After his last victory against Frank Mir at UFC 100 Brock Lesnar looked simply unstoppable. A freak with the power of a heavyweight and the speed of a lightweight. Nothing was going to be bringing Lesnar down for a long time.
Fast forward almost a year later and Lesnar is looking to finally make his return to the cage after a serious health scare, and now a serious contender has emerged in undefeated Shane Carwin. Carwin has never been out of the first round in 12 professional fights and more importantly possesses the same freak athleticism as Lesnar.
Make no mistake about it, it’s the biggest fight the UFC’s Heavyweight division has ever put on, and it’s one of the biggest heavyweight fights of all time. After Fedor Emelianenko’s first loss in ten years it’s also going to determine who the new number one heavyweight in the world is.
Brock Lesnar (4-1) vs. Shane Carwin (12-0)
It’s a match up of almost mirror images. Both claim victories over Frank Mir as their most important, both are former NCAA Wrestling champions (Lesnar in D-I, Carwin in D-II), Both will be coming in at the limit of 265, and both of them are downright scary.
Lesnar has the edge in wrestling and quickness. He’s going to have to put Carwin on his back and look to do what he did to Mir, trap Carwin’s hips and pound him into submission.
Carwin has the edge in boxing and sheer punching power, though Lesnar understands that and brought in Peter Welch to improve his stand up. Still if Carwin’s fist finds Lesnar’s chin we may finally see Lesnar fall.
Look for Lesnar to try and take the fight to the ground early and often, and look for Carwin to use his wrestling in reverse and keep the fight standing.
I think Carwin keeps the fight on the feet early, and defends a few takedowns in the early rounds, he isn’t going to be able to do it forever though. Lesnar is going to do what he does best, put Carwin on his back and hurt him.
Predicition: Brock wins by TKO in the closing minute of round 2.
Yoshiro Akiyama (13-1) vs. Chris Leben (20-4)
Chris Leben is both the luckiest and craziest man in mixed martial arts right now. Leben will step into the cage on a 12 day training camp and just 14 days after his last fight, a knockout victory over previously undefeated Aaron Simpson. Two wins in 14 days over two of the divisions better fighters would put Chris Leben into title contention.
On the flipside Akiyama has everything to lose going into this fight. Akiyama has wanted Wanderlai Silva since his victory oven Alan Belcher at UFC 100, and it looked like he was going to get him until Silva suffered a broken rib and torn ACL in training camp. Now he fights a lower profile opponent in Leben who offers him little room of moving up in the rankings. That or he loses to a guy on 14 days rest.
Expect this to be a stand up war. Leben throws the leather harder than almost anyone in the middleweight division, and he can take a solid punch. Akiyama is a more technical striker with a background in Judo. Leben’s takedown defense is good enough to keep it on the feet for the duation of the match.
I think Leben’s striking might be too wild for a more precise fighter like Akiyama, I’d expect Akiyama to wait for his moment and strike.
Prediction: Akiyama by 1st Round TKO.
Chris Lytle (28-18) vs. Matt Brown (11-8)
Lytle has UFC bonuses in 7 of his last 9 UFC fights, and is the organizations leader in that category. In short you know you’re getting a good fight when Lytle is on the card. Lytle also has a win over Brown on his resume, submitting him with a guillotine choke at a UFL event in 2007.
Six of Brown’s eight losses come by submission and I expect Lytle to bring the fight to the floor on Saturday. Once it goes there the BJJ Black Belt will end the fight.
Prediction: Lytle by submission (armbar) round 3.
Stephan Bonnar (11-7) vs. Krzytof Soszynski (19-9-1)
These two fought at UFC 110, Soszynski won the fight by a doctor stoppage in the 3rd round, though the cut was caused by an illegal head-butt. Both fighters are well rounded, but I think Soszynski has the better skill set.
Prediction: Soszynski by dec.
George Sotiropoulos (14-2) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (19-4)
Both come into the fight riding win streaks, both have good wrestling and jiu-jitsu. In short I’d expect this to have both Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night written all of it. Expect a ground war chess match similar to Sotiropoulos-Stevenson.
Predicition: Sotiropoulos by submission (triangle choke) round 3.
Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer. Schaub by KO round 2,
Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricardo Romero. Petruzelli by TKO round 1.
Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic. Grove by submission (guillotine) round 2.
Gerald Harris vs. Dave Branch. Harris by dec.
Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz. Roberts by submission (kimura) round 3.
Jon Madsen vs. Karlos Vemola. Madsen by dec.
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