Tag Archives: the Brock

10 Reasons Brock Lesnar Will Beat Shane Carwin at UFC 116


Brock De Beast: Just look at that neck and tell us if Carwin will be able to snap it.

Brock De Beast: Just look at that neck and tell us if Carwin will be able to snap it with his celebrated "short right".

Forget the  over-hyped froth of UFC fights of yesteryear because they are just mere whimpers before the big bang of  Lesnar vs Carwin at UFC 116 and “Ordo Novus Seclorum.”  MMA time-space is about to unfurl, like universes coming into being.  Worlds collide.  Fans watch with bated breath,  not because Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin are pound-for-pound the best fighters in all of MMA,  but because they are the biggest and baddest mofos to ever traverse the octagon at that scale of magnification.  That mass. That weight. Word.

“When two elephants fight, the grass gets hurt.” Old, old, West African proverb

Their form, unadorned,  dwarfs anything the  imagination throws at it.  Mere mortals – figurative Willy Lomans – shudder at the thought of encountering such  behemoths beyond anything other than a friendly exchange.  (God forbid that any one of them would have to defend their ladies’ honor against such behemoths at the local watering hole.)  Such is the insidious  cachet of heavyweights the world over. They make men squirm in their relative piddliness.

The UFC Fumble: The only match-up that would have rivaled the Lesnar-Carwin card would have been the promised Machida-Jackson matchup; the same  that never materialized because of UFC fumbling. But we digress.

Beyond Sophistry – A Caveat: Brock’s illness and its possible after-effects are the big unknowns in this coming contest. Nobody knows how Brock will come out of his post surgery recovery. So put a big asterisk to what we are saying here, and next to it note that this article was originally written when Brock was high-flying, fresh off his pummeling of Frank Mir at UFC 100. So if everything that was fact then continues to hold going into UFC 116, then our predictions then hold the same weight. Just a statement of realistic reassessment versus the crafty means of creating an out for ourselves should Lesnar end up being road kill for Carwin. So with that out of the way, here is a recapitulation of what we wrote back on September 21, 2009.

Shane De Behemoth: Will he be tough enough for The Brock?

Shane De Behemoth, trying to look scary: He is a rock solid cyborg from top to bottom, but will he be tough enough to rock "The Brock"? We doubt it, and we are rarely wrong.

The end of Shane Carwin’s winning streak is nigh: Shane Carwin will not necessarily be Brock Lesnar’s road kill come UFC 116, but lose to The Brock  he will.  Our prediction is that it will be by a stoppage in the  first or second round. The end will come via Lesnar’s  ground-and-pound,  most probably near the edge of the octagon. (We know Frank Mir will be reliving this one from the pit of his stomach.) Lesnar will use his weight and massiveness to smother and snuff out Carwin when he is not making visible dents in his skull. But “tranquilo, tranquilo“;  we are jumping ahead of ourselves here.

Ten reasons Lesnar will win UFC 116: The other tale o’ the tape:

1. Carwin is hungry, but Lesnar is hungrier …. with a hunger that transcends Abraham Maslow.  Define and discuss.

2. Carwin can afford to lose this fight.  Lesnar cannot.  (His ego is now more pumped up than his form during WWE.) Bottomline is that Brock has way more to lose than Shane, especially after flippin’ off the fans at UFC 100. The battle is now up close and personal. Brock against the diehard aficionados  of MMA who still think of him as a WWE beef-cake writ extra large for UFC.

3. Carwin, “The Engineer” will come in with a cerebral bent and Lesnar will go “gangsta”  on his ass …. Well as much as a Minnesota boy who talks of ramming horse-shoes up opponents’ bung-holes can.  Thinking that Carwin can come into the octagon and out-dirty-box Lesnar is just plain silly. Look for pummeling that may push the limits of  UFC/MMA regulations in this fight as one tries to out-do the other. Keep a close eye on Lesnar especially when he looks like he may be losing control of the fight. This would be the cue to go primal – hard-wired to trip in extremis.  Lesnar  will only be cautious until he sees an opening. Then he will explode on Carwin’s ass  like Machida on Evans.  What Lesnar lacks in chops, he more than makes up for in adrenaline that is 99% proof.

4. Carwin has octagonal scruples to fret about. Lesnar doesn’t. A variation of point #3.

5. Carwin has to muster the froth and foam with which to put away his opponents: the quality otherwise knows as the killer instinct.  Lesnar’s emanate out of the humors of  “fear and loathing”. Variations of points #3 and 4.

6. Carwin is a gentleman. Lesnar is a thuggish meat-head. (See points # 3, 4 and 5). He doesn’t like people booing or making fun of him. Nobody does, but Lesnar takes it one step further. How did he get this way? Well, that is a  story for another day children.

7. Carwin is strong, but Lesnar is stronger and more explosive and with a hair-trigger reflex to boot, especially in the opening rounds (See points #3 & #5, especially #3). Carwin is as sluggish as Mir. His saving grace is “the power and the glory” he packs in that short right hand.  And all of God’s people said amen.

8. Lesnar hath the mass …. and conceit of mass on top of everything his mama gave him.  We will explicate. Mass does not necessarily lead to power. Frank Mir’s home gym experiment (pre-Carwin) was proof of that. However mass on top of power, naturally bequeathed,  is an attribute most animals, including those running half-naked in the octagon, have a problem dealing with.  In the staged face-off between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin at the end of UFC 111, Lesnar was looking down and Carwin was looking up, just like Frank Mir before him. But we really have to contextualize this. The height difference is about an inch – with Lesnar being the slightly taller. See pic below. But the walk-around weight is where Lesnar dominates at 300 plus pounds versus Carwin in the 280 plus pounds vicinity. So when these guys pile it on after the weigh-in, Lesnar is strutting around like an Atlas. Then there is the musculature beneath the visible mass. Noone can seriously argue that Carwin is stronger.  Q.E.D.

Shane Carwin is  a 6’2″ cyborg who walks around at 275lbs to 280lbs and cuts weight to fight at 265lbs.  Lesnar walks around at about 300lbs and gravitates back towards that weight after the 265lbs weigh-in for a fight. So off the top you have a 20lb walk-around weight differential coupled with a visible size differential which analysts have attributed to a mass distribution anomaly.  Carwin is a solid chunk of a man to Lesnar’s Chicken Little lower body topped off by an Incredible Hulk upper body. (Cyberaxis)

Lesnar - Carwin UFC 116 Weigh In Comp Shot

Lesnar vs Carwin: The UFC 116 weigh-in showing the marginal difference in height (about 1 inch), but there is the not-so-fictional illusion that Brock is bigger. The upper body musculature, neck and normal walk-around weight really make it less of an illusion.See note above. (Photo: Zuffa LLC)

9. Lesnar has the Mike Tyson thing going for him (before Buster Douglas busted his chops) and the UFC just has yet to put someone in front of him that will not be intimidated by his record and flashes of what he has done to every fighter he has fought – yes, including Mir in  UFC 81.   Fans and self-styled analysts have it right: With the exception of Gonzaga, (and Mir as of 03/27/10) Carwin has really fought a bunch of nobodies, which really makes him perhaps two and zero (2-0) in substantive as opposed to nominal stats. But also to be really fair, this kind of makes him like Lesnar before  Mir in UFC 81 and Heath Herring in UFC 87.

10. Carwin seems to be very guarded about his chances of winning this thing. Lesnar is not. Victory is a  fait accompli even as Carwin hems and haws. Caution versus arrogance? Perhaps, but highly unlikely. Carwin’s hedgy talk is reminiscent of Evans’ in the weeks leading to the disastrous near-decapitation  of his noggin at UFC 98.  We trust Carwin’s sixth sense here. We meticulously  deconstructed Frank Mir’s body language prior to UFC 100 and were right on the money as usual. Wanna know where we did it? Well, you will have to beg children.

The Brock In Training For Carwin – UFC 106:

Check back on July 3rd, 2010 before midnight  for a post-script of UFC 116 and our long-standing prediction.  For the record, we called Mir vs Carwin for Carwin without as much as a blink. The undercard could be stronger, but noone is really paying to see the undercard.

copyright© 2009 cyberaxis.wordpress.com

Appendices:

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

Lesnar vs Carwin set for UFC 116 on July 3rd, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV (Cyberaxis)

Lesnar vs Carwin in UFC 106: The next step in the ascent of Brock Lesnar (Cyberaxis)

Open Challenge to Brock Lesnar: Stand up and deliver at UFC 116 and begin to earn the respect of MMA (Cyberaxis)

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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

The PR deck against Brock Lesnar in Mixed Martial Arts


Beyond collegiate wrestling, Brock Lesnar has always been something of a square peg in a round hole; way too physical for WWE pro wrestling but less than stellar for Mixed Martial Arts pugilism. His hyper-physicality in pro-wrestling was scary and always on the edge of bruising realism. Watch some of the clips spliced into this ESPN interview and you will see how dangerous some of his moves, pro-training or not, were.  Had he stayed in pro wrestling, chances are  he could have seriously hurt or killed somebody. Says a perceptive poster in the hornet’s nest that is Youtube:

“Lesnar was a liability in the wrestling ring. He injured people on basic moves. He was too green to the pro wrestling circuit. Yes, he had a good amateur background, but pro wrestling is different …  He was a modern version of the ultimate warrior, period. He had potential but……” Moparfan16201 (Youtube)

So Lesnar’s decision to join MMA, where the fighting is honest-to-goodness and almost bare-knuckle  made a lot of sense, even though characterizes it in his ESPN interview as writing his  story backwards from entertainment to serious fighting instead of the other way around. The belief that he could cut it in the octagon was therefore not without foundation.

But once Lesnar made that decision, the first thing he should have done was hire an image consultant and an MMA guru to rid him of that WWE patina and shepherd his career up the slippery slope.  Why? Because in the cultish underground that is still MMA, professional wrestling is a four-letter word and as far from Mixed Martial Arts as the earth is from Mars. MMA fans are reflexively repulsed by the the booger-flicking shenanigans of pro wrestling stars. With very few exceptions, they even scoff at boxing as a corrupt and over-regulated sham of a show.

The Brock: Always a commanding physical presence, pre UFC 87.

The Brock: Always a commanding physical presence, before his rope-a-dope tussle with Heath Herring in UFC 87. Will he ever be the poster boy for Dana White's flagship?

Lesnar had everything going for him, including an all-American rags to riches story.  Brought up in Webster, South Dakota a small town near Minnesota of less than 2000 people, Lesnar  had the ready-made All-American tale of a boy who grew up on a struggling prairie farm in foreclosure on the edge of the West. His upbringing was pretty typical until he began to distinguish himself in high school football and wrestling  which paved the way to division one NCAA championships before Vince McMahon of WWE fame came calling with wads of cash. The fame and fortune of the WWE proved was offset by certain unpalatable aspects of life on the road.   A failed trial stint with the Minnesota Vikings 2004 eventually led Lesnar to Dana White and UFC’s door in 2007. After about three fights later with the pounding of Heath Herring in UFC 87 and Randy Couture in UFC 91, Lesnar was officially in, the controversies about how he got his  shot at the heavyweight title notwithstanding.

Mission one for Brock Lesnar at that point would have been to keep his mouth shut like the dumb half of Penn & Teller. He did not do that as it wasn’t quite his nature. He was mildly booed at one of the fights. Mission two would have been to keep a low, self-deprecating profile. He did not quite pull that one off either. Doing what is antithetical to his  WWE genes and touchy disposition,  would have placed him in great PR position in addition to creating catnip for the press. Yes, there are a lot of blow-hards in MMA like Tito Ortiz, but they do have insider creds earned in the blood and grit of the octagon. (Now come to think of it, Tito would be the perfect replacement for Lesnar in the WWE wrestling, wouldn’t he? ;))

Brock Lesnar’s yellow brick road to heavyweight gold: The question of how Lesnar got a shot at the heavyweight title belt after beating a couple of nobody’s has never been satisfactorily answered. It thus continues to taint his championship as much as his WWE pedigree has done. No matter how many “towel baths” he takes, the vestigial funk remains beneath the splashed on fragrance. Forget about his collegiate wrestling genes, because they did little to mold his ring persona in the WWE. And if all that was just acting, why is his octagonal persona turning out to be a villainous version of the thug he was in WWE? MMA fans are not making him do it because Lesnar is an adult on a stage that does not require WWE theatrics. The truth of the matter is that his collegiate wrestling genes have done nothing to keep him  grounded in the UFC. Could the truth be that there was always a little thug (also know as a “heel”) inside Brock even through those collegiate years? Well, the truth of the matter is that Lesnar has never made any secret of the kick he gets out of manhandling others and his touchiness and the scraps he got into during his brief stint with the Vikings are not classified information.

The octagon is the last place one would  look for character or character quirks. Be that as it may, the way in which fighters present themselves  is definitely a legitimate subject for discussion.  There is certainly a point at which playing “the heel” persona reaches a point of diminishing returns, if and when things don’t careen out of control before that. UFC 100 was one such event. The Q.E.D. is in the post-fight apology given by Brock Lesnar for his reprehensible conduct.

The other point of Lesnar’s P.R. hurdle is that no matter how big Lesnar gets, there will always be some asterisk next to how he captured the heavyweight title  in the first place when there was a long list of more deserving fighters (who could have fought Couture in UFC 91.) This speaks to the integrity of the process and how money-driven decisions are. At some point there is an inverse relationship between the business and what passes for “sport”, and to say that it doesn’t matter is as dumb as saying that sports is all that matters.

The Other Pachyderm In The Room: But having said all of that let us look at the other side of the coin with a non-jaundiced eye. The Lesnar controversy may very well be  MMA fans refusing to take their coffee enema. In that connection here is some food for thought: When a WWE star comes into the UFC under current rules and grabs the so-called undisputed heavyweight title within the short space of 4 fights, what does that say about  MMA and its hallowed fighters? … Or the WWE and its sun-tanned “showboats”?

You sleep on that and call us in the morning. But lest you develop a headache, the key to the dilemma caused by the Lesnar situation lies in splitting the heavyweight division with guys like Lesnar falling into the super heavyweight division. (The 45lb difference in the case of Lesnar vs Couture, was, all things almost being equal, unconscionable. And the 20lb difference in the case of Lesnar vs Mir falls into a gray area that ought to be vigorously debated.)

Brock Lesnar: The William’s sisters effect – The surface irony in all of this is that Brock Lesnar will do to the UFC heavyweight division what the Williams sisters did to women’s professional tennis by merging size and physical prowess with skill. After the Williams sisters, women’s tennis was never the same. After Brock Lesnar, the UFC’s heavyweight division will never be the same.

The most perceptive article following the Lesnar/Couture fight was written by Franklin McNeil of the Star-Ledger in Newark. Couture’s quoted comments in that article were succinct and to the point:

“[The division] is getting stronger and stronger,” Couture said. “Brock is a great indication of where the division is going. “Guys aren’t just big anymore, they’re very good athletes. … There are a lot of good guys in the division now.”

UFC 100 which brings Lesnar back  into the octagon against Frank Mir, the only man to hand him a defeat in MMA, will be eagerly anticipated but the out-come will be foregone unless Mir comes out in serious shape multiplied by an exponent of two. Guys like Mir represent the best of MMA’s roots, but unless the divisions are further split up by weight, the day will always belong to fast moving ground-and-pound hulks like Lesnar.

The  Tell-Tale Tale of Body Language: An interesting aside as you watch Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir is the ESPN post victory interview following the Lesnar/Couture fight: Watch the verbal-cum-body language exchanges between Lesnar and Mir carefully. You will  see that beyond Mir’s neutral role as co-interviewer, he is really conceding a lot of  physical and symbolic space to Lesnar like the marginal player he is in danger of becoming.  Lesnar, on his part, is hogging it and giving little or nothing back. This has to do with what the two say, how the say it and the extent to which they turn to acknowledge the other.  For someone who had tusseled mano-a-mano with Lesnar, Mir didn’t have to defer to Lesnar that much. Even though this was not a weigh-in or a pre-fight stare down, Mir could have still projected himself  as an equal, if not more deserving holder of the heavy weight title. But we could possibly  be mis-reading Frank Mir’s unassuming Mr. Nice Guy persona here. But we seriously doubt it.

That said, there is an undeniable Brock Lesnar effect that every heavyweight contender now has to deal with. In that sense the upcoming Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir will shape itself up as another David vs Goliath tussle, with Goliath pummeling little David into the ground in zero time. Unless Lesnar decides to pace himself, unlike  in UFC 81 where he made a “fatal” mistake, the fight is gonna be another 60 seconds of ground and pound that won’t add much to MMA lore. And it is gonna be this way until a SKILLED fighter of  greater or equal physical stature  finds the many chinks in Lesnar’s armor.  Remember Chuck “the Iceman” Liddel who dominated the octagon in a brief shining moment between UFC 47 in 2004 and UFC 66 in 2006? Well, he had a chink in his armor and Randy Couture, Rampage Jackson, “Sugar” Rashad Evans and  Mauricio “Shogun” Rua found it. In Chuck Liddel’s case it was a combination of being a one trick pony (heavy striker with no chin and unorthodox hands down stance) with a rumored knack for partying that some said would catch up with him sooner than later. Injuries of the MCL and a middle finger in UFC 66 with Tito Ortiz further etched the writing on the wall for the Iceman.

The chink in Brock Lesnar’s armor is simply this: If you take away his size, weight,  freakish strength and  speed, you don’t have much left. The only attribute that approximates skill in that line up is speed, and that alone, doth not a superior fighter make.

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Appendices:

Brock Lesnar Should Not Be The UFC Heavyweight Champ (Tim Scribe, The Bleacher Report)

Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture makes a mockery of its billing as the biggest fight in UFC history


Brock Lesnar, new UFC heavyweight champion.

The Brock: Brock Lesnar, new UFC heavyweight champion. Big fists, big & bigger expectations. How will he be accepted by MMA hard core fans?

For better or worse, Brock Lesnar is built like a cartoon action hero; with the down side being that people expect him to move like one too. So when he moves cautiously and tentatively as was the case in last night’s title fight against Randy Couture, he ends up looking like a dud, even in victory. This is exactly what happened at the much hyped and curiously anticipated UFC 91 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV last night (Nov. 15, 2008).

Lesnar’s “victory” came in at 3.07 minutes of round two after a glancing blow to the head (behind Couture’s left ear) brought the aging champion down.
Lesnar moved in on the supine Couture with a series of awkward one-handed chops to the face which led the referee to jump in and stop the fight.

This sudden end did nothing to spice up a fight which had been characterized more by droll clinches than by brilliant punches or holds. (Even the lack-luster under-card produced more thrilling moments than the ballyhooed marquee event. That is just how bad things were last night.) What will forever stick in my mind is the picture of a suddenly energized Lesnar, frantically and awkwardly wailing on Couture with the edge of his hand like a school girl. Like they say down in Texas, “It darn wa’rnt pretty that pi’ture.”

Still a legend in the eyes of MMA stalwarts.

Randy Couture: Still a legend in the eyes of MMA stalwarts.

Colonial, a fan at MMA Fanhouse describes these strikes as “cheesy little hammerfists haven’t knocked anyone out yet. He looks like he is hitting for points rather than damage most of the time.

Lesnar walked away with the belt, but not the aura of the man he had just defeated. The fight was not what the peanut gallery had paid to see ….. Definitely not the stuff of its wet dreams.

Monsieur Couture, au contraire, walked away a winner just for standing up to a brute who was supposed to pound him into the ground and wipe the octagon with his blood. He has nothing to be ashamed of concerning his showing in this contest. If anything, he proved that MMA has a cadre of technicians – erstwhile custodians of skills and values that transcend brute force. The old lion had to contend with a size and age differential of 50 pounds and 14 years respectively. The 15-month break from fighting was probably the least of Couture’s disadvantages because , as he said in his post-fight interview, his training was as close to the real deal as anyone could get outside the actual octagon.

Meanwhile, smarmy Dana White has a problem to contend with. If he was looking for a new poster boy for hi the heavyweight division, he struck out last night because Brock Lesnar ain’t it. He may have the pumped-up pecs for it, but he sorely lacks the style and substance to be “The One” in the way Chuck Liddell perhaps was. Love or hate Chuck’s one trick schtick, he put most of his opponents away with a pizazz that lent a lot “schizzle” to MMA in general and UFC in particular.

The fact of the matter is that Lesnar now has an element of the Mike Tyson problem after Buster Douglas bust his chops and Evander Holyfield exposed his vulnerabilities. The aura of presumed invincibility left Lesnar the day Frank Mir put a sneaky leg lock on him and the Heath Herring drew him out into a rope-a-dope snoozer of a fight. Lesnar has come to be the MMA equivalent of a Shaquille O’Neal; a man who wins games but doesn’t have what it takes to be the quintessential symbol of the NBA a la Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Kevin Garnet. The same Shaq who is as famous for winning games for his team is also known as for tossing bricks at the free-throw line.(Remember “hack a Shaq“?) Barring some mercurial transformation of his chops (no pun intended), Lesnar seems destined for that checkered reputation; i.e. being valued more for his heft than his sharpness. It’s not good enough for what Dana White has in mind for his flagship organization, and it certainly isn’t good enough for what Lesnar traded in when he left the WWE ring.

Meanwhile Randy has some thinking to do. Noone who saw him last night thought he didn’t have one or two fights left in him. However with so much new talent coming into the UFC/MMA, he needs to be plotting a more dignified exit before he encounters his own Ken Shamrock or Royce Gracie moment.

Lesnar pounds on a prone Couture after a blow behind left ear felled the aging champion.

Frenzied coup de gras: Lesnar pounds on a prone Couture after a blow behind left ear felled the aging champion.