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UFC 131: Carwin/JDS

Posted by jjeans Saturday, June 11, 2011 12:00 AM



At UFC 131, former Interim Heavyweight title holder Shane Carwin will face Junior Dos Santos, with the winner likely to receive a title fight against Current Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.

Originally, Junior Dos Santos was scheduled to face Brock Lesnar, but Brock was struck with illness and the replacement was Shane Carwin.

Junior Dos Santos made his UFC debut against Fabricio Wedrum, who is currently top 5 in the division, in a match that Junior was able to finish with a huge uppercut in the second minute. The fight was named 2008's Upset of the Year. Junior walked into the bout with a 6-1 record with his one loss coming by submission. His 6 wins were all finishes in the first round. Nobody knew who he was but that uppercut finish made them start researching.

Shane Carwin also made his debut in 2008. He walked in to his fight with a record of 8-0 and was faced with a natural Light Heavyweight, in Christian Wellisch, that he outweighed by 22 pounds. Shane also came in to the fight having gone past the first minute of the first round just once in eight fights. Carwin finished his opponent on his UFC debut in 44 seconds with a perfect jab/cross combo.

Both Carwin and dos Santos had knock-out power, but Junior Dos Santos had a much higher caliber win.

Once again, Shane Carwin found himself on the undercard in his next bout and, like his last fight, he was the favorite. This proved again to be for a good reason. Shane weighed in this time at 264 but he cut the weight for the fight. In this fight we were told and shown that Shane was a NCAA Division II wrestler (a high level wrestler). Shane got on top of his opponent, Neil Wain, and pounded him, finishing the fight in under 2 minutes.

Junior's fast track to stardom continued after his upset against a debuting big prospect, Stefan Struve. And by big I mean in height. Stefan is 6'11”. However, the reach and height didn't stop the hands of Junior Dos Santos, as he was able to put Stefan away in less than one minute.

After 2 fights, here’s what we knew of these 2 fighters…

Nobody could handle the punching power of either man. Junior Dos Santos had great boxing and very fast hands. Shane Carwin had great wrestling and heavy hands.

Shane Carwin then found himself in the co-main event against Gabriel Gonzaga, a former title challenger. This time Carwin walked into the bout without being the favorite. The fight began and early on Gonzaga rocked Carwin, and then took him down. Carwin’s wrestling maybe was more overrated than people had predicted, however he was able to get back up quickly. Gonzaga came at Carwin to strike with him. Carwin landed one right hand and Gonzaga was out cold. Carwin had landed 4 punches in 1 minute 9 seconds and had finished the fight. He overcame the momentary rock and finished it quickly. Carwin was on fire. So hot, in fact, that Carwin was given a title shot against the title holder at the time, Brock Lesnar.

However, Juniors tests and trials continued for whatever reasons. Maybe he couldn't speak English so it was hard to promote/advertise him? Whether it was he was too one dimensional (could only strike) unlike Shane Carwin who was more developed, as he had his wrestling background. Junior was tested. In 2009, he fought former PRIDE World Grand Prix Open-Weight Champion and Kickboxing legend, Mirko Cro Cop, and stood toe to toe with him for 3 rounds (or 12 minutes) before Cro Cop was forced to quit due to a fractured orbital. He then stood toe to toe with another kickboxer, Gilbert Yvel, and took 2 minutes to knock him out. If they (UFC) wanted Junior to be less 'one dimensional' repeatedly matching him up with Strikers wasn't helping his case for a title shot. Then, on March the 21st of 2010, Junior fought Gabriel Gonzaga. Like Carwin, Junior got taken down, but he too was able to get back up quickly. Junior fought the next few minutes giving a strike, taking a strike, which continued until Gonzaga's chin gave in to a big left hook and Junior rushed in and finished the fight at 3:53 of the very first round.

On March the 27th of 2010(1 week later) Shane Carwin fought for the temporary Heavyweight interim championship. He was originally scheduled to fight Brock Lesnar in November 2009 but Brock fell ill. So, instead, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin squared off to determine the interim heavyweight champion and Brock would face the winner to unify the belts. Shane had still never been out of the first round and now had a record of 11-0. Frank Mir entered the fight 13-4 as a former UFC Heavyweight champion and a former Interim Champion. However, it was not Frank's night. Shane was able to press Frank against the cage using his wrestling, sheer strength and weight to clinch him. Carwin pressed Frank's chin up and uppercut him, until Frank fell to the ground covering up. Shane won the fight and took the vacant title in just less than 4 minutes.

Shane now had a UFC Record of 4-0 and held a UFC title. Junior held a record of 4-0 as well. Junior was still confused as to what he had to do.

Brock Lesnar returned at UFC 116 to unify the titles into the UFC Undisputed Heavyweight title. And all of Shane Carwin’s weaknesses were exposed.

Both men on an average day walk around 280-300 pound, so both men had to shed and cut weight to make 265. Shane Carwin was not used to this while Brock had made a career out of it.

Shane Carwin hurt the champion, rocked him, had Brock back-peddling, then took him down and just pounded away at him. He put everything into trying to finish Brock, and arguably the referee could have stopped the fight, however Brock was able to just keep his guard up and pretty much just turtle up for about 90 seconds. However, he had survived the onslaught. Carwin decided to back off and let Brock get back up. Carwin stood up and looked tired, weak and severely gassed. Brock saw this and simply avoided some slow powerless strikes and proceeded to push Carwin against the cage to bring the round to a close. Carwin then walked into the second round the same as he ended the first: looking out of shape. Brock took Carwin down, passed Carwin's guard and submitted him with an arm triangle choke; Carwin didn't even look like he tried to defend against it, tapping when it was in place.

Carwin's weakness appeared to be his biggest problem: he had never gone out of the first round proving he had little or no stamina. Brock took the Undisputed Title and Carwin was just left reminiscing of the time he almost finished the champion.

One week later, Junior dos Santos found himself in a bout against Roy Nelson. In a fight where Roy showed a lot of heart, Junior put him through a clinic. Roy isn't well known for superior wrestling or takedowns and this didn't help: Junior was able to stop all takedowns and keep the fight on its feet. Junior had once again outclassed an opponent by striking with them. But at least he showed some takedown defense against a fighter with little takedown offense.

Afterwards, Junior Dos Santos was booked to fight Brock Lesnar and, in order to promote the fight, they were matched up as opposing coaches on the Ultimate Fighter, the UFC's reality TV show. However, after filming Brock’s diverticulitis resurfaced, so Shane Carwin ended up being named as his replacement.

The Basic Overview of the fight…

Shane is 12-1 with a UFC Record of 4-1. Junior is 12-1 with a UFC Record of 6-0.

Shane Carwin has the wrestling advantage and, in most cases it seems, wrestlers beat strikers.

Both men's submission skills aren't known although it appears that Shane's are lacking and we have been told Junior has a Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His BJJ skills have never been showcased or seen in the UFC.

Junior has the more technical striking advantage and has a solid chin.

Junior has better conditioning and should be quicker.

Shane is more powerful and often 1 strike ends the fight. Junior sets up power punches with combos.

Both men's weaknesses:

In the words of Forrest Griffin

“Junior Dos Santos is one of those guys we know F*** all about, all we know is he knocks people out.”

Junior's grappling has yet to be shown and, training out of the camp he does, their weaknesses appear to be wrestling. Junior's biggest weakness is that he likes to take a punch as he gives a punch. Not counter striking. Just taking blow for a blow. His other issue is that his guard is not a guard. He doesn't use it to block punches, he uses it so the punches come from the chin, not the hip, less distance to cover, lands quicker.

Shane Carwin's only gone out of the first round once and his gas tank appeared empty when he did. If he decided to out wrestle/grapple Junior, would he be able to do this round after round after round?

That sums up weighing up both fighters. There are many ways this could go down. Junior could use his speed advantage, fights tactically , avoids big exchanges, and capitalizes when Shane's tired in the later rounds to finish the fight, or outpoint him for the UD .Either could land the big shot to end it, but the power advantage early in the fight lies with Carwin, while Junior may have it later . But should Shane Carwin come in with a wrestling focused game plan, which I am not counting out, I could easily see Carwin ground and pounding Junior until he gets the finish. A lot more possible outcomes are available but the guy who implements his game plan should get the victory in the end, and the winner gets a shot at the strap.

* NOTE: The opinions contained within this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the Site Administrator, MMAPlayground Staff or its owners. All content is strictly the opinion of the author and should only be interpreted as such.

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