Photo via UFC.com
We've seen a lot of quality cards through the first six months of 2010. Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung put on a barnburner as the lead-in for the WEC's inaugural pay-per-view event, giving Jose Aldo a stage to shine on. Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson fulfilled their TUF 10 feud at UFC 114, complete with a three week Prime Time special. Then there were the real solid top-to-bottom Zuffa efforts with UFC 110 and 115.
Only one card has delivered an entertaining undercard with a blockbuster main event: UFC 116. And that blockbuster main event rested on the shoulders of one man: Brock Lesnar.
Zuffa actually put together a brilliant bit of international matchmaking. By pitting Brock Lesnar against undefeated wrecking machine Shane Carwin (though they could throw Brock Lesnar in with Eddie Sanchez and it would sell), the UFC guaranteed a huge domestic buyrate. They had an eye for the overseas market with a co-main event consisting of former PRIDE superstar Wanderlei Silva and southeast Asia's most handsome man Yoshihiro Akiyama. Silva ended up pulling out with multiple injuries, and we were left with an almost boxing-like, top heavy event.
Fortunately, the undercard delivered in a big way. The co-main, with Chris Leben inserted for the injured Silva, went like gangbusters. Leben fought less than two weeks after finishing Aaron Simpson in a grueling two round affair. He and Akiyama went balls-to-wall, throwing bombs, engaging in the clinch, and grappling on the floor. Akiyama had Leben nearly out on his feet in round two to the point that Leben, who finished Akiyama with less than thirty seconds in round three, asked his coach if he had won in the middle period.
UFC 116 was really all about the main event between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. Carwin, hyped up as being undefeated and never going past round one, clipped Lesnar early in the fight and had him stunned on his back. Carwin smelled blood and fished for the finish. Lesnar, however, reacted to the commands of referee Josh Rosenthal, keeping the fight from being stopped. As time passed by, so did Carwin's punching. With a minute left, Lesnar created a scramble, spun to his feet, and pinned the challenger against the fence as the horn sounded.
Coming out of their corners for round two, it was Lesnar - the man who had just taken a three minute beating - who looked like the fresher fighter. A pawing jab had Carwin counter punching. Unfortunately for him, Lesnar had already changed levels and had put Carwin on his back. Carwin looked like he had nothing left in the tank at this point, and it was only a matter of time before Lesnar worked from half-guard to mount while locking on an arm triangle and jumping into side control. Carwin held on, but a technical adjustment from Lesnar had Carwin tapping lest being put to sleep.
Full voting results after the jump.
|SF: Fedor vs. Werdum||2||1||7|
|SF: Los Angeles||1||1||4|
|UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones||2||2|