Best in the World? Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin Fail to Impress at UFC 116

Photo by Tracy Lee via Cage Writer

Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan called Brock Lesnar's title defense against the relatively unknown Shane Carwin the biggest heavyweight promotion in MMA history. We'll know next week whether that was true when the pay per view numbers trickle out, but certainly Fedor-Cro Cop and even Sylvia-Couture had significantly more buzz in the community. Goldberg made another claim I think we can dispute right away:  he said these were the two best heavyweights in the world. I saw something different. I saw a wildly entertaining fight between two guys who are still nowhere near finished products in the cage. To channel Georges St. Pierre for a moment, while I was entertained, I was "not impressed with their performance."

We learned a few things about Brock Lesnar tonight. We confirmed what many suspected: Brock Lesnar doesn't like to get hit. As soon as Carwin touched him, Lesnar did more than cover up. He flat cowered against the cage. He wasn't hurt as much as terrified. Make no mistake-Carwin had that fight won. Against anyone who isn't the promotion's heavyweight champion, that fight gets stopped due to some brutal ground and pound.

Lucky for Lesnar, Carwin isn't merely a one-round fighter. He doesn't even have that much in him. Three minutes into the bout and Carwin's heaving breaths couldn't feed his mammoth muscles. Lesnar survived, less because of his own defensive prowess and more because Carwin gassed and gassed bad.

We learned a few things about Shane Carwin, too.  When the fight went to the second round, Carwin was no longer participating. He looked like he was approaching a heart attack and was like a spectator at his own execution. Lesnar took him to the mat with a sloppy tackle and shortly thereafter finished him with an arm triangle. It was hardly a display of technical prowess. Carwin had either checked out mentally or simply couldn't summon the energy to defend himself.

As a spectacle, it was amazing. Lesnar's display of fortitude will become a big part of his legend. But this fight still leaves tons of lingering questions about what kind of fighter Lesnar will become. He looked helpless against Carwin, scared and desperate. His standup game is still rudimentary. He got tagged with everything and landed almost nothing. If he gets hit by Cain Velasquez, one thing is for certain. We know Cain won't falter, will never quit that prematurely. This is a winnable fight for Cain Velasquez and one I'm looking forward to very much.

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