Sunday, July 4, 2010

Brock Lesnar as the White Shaq of MMA

After watching him come back from an early pounding to choke out Shane Carwin with an arm-triangle, I'm ready to officially anoint Brock Lesnar the title of "White Shaq of MMA".

courtesy of UFC

This is the story of how it all went down...

Lesnar showed such an improved ground game against Carwin that it was hard to see where his wrestling ended and jiu-jitsu started. The way he smothered Carwin came as no surprise, but his ability to calmly work him into an arm-triangle choke was something else.

Watching Brock Lesnar try to sweep, then reverse and spin his way out from underneath Shane Carwin was like watching Shaq breakdance or execute his patented "Black Tornado".

Watching him dominate Carwin in the second round with his smoothly blended wrestling/jiu-jitsu game was like watching Shaq school Baby Shaq with a polished low-post game despite taking some lumps along the way.

Staggering Brock Lesnar with a hard left uppercut a minute into their UFC 116 showdown was Shane Carwin's way of asking Lesnar what his style was.

From the start of the fight, until the 50-second mark of the second round, Carwin imposed his fighting method on Lesnar. He had looked invincible in March, smashing Frank Mir senseless with a barrage of punches from the clinch and above.

But he was even scarier in giving Lesnar a sound ass-kicking in the first round of their heavyweight title fight.

Shane Carwin engineered a sound game plan, establishing his jab early and looking light on his feet. When Lesnar aimed to take him down 31 seconds into the bout, Carwin simply brushed him off, with a knee to the chest as added insult.

The message was clear : Carwin was officially born as a monstruously powerful striker who would use his impressive wrestling pedigree primarily to gain the upper hand in the clinch and defend takedowns. This was how he would live and die.

There was only one problem : Brock Lesnar had an answer, and it was more than convincing.

I'm not sure if Brock Lesnar's submitting Shane Carwin with an arm-triangle choke 2:18 into Round 2 had to do with :

a. Carwin's fatigue
b. Carwin's lack of a ground game or
c. Brock Lesnar's expertise.

I'm guessing :

d. all of the above.

Going bonkers on Lesnar in the first 3:10 seemed to have sapped Carwin of the gas he would need to continue fighting at an intense pace.

This probably allowed Lesnar to escape from underneath 45 seconds later.

This probably allowed Lesnar to wear him down in the clinch for the rest of the first.

This probably kept him from actively taking the fight to Lesnar at the start of the second.

But give Brock Lesnar all the credit in the world. By all accounts, he had been working extremely hard to come back from diverticulitis and expand his fighting capabilities.

Against Shane Carwin, it all paid off.

Lesnar sensed that Carwin didn't have anything left in the tank and boldly attempted another takedown 49 seconds into Round 2.

From half guard, he pinned Carwin and slipped in an arm triangle under Carwin's neck. He then smothered, punched and exploded his way to full mount.

Side control from the right side of Carwin came next. From there, he simply squeezed tighter as he improved his leverage by rotating his body position counterclockwise.

Seconds later, Lesnar forced Carwin to tap.

This submission didn't come against an Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or a Fabricio Werdum. But at worst, it was Lesnar's patiently applying what he's learned, in a professional manner.

And I think he'll do even better if he's faced with a similar opportunity in the future.

At that point, he'll be demonstrating his improved chops under the title of "White Shaq of MMA".

P.S. If you can't get enough Brock Lesnar, check out :

1. The Brock Lesnar-Sable Sex Tape
2. How Vince McMahon robbed Brock Lesnar's soul
3. Brock Lesnar, GSP and Co. gangbang the NCAA


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