The real main event of last night’s UFC 111 in New Jersey came in the form of two top 5 ranked Heavyweights battling in the Octagon for a chance at the current UFC Heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar.
Shane Carwin had never left the first round of a fight and none of his opponents had ended the fight on their feet. Knocking out a clear path to the Interim Heavyweight shot he found himself up against the biggest test of his career to date in the always dangerous Frank Mir.
Mir, a former UFC champion, had already received two cracks at Lesnar but he made it hard to take him out of the running again after he purely demolished Cheick Kongo. Mir even bulked up for Carwin and the potential Lesnar fight, adding roughly twenty pounds of muscle and weighing in at the Heavyweight limit of 265 pounds for the first time ever.
Carwin, himself, looked large yet I was surprised to see he was shorter than Mir when they faced off at the weigh-ins. Some had also said that Carwin looked a little soft around the middle and soon changed their instinct pick of Carwin to the second thought choice of Frank Mir. By no means though did Carwin look physically unready for his fight and he was definitely determined mentally.
Tentativeness started the fight as the two big men circled and felt each other out, intelligently calculating their first move in this chess match of fists. Then, at about 35 seconds in, Mir tested some quick hands on Carwin whom immediately bulldozed Mir across the Octagon until he was pinned with his back against the fence. Carwin worked a few strikes as he maintained position, trying to dominate via pressure a la Brock Lesnar before eventually being separated by referee Dan Miragliotta. The two then exchanged a few more punches and then Carwin went right back to his game plan and plowed Mir into the fence.
Just as they were told by Miragliotta to make something happen, Carwin landed some downright vicious uppercuts that rocked Mir’s skull and buckled his knees. Carwin continued to lay down some brutal shots until we all knew it was over, but the fight was not called just yet and Mir took one last opportunity to do something, grabbing Carwin’s arm for a submission attempt. It didn’t work.
Carwin just slipped out and hammered home some more powerful pain-makers until Mir’s consciousness left him. Mir was obviously out, with his limp arms spread in a helpless position of surrender but Miragliotta didn’t want to call off Lesnar/Mir III just yet and instead he watched from inches away as Carwin, who possesses the largest gloves in the UFC, laid down 4 or 5 more atom bomb-like blows before Dan decided the only way Mir could get back up was if he was “sleepwalking” because he was surely out cold
In the end, Shane Carwin reigned victorious and again avoided the second round. His future beholds now what he was promised in the past. That is a shot at Brock Lesnar, the man he was supposed to meet at UFC 106 before Lesnar’s health rapidly declined. Now, the two are set to meet on July 3rd in Las Vegas as they headline UFC 116, an event that will surely be the biggest UFC event of the year.