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UFC 116 Aftermath: Lesnar’s Win and the Dangerous Line Between Being the ‘Best’ and Being a ‘Bum’

(Many fans in attendance at the MGM Grand were given giant foam fists adorned with UFC gloves, which they drunkenly used to … oh, wait. PicProps: LA Times.)

When last we saw the UFC heavyweight champion on Saturday night he was slapping fives and doing bro grabs with his homies Stone Cold, Paul E. and Good Ol’ JR. And why not? The Dark Lord certainly had reason to celebrate: Though his face was scratched and his forehead bruised, the newly unified 265-pound strap was still around his waist. Maybe he’d even garnered some new fans with the gritty performance he’d just turned in, battling back from an early deficit to emerge victorious in the toughest fight of his career.

But damn it, just barely.

In fact, it’s difficult to know what to make of Brock Lesnar after a showing like this. The victory over Shane Carwin was definitely the most impressive moment of his short MMA career and it admittedly capped the best UFC pay-per-view we’ve seen in a long while. From Lesnar’s comeback to surprising wins from Stephan Bonnar and Chris Leben to the great scraps put on by Chris Lytle, Matt Brown, George Sotiropoulos and Kurt Pellegrino, UFC 116 delivered.

But Lesnar himself? Did he look great en route to the win? The real answer is both yes and no.

During his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan – in between some empty chatter about thanking his family and being “blessed by God” or whatever – Lesnar claimed everything went exactly according to his plan in his come-from-behind choke-out victory over Carwin. Those few minutes he spent turtled-up against the fence while Carwin fired a torrent of unanswered blows into his head and shoulders? That was just strategy.

Never mind the fact that Carwin made Lesnar jump back like a scared house cat when he popped his head up with a stiff uppercut near the beginning of the first round. Or the fact that the Colorado native went on to hang a 10-8 first frame on the champ, laying the kind of hellacious beatdown on a cowering Lesnar that – were the undisputed heavyweight championship not on the line – certainly would’ve stopped the fight.

Had referee Josh Rosenthall stepped in to call the action, nobody would likely be arguing about it today. We writers would all be lining up our reproachful 600-word articles about how Lesnar had been overrated from the start and how foolish we’d all been for believing the hype. We’d be listing the wholesale changes he needed to make in his training and wondering aloud if he truly had the commitment to MMA to stick with it through such an embarrassing loss. But Rosenthal didn’t stop the fight – kudos to him for that, it was the right move – and so this morning our 600-words are spent largely fêting Lesnar as the best in the world.

The champion told Rogan he was just making the best of a bad situation when Carwin had him on the ropes. In hindsight, Lesnar appears borderline clairvoyant for simply lying in wait for the challenger to punch himself out. By the time Carwin answered the bell for the second round he looked – despite the smile and the wink — totally spent. Then it was time for Lesnar to unleash a heretofore unseen submission game, catching Carwin in a deceptively tight arm triangle that forced the tapout.

So, what’d we learn about the most despised man in MMA last night? Certainly we learned that Lesnar is a better fighter than many of the haters gave him credit for leading up to the bout. He showed he can take a beating and come back from it. He also showed that his mixed martial arts skill set is, in fact, growing. He even tried to demonstrate a bit of his nice-guy side in the cage with Rogan, though his words sounded stilted and thoroughly rehearsed.

All that said, he looked terrible in the stand-up game – getting punched in the face isn’t his favorite thing in the world, it seems — and we didn’t see a hint of the southpaw stance he’d talked about at the prefight media events.  He also showed that when he gets in trouble, he may just curl up against the cage and wait for it to be over. This time, that "strategy" paid off. Next time? Maybe not so much.

Lesnar actually came away from this fight looking a bit more vulnerable, if an opponent can stop his takedowns long enough to lay hands on him. The real problem might be that, aside from Carwin, who can stay off his back for even the first round against the former NCAA wrestling champion? Possibly no one.

Unfortunately for the aforementioned haters, we learned that if Shane Carwin can’t get the job done, Brock Lesnar is probably going to be UFC heavyweight champion for a while.

Cagepotato Comments

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ghostboner- July 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm
@MMAINMYBLOOD - You will notice the part where I said "We will have to wait and see if it ever happens." Meaning, IF he still has the belt after the his SF contract is up, and IF he then signs with UFC, and IF Brock is still champ, and IF he wins his fight or two before he gets a UFC title shot. Lots of if's, but I never said it was a sure thing. I was just playing a little fantasy MMA matchmaker. Only person who I think would give him any trouble is JDS. About Travis Browne, you asking if I think he would beat Overroids or just what I think of him in general?

@FBF - Chuck had a good chin - don't know about granite, but he could take a shot. Rampage tagged him pretty good, but he fought Wanderlei after that and took some shots, so I gotta say it was just years of wear. Still love the Smirnoff Iceman though.

@Left leg cemetary - Reem usually comes in about 250 255 without cutting. That is why I said he should up his dose of horse and at least make the 265 limit. Brock will be walking in at 275-285, but I think Overeem can hang strength wise. And I agree none of those guys would beat Horsereem.
bigHAL13- July 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm
cool bro, i'll be in touch later on tonight.
Goog- July 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm
Gotcha, Hal. I'll drop you a line.
bigHAL13- July 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm
@ goog
bigHAL13- July 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm
no spam here you son of a bitches so please quit marking my post as spam.
rite leg ospitahl- July 5, 2010 at 9:29 am
@ lazy embrace

headline news today reports that rosenthal and winslow were arrested for running and illegal underground gambling racquet. it was discovered that the only lines they had drawn out were for a crossdressing 145 pound fighter in strikeforce, and a large shaven white gorrilla with a flat top that is used for jack links commercials.

rite leg ospitahl- July 5, 2010 at 9:19 am
@lightly undercooked

lololololololololol nice way to inadvertently start an arguement about rugby. anytime somebody picks a fight with fbf i have to sit back and smile. top notch bro.


also a little late to the battle but, dude ur not crazy. i been giving good strikers a chance against brock forever now. sc shows that its his big weekness. although i have to disagree about him being strong enough. overeem i dont belive cuts weight to fight. and brock weighs like 400 pounds of something on fight night. leg kicks would be stupid. u dont hand over ur leg to somebody looking to grab one anyway. he stays outside circles right and looks to stun him like shane carwin did. then beat him like he did brett rogers. yeah overeem has lost to light heavys, when he was light heavy. like u said, different fighter now. i say hes the only one that stands a real chance right now. brown pride, big country, and jds are gonna look like joe daddy, kenny florian and diego sanchez after bj when they face brock. but damn i hope im wrong.
MediumRare- July 5, 2010 at 9:10 am
@ rite leg

I'm glad someone recognizes my talent. It takes a special kind of belligerence to pick a fight with someone by telling them you like them. That shit only comes with commitment and practice.
ComaPlata- July 5, 2010 at 9:10 am
Lightly UNDER cooked? Are you kidding? If its medium rare its lightly OVER cooked.
ComaPlata- July 5, 2010 at 9:06 am

I asked Kim Winslow... She said no way that fight was about to be stopped. Rosenthal hadn't even checked his pulse yet. Everyone knows you have to check the pulse before you decide to stop one. Heart Beating? Continue the beating.

He took the beating, did what he had to do to keep it going and stood up further proving he was not in danger of taking a nap. Came out second round and served SC a scoop of loss. Like it or not, BROCKLESNARR is your HW champion. And has EARNED that title.

MediumRare- July 5, 2010 at 8:54 am

I saw your comment that you also watch rugby league. What team do you follow? It's important I find this out 'cause the only sports I watch are MMA and rugby leauge. This made me feel a sense of comraderie toward you and I don't feel comforable liking people.

You need to tell me you're a fucking Canberra Raiders fan or something equally pathetic so I can resume hating you. It will also help me greatly if you admit to being a dickless NSW fan. It is extremely uncomfortable for me to not hate someone. Help me out here.
rite leg ospitahl- July 5, 2010 at 8:50 am
if u werent impressed with rashad over rampage then there is no way u can be impressed with brock saturday night. all he did was what he had to do to win, no more no less. maybe its ring rust and carwin really has no buisness being in the building with brock but last saturday night looked like a big let down, by both guys.
rite leg ospitahl- July 5, 2010 at 8:46 am
hangs heads and giggles.....

@drowsy arm hug

look man the fight could have been stopped u knwo it i know it. and sc winked at brock thats why he smiled. now after that yeah sure he went in there and got double legged like thiago did against gsp. go over and look at bloody elbows fight metric. he layed down and balled up. "took all had he had to give" is the worst words for it that can be selected. u know me and u know my hatered will only grow with the more people slobber over his "black genetics"... he looked horrible in that fight and u know it as good as i do. i said he did not get knocked out, i gave him that. but he didnt make eric the red proud with that showing, admit it.
ComaPlata- July 5, 2010 at 8:33 am

I'll admit, I did take the Todd loss hard. Had high hopes for the kid. You were present at the last Chuck fight, you know I haven't taken his losses hard since Suga put him out. No Lesnar didn't "stand" there and take everything SC had... he laid there and took every bit and even had a smile on his face before the second. SC threw them XXXXXL cinder blocks repeatedly at the Nordic God and couldn't put him out. Second round, BROCKLESNARR man handled his ass because he had nothing left. The reason he had NOTHING left is because he threw EVERYTHING HE HAD at BL and couldn't finish him. How hard is that to comprehend?

Why you gotta bring my reactions up about other fighters? How does that help your argument? Me being upset about an Iceman loss somehow proves that SC didn't throw everything he had at Brock? Me being upset about Todd's loss some how proves BROCKLESNARR is NOT the #1 HW in the world? Wrong.

You know... the more you hate on Brock the closer I get to swinging from the head of his Penis (yes Nordic Gods Penis's are capitalized) instead of the shaft.
bigHAL13- July 5, 2010 at 8:10 am
@ goog,
you can email me any info at this address if you want. its just an old junk email address i use for things like mma websites and so on. good to hear from you again goog and i'll talk to you soon.
rite leg ospitahl- July 5, 2010 at 8:09 am
@tubby belly belonging to frank.

gah dang dude 17 of the last 20 comments belong to u!! j/k dude i dont care unless u start static. now, at you and that trampy lipped master of platas with a coma on the side.

@fbf and mild amnesia submission.

look i i know brock won i know i get it i hate it, but get it. yeah im bitter but i think im taking it better that coma did about todd duffee. or any number of a certain somebody's fights. i hate the words "took all he had" it implys that they stood toe to toe and banged it out. bonnar and kristoff so freakin hard of a lastname took all they had to give each other until one finally fell. thats it what it really looks like. now that brings me to a secondary point, i always said james toney's first fight in ufc should be bonnar. it would be a good punching bag that would not be scarred to stand up and he's got the best chin in mma so i think neither one would go down early. it would be one hell of an epic brawl i think that could get people behind toney after he won in a decision. instead randy is gonna do him bout bad as big country did ferg.... any thoughts
Ballkick- July 5, 2010 at 8:00 am
I think Overeem would be a good addition to the UFC HW division. So I agree with ghostboner.
I also agree with MMAINMYBLOOD, he wouldn't and shouldn't get a crack at the champ (whoever that is at the time) as soon as he arrives.
The best part of Saturday nights win by Brock is it showed a path to beating him. No one is invincible as Fedors fight the prior week proved.
I would like to see Fedor in the UFC too. Strikeforce is a hindrance to MMA fans seeing the best against the best in MMA. Just as Pride was.
I think I speak for many (not all) when I say we would like to see both these aforementioned fighters thrown into the mix so we all get to see the best of the best battle it out for the belt.
Brock dodged a bullet Saturday, albeit a gassed bullet.
fatbellyfrank- July 5, 2010 at 7:18 am
OK been watching Chuck pound heads a liitle bit, quick summary if you slow it down enough when Chuck punches Tito shitless against the cage, if you slow it down you can pretty much see Tito's derp face as he slides down the cage, with his head bouncin like a fucken balloon
iDestroy- July 5, 2010 at 6:50 am
@ghost bone her

Naw dog. I smoked a bowl last night, and now I get it.
fatbellyfrank- July 5, 2010 at 3:02 am
I gotta admit, I've been watching 1 or 2 Chuck highlights on various DVD's, and there could be an argument that Chuck didn't so much absorb punishment, rather avoided, and by that he had great movement, quick counters^ with hands of stone, and once he let go he could just keep banging. He has been rocked by some big punches over his last cuppla years, but, no disrespect to Ace, it was a pretty good shot, but a lot of guys would not have been put to sleep by it . MMAINMYBLOOD makes a fairly good point when you think about it, I still think his ability to take a punch has diminished over the years, but, hmmmmm, might have to go and watch some more highlights......with some more stubbies......and maybe a cuppla hot ones.....
MMAINMYBLOOD- July 5, 2010 at 1:50 am
I never reallly bought that he had a chin dana said he did but lets be real for a moment.. he never really got hit that much he was a great counter puncher that had retard strength... maybe he did but I just really never saw him get exposed like he has recently hes getting hit alot more.. his reflexes are gone imo...
fatbellyfrank- July 5, 2010 at 1:30 am
@MMA & Ghost,not interferin', but what about the Chuck example, had a chin of granite, now its gone?
MMAINMYBLOOD- July 5, 2010 at 12:42 am
@ghostboner I like how u assume he even makes it to the ufc... and then gets an immediate title shot... not gonna happen.. and he cannot beat JDS or Cain I would go as far out to say Roy would upset him... and yes I know that was 7 years ago but remember you either have a chin or you dont.( ask Mir, if he remembers). and he didnt then and I would be willing to bet anyone hits him there now.. wait never mind mr hari did it already sorry I almost forgot.. This guy is a Joke dude so if you wanna chat him up go for it but if incase he ever does make it to the big leagues he gets beat down.. I say within his first two fights... What you think about Travis Browne...
ghostboner- July 5, 2010 at 12:30 am
@MMAIDSinyourbloodandsemeninyourmouth - The only person shouting up Overeem is me so feel free to say "that faggot ghostboner needs to STFU and quit chanting Overeem". I was watching when Chuck ko'd Overeem, and I was watching when Shogun, who is a blown up MW, made him look like a scared little kid. Because he was a little kid. We're talking about Overeem of 7 years ago. Different fighter today. And he doesn't have a chin of granite, but he won't need one because as you so astutely pointed out "lesnar has no stand up." He won't need a chin because Lesnar is not going to try to box with him, he is going to try to take him down. Only time he will need a chin is if he can't kick Lesnar off of him on the ground, which I believe he can. But I guess we will have to wait and see if it ever happens. You will note that I said If Overroids adds more horse, meaning adds a few pounds, and comes in with a good game plan.

That said, I agree I am also sick of "WAR (insert gayness here)!!!" so good cll on that. But bad call on the 'Roid. I think he would do just fine in the UFC HW div. Well, as long as they drop those pesky PED tests.
ghostboner- July 5, 2010 at 12:12 am
@i am dis troy - Yes. Because tapping is for bitches. See in Stockton rules it is all about who is tougher and less scared, and getting put to sleep by not tapping makes you way tougher than choking someone out. Any bitch with an arm can choke somebody, but only a Stockton street certified badass can mutter "Fuck off, homie, nawhaI'msayin?" and flip the bird before slipping off into a land where cannabis is the base of the food pyramid and promotions base your pay on your level of "realness". You must be some kind of pussy ass bitch, cause I thought you knew this shit. Damn homie.