2000 NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling champ Brock Lesnar battled back from a one-year layoff — and a first-round pounding from 1999 NCAA Div II champ Shane Carwin — to retain his UFC heavyweight title belt at UFC 116 in Las Vegas Saturday night.
Lesnar submitted Carwin with an arm triangle choke at 2:19 of the second round.
Here’s how Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports described the action:
The interim Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion rocked champion Brock Lesnar with a crushing left hook early in the first round of their title unification bout and spent the rest of the round pounding on him relentlessly.
Lesnar was pummeled like never before, but he managed to survive the round, and Carwin wasn’t able to do the same in the second. Lesnar took Carwin down early in the second, gained great position and slapped an arm triangle choke on Carwin.
Sherdog.com’s Brian Knapp wrote, “Carwin — who had finished each of his first 12 foes in the first round — had the champion in serious trouble inside the first five minutes, as he buckled him with a right hand, stuffed his first takedown attempt and had him reeling with a left uppercut. Lesnar, in his first appearance since an intestinal disorder nearly ended his career, went down against the cage and absorbed heavy ground-and-pound from Carwin, who let loose with heavy rights and lefts from the top. Lesnar defended well, but round one clearly came down in Carwin’s favor.”
“I was going after the kill there,” Carwin said of his first-round performance. “Brock’s a tough son of a bitch, man. He took that ground-and-pound like nobody else.”
After being out of the Octagon for a year because of serious intestinal problems and surgery, Lesnar said, “This isn’t about me tonight. 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 gentleman, I stand before you a humble champion. And I’m still the toughest SOB around, baby.”
The Lesnar-Carwin match had been a year in the making. The two college wrestling champs had been scheduled to meet at UFC 106 last fall, but Lesnar’s diverticulitis forced a cancellation. UFC allowed Lesnar to hold on to his UFC heavyweight crown, but set up an interim title match between Carwin and Frank Mir. Carwin won the UFC interim heavyweight title by beating Mir at UFC 111 in March, setting the stage for Saturday night’s much-anticipated meeting at UFC 116.
UFC 116’s main event was a battle of college heavyweight champs of the same era who never met on the collegiate wrestling mat. Lesnar, who wrestled for the University of Minnesota, won the 2000 NCAA Div I title; Carwin claimed the 1999 NCAA Div II crown for Western State College in Colorado.
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Yahoo! Sports: Lesnar submits Carwin in a thrilling comeback
Sherdog.com: Lesnar rallies to submit Carwin at UFC 116
USA Today: Lesnar defeats Carwin
InterMat’s UFC Monster: Preview of UFC 116
College Wrestling Examiner slideshow: Brock Lesnar’s college career
ESPN.com, November 2009 (for the original Lesnar-Carwin UFC 106 match-up): Mutual friend Ron Waterman handicaps Shane Carwin-Brock Lesnar
NCAA Heavyweight Champs Yahoo group (photos, info on NCAA Div I heavyweight champions from 1928-2000, including Brock Lesnar)
College Wrestling 101: Links to articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
Follow College Wrestling Examiner Mark Palmer on Twitter