First off, let me preface this by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed UFC 116, top to bottom. From Gerald Harris' Power bomb of Dave Branch to Leben's improbable hail- mary triangle victory, there was some quality action- and that's something noone will argue. And then, as tradition dictates, the controversy follows wherever Brock Lesnar goes.
The UFC 116 main- event, title- unification bout with Shane Carwin had taken on newfound meaning due to Fedor's shocking upset loss to Werdum. Fedor's long- time death grip on the #1 ranking at heavyweight had recently come into question with the advent of the new UFC HW dynamos (IE Cain, Carwin, Dos Santos, and Brock), but when he was swiftly triangled by Werdum, who was just barely considered top 10, it knocked Fedor's rank down a few notches (to around an average of 3'rd place). And it's nigh impossible to justify giving Werdum the #1 spot, so it was determined that the winner of Lesnar/ Carwin would be the consensus #1 HW .
That said, the title unification bout between these men was nothing short of epic. Here's my take on both men, and their respective performances.
The Good: He showed that his Herculean power wasn't just a result of being significantly larger than his opponents; against someone just as huge and athletic as himself, Shane used his power and advantage in the striking department to swarm Brock, hurt him, and attempt to finish. In the 1'st round, he looked nothing short of a world beater, and kept up a torrid pace of doling out punishment. When fresh, Carwin proved his wrestling acumen by stuffing every one of Brock's shots. And most importantly: He was the first man to bully Brock Lesnar.
The Bad/ the ugly: Despite an impressive 1'st round, Carwin had spent himself in pursuit of a finish over Lesnar, and was subsequently taken down, guard passed, and submitted. This showed 2 things which Shane could've done better, and must improve upon in the future; 1- The biggest flaw in my opinion, and the missing link in making Carwin into an unstoppable destroyer of men is his tragic lack of hip rotation. Now, normally this wouldn't be a problem because he already has frightening power in his punches, but if you notice, in the standup, with his ground strikes, and just in general, Carwin has little to no swivel in his hips. If he'd gotten more torque on his hips, and had focused more on throwing with accuracy and power against Brock, I believe Shane would've stopped him. 2- Buck Fever. Carwin was so excited and overzealous after he hurt Brock, he became too concerned with playing the bongos on Lesnar's face to mix in body shots, and posture up to throw bombs, and as a result he spent himself in pursuit of a finish. I don't think Carwin was poorly conditioned, but he could've stood for a little more muscular/ cardio endurance, and should've paced himself better.
Now, onto our new consensus #1 HW, BROCKLESNARRRRR!!!!!
The Good: Brock's giant skull and bulging neck muscles do a fantastic job of keeping him in the realm of consciousness. He's tough as nails, and proved it by doing enough to survive a hellacious beating from Carwin in the 1'st round. He also showed a pleasant progression in his ground skills, namely his guard passing and submissions (granted, Carwin had blown his wad, but it's still a marked improvement).
The Bad/ The Ugly: Now, I will say that Brock gets the benefit of the doubt because he's still new to the sport, and the layoff/ health issues he suffered from were significant enough to give any fighter serious trouble. That said, his striking looked fucking horrible. His movement was lethargic and flat footed, he was pawing with his lead hand, his defense was porous, and he made no effort to blend his strikes with takedowns, which was why Carwin was able to shrug Brock off. And worst of all, when Carwin pressured him, he moved straight back and got stuffed into the cage. Now, BE poster "Black Lesnar" did a good job of chronicling Brock's fights, and the progression of his standup, and noted that his striking had actually devolved in the Mir fight. Well, that reared it's ugly head against Carwin, and Carwin (who, by his own right is a very rudimentary and limited striker) was able to just dominate Brock standing.
To sum up, the Lesnar/ Carwin fight was action packed and awesome, but as many have already noted- it lacked the kind of technical brilliance expected from the kind of fight that determines who the #1 fighter in a weight class is. And really, it's not surprising- both men took up the sport later in life, but due to their freakish genetics, their size & athletic advantages have carried them to the top.
What this says to me is that (sooner rather than later) a Cruiserweight division around 230 needs to be established when the infrastructure becomes available. Because in all honesty, there's no question who's more well rounded and better technically between guys like Carwin/ Lesnar vs. Velasquez/ Dos Santos/ Fedor/ Werdum/ Gonzaga/ etc. Now that Zuffa has a monopoly on all divisional kingpins, the elite HW's lurking outside the UFC (like Fedor, Werdum, Barnett, and even Bigfoot) will have nowhere to go but the UFC, and when that happens, they should have enough quantity and quality to support a divisional split.