One of the UFC's most-tortured cards yet. If you count Lesnar/Carwin itself as an oft-rescheduled fight, this card has had no less than seven emergency alterations: originally, in fact, this card's primary headline was supposed to see Wanderlei Silva against Akiyama, Roy Nelson against Cheick Kongo, and Nate Marquardt against Alessio Sakara. How'd it go, instead?
Prelims: -Jon Madsen won one of the worst fights in UFC history -Daniel Roberts managed to barely save his UFC contract against Forrest Petz -Gerald Harris knocked out Dave Branch with a beautiful slam out of an attempt at pulling guard -Kendall Grove annoyed me slightly more by winning a decision against Goran Reljic
Spike card: -Ricardo Romero d. Seth Petruzelli (Submission (Armbar) 3:05 R2) While entertaining, this was kind of a sad fight, honestly. Seth gassed himself out beating the crap out of Romero in the first round, and consequently he got kind of stupid, dazed Romero again, and followed the ground specialist to the ground, where he was consequently submitted in short order. Seth and Tom Lawlor are both physical, intense fighters, but they seem to need some new training partners or osmething, because both guys are in a bit of a stylistic rut. As for Romero, points for sticking it out and winning, but dude needs some work.
-Brendan Schaub d. Chris Tuchscherer (TKO (Punches) 1:07 R1) And, with his thrilling knockout of a YAMMA veteran, Schaub is truly elite. Schaub has potential and he's proven this fairly wel; Tuchscherer, well, not so much.
Main card: -George Sotiropoulos d. Kurt Pellegrino (Unanimous Decision - 30-27, 30-27, 29-28) Sotiropoulos continues to impress. He may be the most skilled offensive grappler in the UFC's lightweight division, and he uses it very impressively, but his boxing continues to look crisp. My only concern with him at this point is his tendency to lose focus and make mistakes--as most notably seen on tonight's card in his almost getting blown out in the last few seconds of the fight. Guys like Stevenson and Pellegrino may only make him pay for it a little; guys like Maynard, BJ and Edgar might kill him. Still, it must be cool to know for certain that you are your country's best fighter.
-Stephan Bonnar d. Krzyzstof Soszynski (TKO (Strikes) 3:08 R2) It was exactly what everyone thought it would be, and what everyone wanted to see: a sloppy, frenetic brawl. Stephan Bonnar is never going to be top-tier, he's never going to threaten the top 10--he's just too damned loose--but it's awful hard to think of a fighter who is more game, every time. Bonnar is the first journeyman of the TUF era, and it's awful nice to see him get a win. As for Krzyzstof, dude has some great physical tools, but he seems to habitually come into fights lacking a strong gameplan.
-Chris Lytle d. Matt Brown (Submission (Armbar) 2:02 R2) Lytle is my favorite journeyman, and this is exactly why. He has the nonsensical wild looping haymaker boxing style you'd expect from the Tank Abbott Pugliism Institution, and then you take him to the ground and discover that he is a secret submission wiazard. Given the growing emphasis on striking and wrestling in MMA lately, Lytle busting out a victory by way of mounted reverse triangle crucifix straight armbar is just plain excellent. It's hard to envision him being top-tier, but he's always fun to watch.
-Chris Leben d. Yoshihiro Akiyama (Submission (Triangle Choke) 4:40 R3) Leben has this wonderful moment that occurs in every single one of his fights: he gets punched in the face--the kind of facepunching that makes most other fighters stagger, drop, and retreat--and he just looks perplexed for a split-second as his consciousness leaves his body, and he then immediately drops back into his personal reflex, and begins swinging wild sledgehammer hooks at his opponent in a desperate attempt to make him pay. It's always fun as hell, and this fight did not disappoint. Akiyama would throw technical boxing strikes, and Leben would throw hooks; Akiyama would stun Leben with his hands, and Leben would throw hooks; Akiyama would judo Leben to the ground, and Leben, from his back, would throw hooks. He may be the world's most philosophically consistent fighter. Seeing Leben submit Akiyama from the bottom with a triangle was something I was not expecting, and as awesome as the fight was, it's pretty hilarious to see the UFC's attempts to expand into Japan and Korea get foiled repeatedly by their fighters. Akiyama's conditioning is a serious liability for him, and until it gets addressed, he's not going anywhere.
-Brock Lesnar d. Shane Carwin (Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) 3:52 R2) Brock showed a hell of a lot tonight. Carwin came out blasting and very nearly ended the fight within minutes, but some very good squirming by Lsenar and some very intelligent reffing by Josh Rosenthal ended up getting the answers to essentially all the questions anyone had, going into the fight: a) Yes, Brock Lesnar can be hurt. b) Yes, Shane Carwin hits like a truck. c) Yes, Brock Lesnar can take a punch and not lose his head. d) No, Shane Carwin cannot keep up his killer pace for more than a round. And, possibly most frightening of all: e) Yes, Brock Lesnar is improving every time we see him. Lesnar this time last year was still trigger-happy and frantic, more likely to hold onto a sure thing, work sloppy ground and pound, and shoot desperate doubles if he gets scared. Tonight, Lesnar took a plethora of punches from one of the single hardest punchers in the game, and he kept his cool, stayed focused, put the fight where he wanted it, and submitted Carwin with a more technical manuever than anyone know he actully had in his arsenal. If Carwin hadn't gone so crazy for the finish, if he had calmed down and taken his time, the night might have ended very differently. Carwin is still a threat to absolutely anyone in the division, but he has some discipline and tension issues that need to be straightened out before he's ready for another shot at the title. As for Lesnar, it'll be terribly interesting to see how he does against someone like Cain, who doesn't have Carwin's power or sice, but is more tenacious and much faster. If Cain exerts enough pressure, Lesnar might be in trouble.
All in all, a card of the year candidate, and easily one of the most entertaining shows the UFC has put on in quite some time. Major points to Joe Silva, major points to all the competitors, and Brock Lesnar, welcome to the #1 spot in the rankings. Here's to a long career.
Originally posted by CarlCXIf Cain exerts enough pressure, Lesnar might be in trouble.
I agree with every single thing you said but this. I'm not a Lesnar fanboy, but I don't think Cain can have any success against Brock once it goes to the floor. Carwin is far and away a harder puncher than Velasquez, so unless Brock makes a stupid mistake it should go Brock shoot -> Brock mount -> Brock Smash.
Good to see my fellow Victorian Georgey chalk up another win although agree that he needs to be more careful. I was a bit surprised that 2 judges scored it 30-27. I reluctantly had it 29-28.
That was a nice power bomb thing from Harris. I especially liked the forearm across the throat during the slam.
Chris Leben has a huge head. Literally - check him out when he stands next to doctors, officials, etc. No wonder he's hard to KO - I think he has that Homer Simpson condition.
Lesnar - Carwin Let's do that again!
Originally posted by CarlCX...some very intelligent reffing by Josh Rosenthal ...
I hear that. I've seen a bunch of fights stopped for less. Had to have been a 10-8 round, and now, with both guys knowing what they know coming out of the fight - I would love to see them go around again. I bet Cain was taking notes.
We'll see if Kostya still has it soon. If he does, him and Floyd are top-tier, Mitchell, Gatti, Hatton, Harris, and maybe Cotto and Spadafora are second tier (along with some others that might step up or even drop down).