July 4, 2010
Lesnar defends UFC title in front of former peers
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
It didn't come easy, but Brock Lesnar is still the UFC heavyweight champion.
Lesnar, in his first fight in 51 weeks due to a severe battle with Diverticulitis, defeated interim champion Shane Carwin by second round submission Saturday at "UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin" at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to unify the belts and once again become the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion.
In front of many of his former wrestling peers, including Paul Heyman, Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg, The Rock and Jim Ross, the former WWE Champion was dominated in the first round (two of the three judges scored it 10-8). Carwin hurt him with punches and was close to getting the fight stopped on a few occasions, but Lesnar was able to move to better position each time referee Josh Rosenthal took a good look.
Carwin laid in the punishment, cutting the champion, but in the process, punched himself out. Lesnar was able to get to his feet near the end of the round and recover while the tired Carwin didn't do much.
The two exchanged punches as the second round started but Lesnar easily took Carwin down with a double-leg takedown. He moved to the mount, a dominant position, from where he switched to side mount, where he locked in an arm-triangle choke that eventually forced Carwin to tap at 2:19 of the round.
"I just had to weather the storm," Lesnar said in the cage following the fight. "He's got some heavy shots. I just had to hang back. I knew he was getting tired. Each shot was less dramatic than the other."
For Lesnar, the win was so much more than a win. It was his return from a condition that nearly had him on his death bed just a few months ago.
"This isn't about me tonight," Lesnar said. "This is about my family this is about my doctors, this is about my training partners, my training staff. I am blessed by God. Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you a humble champion and I'm still the toughest SOB around baby."
As he exited the cage, he made his way over to where his former contemporaries were sitting. They congratulated him on his win before he headed backstage."Brock weather a big-time storm in the first round," Austin said on his Twitter. "Show the heart of a true champion. He is THE MAN in the UFC. I am very proud of him."
"Who da f----- man," Heyman said on his Twitter.
With the win, Lesnar will face undefeated Cain Velasquez late this year or early next year.
Matt Bishop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.