land of Lilliputions, and one who can mete predictable beat-downs to specialists like Mir, Velasquez and Dos Santos. Randy Couture had it right the first time he called it:
“My striking’s not bad either,” he said. “That’s a big SOB (Lesnar weighed in at 265 but will be rehydrated to around 280 at fight time; Mir weighed in at 245). Those are big canned hams coming at your head. I don’t care how good you are. That’s a lot of man and a lot of strength to go toe-to-toe with. You’ve got to try to tie him up and get inside his punches to deal with him. I still think it’s a bad idea no matter how good you are to just stand in front of a guy that big.” (Randy Couture to Mike Chiappeta, MMA Fan House)
Lesnar came into UFC 116 with nary a standup game and got baptized by Carwin’s fire. When he survived the flames, thanks in part to the fastidiousness of the referee who didn’t stop the fight when he very well could have, Lesnar came out stronger in the second round to prove his physical mettle to all his doubters. This is a man who – warts and all – deserves his heavyweight at this point in time. The mental and physical toughness he exhibited clearly proved that he deserves a place amongst made warriors of this sport.
UFC 116 was a watershed event full of revelations that will serve Lesnar, Carwin and the rest of this sport well. We will count them one by one into the night, starting with the one that was burning our craniums:
1. The Chin Factor: Brock Lesnar may not have a passable stand-up game against a comparably endowed giant, but he sure can take a punch – in this case many punches. The punches that brought Lesnar down and then rained on him like sandbags with rocks were not from Lyoto Machida, but one of UFC’s baddest sluggers: Shane Carwin. Surviving those spoke volumes about Lesnar’s ability to be knocked without being knocked out. Being knocked down doesn’t matter – fighters fall for all kinds of reason some of which have little to do with mortal danger.
The notable coincidence in this fight was that Brock Lesnar was able to take the ground and pounding (from Carwin) that Lesnar himself unleashed for paydirt on Frank Mir in UFC 100. The thing that stunned people was the way he was able to spring up from the canvas with authority and then pin a gassed Carwin against the cage for the remainder of the first round. Lesser men would not have been able to get up from that barrage. Period. Remember Frank Mir buckling from Carwin’s upper cuts and never being able to get up?
2. The Contender Factor: As much as Brock Lesnar proved his mettle tonight, he did not do it to the point of eliminating Carwin as a rematch challenge prospect. Put another way, its not a far-fetched notion that Carwin could have “won” the fight tonight. As a matter of fact there is a case that can cogently made that Lesnar was perhaps “saved” by the gumption of referee Josh Rosenthal. But beyond that, a slight tweaking of strategy on the part of Carwin might have led to a different result. Better attack pacing might have left Carwin with more “gas” in his tank to punch out Lesnar, or fight off his holds with more authority. Notice that Carwin was fresh, he was easily able to get off the ground even with Lesnar trying to mug him.
3. Baptism By Fire Factor: There is a reason Brock Lesnar came into the second round grinning like a tike who had just broken into a candy store. He knew he could survive the best that Carwin could throw at him. He had just been baptized and he relished it like Mafia soldier who had just been made. It was his time to smile. Carwin had just had his chance before the fight.
This baptism by Carwin fire does not bode well for lesser monsters from the UFC’s octagonal menagerie. Read that Cain Velasquez et al. A Lesnar who has tasted the leather under heavy manners and lived to tell the tale is bad, bad news for everyone except those who can muster the cajones out-Lesnar him - and there isn’t one on the horizon yet. Sorry. And the strengthening of Lesnar’s boxing chops and possible addition of a B.J.J. edge to already prodigious wrestling chops will just slam the door in the face of many contenders for the next couple of years.
4. The League Factor: Frank Mir is now totally out of the running. Reasoning – If Lesnar mauled Mir to within an inch of his life once, then turned around and dominated a Shane Carwin who also mauled him, where does that leave Frank? Don’t answer that. Lets just talk about fighting leagues.
5. The Watershed Event Factor: Brock Lesnar, barring some unknown event, will probably not be unseated in the next three years. He has proved that beyond the sudden emergence of some other fighter more freaky than him, he will dominate the UFC heavyweight division for at least the next 1095 days. Reason, there is noone in current contention except Shane Carwin, who can mount a credible challenge to Brock “The Brock” Lesnar. Not Cain Velasquez. Not Junior “JDS” Dos Santos. Sorry guys. Refer to the league factor above. Nothing personal.
Short of Carwin, the UFC would have to cast its nets far and wide to find credible contenders for Brock Lesnar. This means trawling the trenches from whence Lesnar came and searching for contenders from every corner of the globe. Yes. The globe – which means a lot of things among which is:
(a) The UFC has in one fell swoop gone international and thrown down in a manner that can make Brock Lesnar the American promotion’s international calling card and meal ticket. Exhibition matches anyone? And at this point real contenders would have to throw at the UFC someone way better than Fedor. Refer back to the league factor thingy.
(b) This win will turn out to be a pivotal event evolution wise for Brock Lesnar and global MMA. Our former post mentioned “The Ascent of Brock Lesnar” for very good reasons. Fighting a thug of Carwin’s stature and size was huge for Lesnar. Winning elevated him to a loftier pantheon on top of prodding him into newer directions of pugilistic development. Barring unforeseen events or developments, you will see a newer and improved fighter in Lesnar’s next out. ( Good luck to Velasquez – because he is gonna need it.) But the other side of this evolutionary impetus is that a summons has been sent for someone who will out-Lesnar Lesnar. And where the price is right someone is bound to emerge – sooner or later. All things being equal we give Lesnar about 3 years from now.
6. The Contender Factor II -The iron-clad case for Lesnar vs Carwin II: But the MMA world doesn’t really have to wait 3 years because Shane Carwin is here. On a good day and with a better strategy and improved cardio, Shane can beat Lesnar on any day of the week. Any day of the week.
As a matter of fact there is case to be made for this possibly having shades of the Machida vs Shogun I – the only difference being that this didn’t go to the judges because Lesnar had heft in the second round to bring the fight to a climactic end. If the two fight again, as they really should after Lesnar flattens Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos within the next 12 months or less – Lesnar would not have developed a defense to Carwin’s fists and ability to counter takedowns. (Remember Carwin got up very easily after Lesnar took him down early in the first found before he started gassing.)
With a retooling of the Engineer’s arsenal (cardio, flexibility and improved striking accuracy), Shane Carwin will have a much better chance of winning the second time around. Watch how the odds split right down the middle like the Red Sea when Lesnar vs Carwin II is announced.
It will be like a spiritual experience, and every bit as cathartic and edifying for MMA fandom as Machida vs Shogun was. Remember you heard it here first.
7. The Public Relations Factor: Inspite of Lesnar’s half-hearted attempt to turn a new page, persona-wise, he still has that WWE tic in him. The “I’m still the toughest S.O.B.” coda to what was supposed to be a Montel Williams speech, is a concession to that tic. But he clearly had something to say about the mental and emotional metamorphosis life enforces on hubris. “It’s not about me …. but my family, my doctors and my team …” sounded more magnanimous than “I might get on top of my wife tonight.”
“This isn’t about me tonight. It’s about my family, about my doctors, about my training partners, about my training staff. I am blessed by God. Ladies and gentleman, I stand before you a humble champion. I’m still the toughest SOB around, baby.” (Brock Lesnar post fight remarks in octagon)
Only Lesnar can put God and S.O.B. in the same breath without shuddering from the inherent dissonance if not the clashing attitudes represented therein.
Carwin Post-fight Statement: Meanwhile, Carwin who had to be checked out just to make sure he was alright after the fight has issued a full statement for his fans and all of MMA:
I appreciate the outpouring of support and everyone who showed up at The Foundation Room last night after the fight. You guys know how to make a man feel like a winner even on his lowest of days. I really do want to thank #TeamCarwin. You guys pushed me up this mountain and many of you have been with me for a long time. I will need your help to climb back to the top so I appreciate you standing by me.
The game plan last night was to be patient and let the fight come to you. When I had him in trouble the ref keep saying he was going to stop it and then towards the end of the 1st my body began to seize up. In between rounds I could not move my legs and had what felt like a whole body cramp. My cardio was fine but my body was not. What can you do? You have to stand up and face your opponent.
Heading into the second I knew I need to finish the fight or I was going to be in trouble. Much like the Champion he is I am sure Brock was thinking the same thing. I had zero take down defense as my legs were dead to me and the rest is as they say history.
Brock was a good guy through this entire fight. He did not talk a bunch of smack and he fought like a warrior. He did what he needed to do to keep his belt and that is what being a Champion is all about. I am going to have to claw my way back to the top but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I know I belong with the very best; all I need to do is prove it again.
Loosing is what happens on the way to winning. I will be back and better from the lessons learned in this fight.
Thank you to my Coaches, Sponsors, Manager, Family, Friends and Fans.
Shane Carwin (Shane Carwin Website)
To be continued …….
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Shane Carwin suffered from lactic acidosis in UFC 116 loss to Brock Lesnar (Tom Ngo, 5th Round)