Monthly Archives: August 2009

Lesnar Vs Carwin in UFC 106: The next step in the ascent of Brock Lesnar (Now rescheduled for UFC 116)


With the addition of UFC stalwarts Antonio Nogueira, Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin to the undercard of the historic matchup between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, UFC 106  is now shaping up to be more stacked than a corseted Dolly Parton in her glory days. Can you say Dana goes bongo?! Yes folks, for a change the UFC is pulling out all the stops and putting all its nutsacks in the  same bag. The Antonio Nogueira/Luis Cane fight, originally the headliner for UFC 105, would have single-handedly been a worthy undercard of UFC 106,  were it not for the return to the octagon of  Tito  “The Huntington Bad Boy” Ortiz.

So barring an act of God or Nature, the  Mandalay Bay will, come  November 18,  2009,  be seeing one of the biggest  fight in UFC history shored up by two great undercards: Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira who will be fighting Luis Cane and Tito Ortiz(16-6-1) who will be fighting Forrest Griffin (16-6-0).  Griffin, who will be hunting for some kind of redemption after a disastrous, no make that humiliating showing against Anderson “The Spider” Silva in UFC 101. He suddenly replaced UFC hall of famer, Mark Coleman for reasons that are not quite clear.

UFC 106 couldn’t have come sooner, because the few match-ups following UFC 100 have been darn unremarkable.  Filling gaps between major fights  with lackluster cards does little for the sport and nothing for the fans.  And talking about which,  UFC 104 with Machida vs Rua will just be another celebrated back-room brawl between Brazilian goombahs. And if you want a good measure of just how unexciting this fight is, check the Google search results and rankings  for the “Machida vs Rua” fight. It’s relatively underwhelming for a fight that is only 14 days away. This fight is falling through the cracks to some kind of  mental dead zone for reasons elaborated in  Why UFC 104 with Machida vs Jackson would have eclipsed UFC 100.  (Tsk tsk! to Dan White  for not sticking to the original Machida/Quinton Jackson commitment; the same he announced following UFC 98. The fight would have wowed the fans and made major bank for him and the Fertitta Brothers. And now in retrospect, diverting Quinton Jackson from the Machida-Jackson fight may have been a major boo-boo in light of what Jackson is now saying in the wake of his  resignation from the UFC.)

The little Machida/Rua sideshow will only be notable if Machida cements his new-fangled fame as the New Karate Kid writ large. If he loses, oh well, so much for piss toddies,  cat-paw strikes and the most nimble Ginger Rogers routine ever since that famous redhead, “pas de deuxed”  backwards  into history with Fred Astaire in tow.  But we digress as usual.

Shane Carwin - A long, long shot at upsetting Brock Lesnar and winning the UFC Heavyweight belt in Las Vegas at UFC 106. What then would Lesnar do? Get a job?

Shane Carwin - A long, long shot at upsetting Brock Lesnar and winning the UFC Heavyweight belt in Las Vegas at UFC 106. What then would Lesnar do? Get a job?

Shane Carwin (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is a hulking cyborg who demolishes opponents with techno-tronic precision. In UFC 106 (now rescheduled as UFC 116) he is slated to face Brock Lesnar (4-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC)  another certifiable cyborg who overwhelms his opponents with size, speed and ground and pound strength that make his opponents feel like sub-compacts in the jaws of a metal compactor. Which brings us to the significance of this fight – a pivotal sequel in the Brock Lesnar story. Note we are not saying anything about Shane Carwin at this point – because he is not gonna win this fight. Lesnar will. And  not necessarily in spectacular fashion – but  win The Brock will. (We will break down the rationale as the match approaches.) Those looking for an exciting fight will most probably be disappointed. Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin fights are thrilling in the same way that monster truck derbies are. Even the official Lesnar/Carwin promo video fails to rise up the pyrotechnic standard of  UFC promo videos because there is little to work with for starters.  You cannot manufacture technical brilliance like a video game programmer. Lesnar dusting off  Mir on the ground looks like a carpenter  trying to batten down a hatch.  Brock Lesnar’s mystique has more to do with his freakish chops and Shane Carwin’s record, with the exception of Gabriel Gonzaga, has been built on fighters who have been less than stellar in heavyweight pugilism. His ground game has sometimes been as exciting as a psych orderly trying to strap down an unruly patient.

The Brock: Ready, willing and able to defend his new-fangled heavyweight belt. Anyone betting against this guy has either too much disposable income or just doesn't know any better.

Brock "The Brock" Lesnar is a "fucker" who is used to getting his way. Anyone betting against this guy has either too much money on their hands or just clueless about Lesnar's "touchiness" about being belittled or made fun of. Yes, there is a big psyche angle to the Lesnar's drive to be "respected" - positively or negatively.

But with Brock Lesnar versus Shawn Carwin, UFC may be taking  a practical step towards sensible match-ups in a situation that is crying for as a first step  in the right direction by an organization that needs  more rationality in the heavyweight division.  Beyond this, it is the next biggest fight in a line-up of cards that have lacked real heft – the Lesnar-Mir showdown  excepted with lots of reservations.

Me Ze Brock. Whaddya think? Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 weigh-in. The quest for respect, beneath that unmoored boorishness, is real.

Me Ze Brock. Whaddya think? Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 weigh-in. The quest for respect, beneath that off kilter boorishness, is real.

Shane Carwin has the sangfroid of a Zen Master. On a personal level he is gonna be a winner going in and out of this fight, but that precludes the unified belt that he and Brock Lesnar are gonna be fighting for.  Good guys don’t always finish first and this, unfortunately,  is gonna apply to Shane in this case ….  unless he gets lucky with that  short right hand (as he did in the case of Gonzaga and Wellisch.)  He may well get lucky because  Lesnar may try to  go toe to toe with Carwin in a winner-takes-it-all bang-fest – at least in the opening encounter. (We would be seriously surprised if Lesnar tried to shoot without exchanging some blows first. Reason?  Every ground and pound hog longs to grow some  stand-up hairs on their balls. )

So the first round will probably see two hulking heavyweights not  renowned for  boxing chops trying to go toe to toe  like prize fighters of the World Boxing Association. Lesnar is not known for his knockout power  probably because of lack of technique and precision, but he has been known to knock goombahs down like bowling pins. Such is the raw power of the former South Dakota farm boy.

“He’s a baby. Don’t kick him because he’ll get hurt. He’s a hell of a wrestler man, the guy can wrestle and he’s strong, but he can’t punch and he can’t get kicked. And he don’t know how to kick. He can only go straight forward.” (Loud-mouth, Tim Sylvia on ESPN Radio)

Anything can happen in a stand-up lollapalooza,  including the knockout of Carwin by a lucky shot from Lesnar.  And if anyone could test Lesnar’s chin at this point, it would have to be Carwin. The question is can Carwin overcome the 3-inch reach deficit and Lesnar’s own elusive antsyness to land the big one that will fell Brock the  Giant (which would make Shane the Giant Killer)? It is possible but highly unlikely. Lesnar, who has never been really, really rocked on tape, is gonna be extra antsy and careful going into this one. (Watch Lesnar’s antsy footwork.) As a matter of fact the caution may be such that the two pachyderms  will be roundly booed in the first round before finally deciding to lock  trunks under crowd duress.

Both are strong, but Lesnar has the edge in the raw strength/power department. Even the size and muscularity differential is visually persuasive.  Some fans/analysts even argue that Lesnar may be stronger in the upper body arena than Carwin. So the strength/power advantage, especially on the ground, goes to Lesnar ….  hence our prediction and the trending odds.

The Odds, The Odds, The Odds!: The Bookers, the fans & the collective ear pressed flush against the ground

The odds are trending towards our prediction at about 68 to 32% for Lesnar. Love him or hate him, these are  the  numbers which may change with time, but we doubt that they will fluctuate by much. The moneyline odds are as follows:

Brock Lesnar -215 (This means that for every $215 you bet, you stand to win $1oo if Brock Lesnar wins. This makes Brock Lesnar the favorite. You are betting or risking more than you stand to win.)

Shane Carwin +175 (This means for every $100 you bet, you stand to win $175 if Carwin wins. This makes Carwin the underdog. You are betting or risking less than you stand to win. The catch is the likeliness of your guy winning though.)

You can convert any moneyline  of the Lesnar/Carwin odds to the 68/32 % probability at the Money Line Converter here.

Beyond the booking halls, no substantive cross section of fans is giving this fight to Carwin overall. Trust the unbiased collective wisdom here and if you are gonna bet, don’t bet the family farm or wedding ring against Lesnar.

The Factors: Motivation

Brock Lesnar has way more to lose in this fight than Shane Carwin because of his higher profile, title and his decision to play the heel in an organization that has never celebrated such.  If Shane loses, he falls back on his mining job and engineering degree. The same cannot be said of Lesnar. If Lesnar loses his heavyweight belt in UFC 106, he would have lost something even more precious than money; his sheen of invincibility and mantle of manifest destiny in the UFC. We at Cyberaxis seriously doubt that Lesnar would be content with being just another lumbering hack fighting in the heavyweight division after what he did at UFC 100: namely flipping everybody off. Psychologically this created a different dynamic between him and MMA fandom. This dynamic is why the home crowd effect, is for better or worse  a big factor in the outcome of the games. The  halting  steps Lesnar took in his first fights were cemented in UFC 100. The newest boy on the MMA block  had shown signs of wanting to court MMA. However with UFC 100, he  slammed the door to that and became an unabashed heel with foam dripping out of his mouth. That was a momentous turn that some dismissed as a predetermined plot line. It was not. With proper guidance, Brock  Lesnar could have blazed a different path in MMA – and one which could have been easier for him, mentally, emotionally,  and perhaps financially in the long run.

The other reason Brock Lesnar has more to lose has to do with how or when he left pro wrestling. In case you have forgotten, Lesnar left WWE  pro wrestling at a time he was poised to be  the next big thing in McMahon’s stable. Did he get a pay cut? You bet.  And for a pipe dream that was far from guaranteed. So when Lesnar takes to the octagon on November 11, (now July 3rd, 2010)  he will be fighting for more than his reputation. Not so the behemoth from Boulder.

The  Chin Factor

We know a little about the chin of Carwin because he got tested by someone who knows a little about knocking hombres out. (See the Carwin vs Gonzaga here.)

Not so much the Monster from Minnesota. Noone inside or outside the UFC has ever tested the chin of Brock Lesnar (at least as far as we know.)  Noone with the right critical mass that is, because it takes  a substantive amount of critical mass to breach Lesnar’s size, frenzied defence and  81″ reach – which is one of the things that stumped Randy Couture when they met in UFC 91.  If anyone can do it this time, it would have to be   Shane Carwin because he has the critical mass (262lbs to Brock Lesnar’s regulation 265lbs) even though Carwin’s  reach,  at 78″,  falls 3 inches short of Lesnar’s.  The reach advantage is not insurmountable for a guy who has the strength, critical mass and  knockout chops of Shane Carwin. What this says is that when all other things are held fairly constant,  size does indeed matter, and Shane does indeed have it. The question is; will he be able to penetrate Lesnar’s offensive and evasive defense? (Watch Lesnar’s antsy foot work and tell us if he is gonna be an easy target to hit – his  size notwithstanding.)

Stay tuned for more thoughts as the fight draws near.

Dolly Parton, UFC 106 and Bongo Boobs

What does Dolly Parton and UFC 106 have in common? Read on cowboy, read on ;)

Now, what does Dolly Parton and UFC 106 have in common? Well, read on cowboy, read on 😉 Right from the top. Did we say TOP? Heh heh!Yes, I guess we did 🙂

Update:

Lesnar “Mirs” Carwin and submits him by a freakish arm triangle choke at UFC 116 (Cyberaxis)

Catastrophic Illness!: Does this mean the end of Brock Lesnar’s UFC career? (Cyberaxis)

Humbled Lesnar returns to UFC spotlight by Dan Wentzel (Yahoo)

Appendices:

Dana White targeting UFC 116 for Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin title-unification bout (Dan Stupp, MMA Junkie)

Postponement of Lesnar vs Carwin by two months to UFC 108 will benefit Carwin (Cyberaxis)

Mutual friend: Ron Waterman handicaps Shane Carwin-Brock Lesnar

Lesnar vs Carwin: Battle of the Behemoths

Nine reasons Brock Lesnar will beat Shane Carwin at UFC 106

The PR Deck Against Brock Lesnar in Mixed Martial Arts (Cyberaxis)

How to bet on UFC fights (MMA Betting Blog)

Moneyline Converter (Online Gambling Network)

copyright© 2009 cyberaxis.wordpress.com

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin – The Microsoft Story And The Future Of Computing: Select readings from the net


Is It Ballmer’s Fault by Matt Asay

Microsoft is in significant disarray, fettered by its desktop dominance as the world goes mobile. Would this have happened anyway, or is Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to blame?

Ballmer, after all, knows how to sing to developers, but he doesn’t really speak their language. Former Microsoft CEO and co-founder Bill Gates did. Now, more than ever, Microsoft needs to get in front of developers but finds itself playing catch-up.

Gates announced his resignation back in 2006 and formally discarded his full-time Microsoft duties in 2008. But it has been a long time since Gates’ hand was full time on the steering wheel. (Matt Asay,  The Open Road – CNET News)

Mark Anderson to Microsoft: Your consumer business is dead by John Cook

Microsoft Is Losing Fight for Consumers, Analyst Says by Steve Lohr

“Except for gaming, it is ‘game over’ for Microsoft in the consumer market,” he said. “It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.” (Mark Anderson)

If Microsoft loses in smartphones, Mr. Anderson noted, “It is pretty grim. Those applications are going to move upstream.”

The underlying problem, Mr. Anderson said, is cultural. “Phones are consumer items, and Microsoft doesn’t have consumer DNA,” he said.

“Walk the halls at Microsoft and you can see it is not a place that gets consumers,” Mr. Anderson said. “Just as if you walk the halls at Google, it’s obvious it is not a place that gets the enterprise world.” ( Steve Lohr, The New York Times – Technonogy)

The End of the Microsoft Empire? by Alex Salkever

The abysmal quarter reported last week by Microsoft was hardly a one-time occurrence. While Redmond may bounce back somewhat in the future, a host of headwinds makes a return to dominance highly unlikely for the software giant.

“… The sun is clearly setting on the Age of Microsoft as the pre-eminent software company in the world. Shareholders have known this for a while.” (Alex Salkever, July 27, 2009)

Putting Lipstick On Microsoft’s Pigs by Philip Elmer-DeWitt

“Microsoft has always touted itself as an innovator,” Wolf begins in a section entitled The Sincerest Form of Flattery. “But the company’s true genius has stemmed from its ability to copy the ideas of others.” (Charles Wolf as quoted by Philip Elmer-DeWitt)

The Second Clone War by Gerry Patterson

“Much of Microsoft’s marketing power depends on its perceived market dominance, or leadership, which is the term the corporation now prefers. If the the customer base, or more correctly consumers perceive that the desktop village is just a one-horse town, and that horse is stabled in Redmond, then of course, an individual consumer would be unwise to purchase anything but Microsoft products. This is an effect which could be termed the VHS principle, in deference to the Video Wars. And it all depends on perceived market share. If Microsoft shows the slightest concern about Open Source, however, the tiny cracks in the dam may widen rapidly.” (Gerry Patterson)

The Future Looks Bright for Microsoft? by Gerry Patterson

“Is the future bright for Microsoft? It would certainly seem so. However, there may be some dark clouds looming on that bright horizon.” (Gerry Patterson)

A Future Without Microsoft by Tony Mobily

“Regardless of how much hype Microsoft creates, the world still runs on Unix—and most of those servers are GNU/Linux machines. Your Netgear router has Linux in it. Your Internet provider is very likely to be running on GNU/Linux servers. So is your office. It’s a little hard to come by hard numbers, because anybody can download CentOS and deploy a top-class server in minutes. Each GNU/Linux server has stolen market share to the proprietary, expensive Windows NT—and Microsoft is immensely unlikely to get that market back.” (Tony Mobily)

Platform Wars: The Clone Wars by Tim Oren

“IBM counted on the power of its marketing, distribution, and reputation with customers to force these changes through. IBM lost its bet, badly.” (Tim Oren)

The New Microsoft PC Ads: As Fake As Lauren’s Red Hair

“Microsoft cannot expect people to buy Lauren’s argument without insulting their intelligence at some level. There are more factors (that go into buying a laptop than mere price. These include Microsoft’s product history and its  most recent  egg, the Vista operating system. Microsoft should be dealing with that instead of churning out lame ads …
“Right next to reinventing itself from the guts, the Microsoft needs to sever its marketing and advertising arm along with crappy ad agencies  like McCann Erickson Worldwide,  and Crispin Porter + Bogusky…. With a $300 million, budget, Microsoft  could have done way better. The CNN Money/ Fortune assumption that this lame campaign has put Apple on the defensive is terminally silly.” (Cyberaxis)

**

Microsoft in 2010: Four Challenges That Lie Ahead by Shane O’neill

CIO – When you’re a technology mongrel like Microsoft, challenges are constant – and 2009 was chock full of them. It was a tumultuous year that saw the software giant’s first widespread layoffs and its worst quarterly revenue earnings ever.

“If Microsoft delays much longer on producing a decent mobile platform with software, services and partners,” says veteran industry analyst Roger Kay, “then it will be out of the game.”

Microsoft’s Long Slow Decline by John Gruber

“Windows is at the core of everything Microsoft does that makes money. They sell Windows, then they sell software that runs on Windows. As Windows goes, so goes Microsoft, and right now Windows is heading south.” (John Gruber)