RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

Brock Lesnar & the UFC 116 Aftermath

By Scott Heritage

Before the heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin, UFC boss Dana White announced that the winner would go on to defend the title against Cain Velasquez next. Who should make for an intriguing match up for Lesnar given his wrestling and stamina? Because Lesnar is such a big draw for the UFC, it makes sense for them to get him back into the cage as quickly as possible, and presuming any damage inflicted by Carwin was superficial, he should be good to go in a matter of months.

What to do with Shane Carwin is an entirely different matter, given that the weaknesses in his game were exposed by Lesnar and that he isn’t getting any younger. After the first round, which admittedly was fast paced, Carwin was completely out of energy. At the age of 35 and with his build, it isn’t that likely that he can improve his cardio too much at this stage. Meaning that he might eventually remain a dangerous contender rather than ever becoming a champion. A good test for both would be to have Carwin take on Dos Santos next, with the winner getting the next title shot. Most likely though the UFC will want to pit him against easier quarry for his first fight back after such a high profile loss.

After his shock victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama, the always colorful Chris Leben called out Wanderlei Silva, the man who he initially replaced in accepting the bout. Depending on what the UFC want to do with Silva this could be a viable option, and would certainly prove to be an entertaining brawl for as long as the Brazilian’s chin held out. Leben, for all his glaring technical errors, has a fairly granite chin and would probably knock Wanderlei out given that neither of them is what you would call a defensive fighter. Which isn’t something the fans will like hearing but never the less is still true, and Wandy either doesn’t have or doesn’t utilize the ground game needed to submit Leben.

Taking a completely different route, the UFC could match Leben up with any of the many either defeated or still waiting middleweight contenders. Yushin Okami or Alan Belcher would both make for good bouts, as would a rematch against Michael Bisping, who beat a slightly less developed Leben back in 2008 to a decision. Selling a rematch between Anderson Silva and Leben would be difficult under any circumstances given the one sided nature of the fight. But should a new middleweight champion be crowned in the near future, Leben might find himself only a fight or two away from getting a title shot if he continues winning.

Chris Lytle looked solid as ever in comprehensively beating Matt Brown and will almost certainly continue his duties as the premier gatekeeper for the welterweight division. Beat Lytle convincingly and you’re among the elite of the division, lose to Lytle and you will remain on the prelims. Lytle probably isn’t ever going to go anywhere in the division, but he is always in entertaining fights and he seems happy enough collecting bonus checks (although ironically he didn’t get one against Brown) so his next opponent is largely irrelevant. It could be any number of fighters looking to break through or even a complete newcomer to the UFC, but either way Lytle will be there to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Matt Brown has now lost two straight, and could well be on his way out of the UFC. His run with the promotion began with a loss to Lytle back in 2007 and the fact that he is back where he started now goes to show that the UFC were perhaps eager to cut him from the roster. If he doesn’t get cut, then another couple of wins on the prelims against lower tier welterweights will be needed before Brown gets another high profile opponent.

In avenging his previous loss to Krzysztof Soszynski, Stephan Bonnar showed everyone little about him that we didn’t already know. He comes to brawl and he’s as tough as old boots. Unless he can begin to implement other facets to his game, he will remain an entertaining but limited fighter, forever doomed to inconsistency and therefore little progression up the UFC light heavyweight ladder. Forrest Griffin at one time fought tooth and nail with Bonnar to eke out a razor thin decision, and he went on to develop his skills and win a title. There isn’t any reason why Bonnar hasn’t done something similar. Next for Bonnar will probably be another fighter he can stand and trade with, given that his losses have all come to fighters who are now either among the elite in the division or no longer with the UFC.

Krzysztof Soszynski looked out of sorts against Bonnar at UFC 116, and his perceived advantage in the striking department seemed to be missing. Having fought as a heavyweight in the past making weight might have been an issue, and a move up remains an option. Next though he will probably be pitted against a lower tier light heavyweight he should have little trouble in beating. Soszynski seems to struggle in higher profile fights, and perhaps loses his nerve against fighters with a big reputation.

Recent Ultimate Fighter alumnus Brendan Schaub looked impressive in stopping Chris Tuchscherer, who we are told has the nickname “the crowbar.” From his recent performances though a more fitting moniker for Tuchscherer might be “the sponge” or “the cheap suit” because all he has shown of late is his wrestling ability. A recipe for success in the lower leagues but not nearly enough to beat anyone who can defend a take down. A win over Tim Hague recently will probably keep Chris Tuchscherer on the books for now, but there aren’t many heavyweights currently in the UFC many would back him against. A bout against Jon Madsen would make for a close encounter, and with the wrestling of either perhaps neutralized, might provide a stand up battle.

Schaub on the other hand has shown rapid progression since his time on the Ultimate Fighter, and how possesses sharp striking and at the very least an awareness of the ground game. Two things which many heavyweights never fully get to grips with. If the UFC are eager to bring Schaub along slowly, then a couple of bouts against fellow former TUF contestants are probably on the cards. James McSweeney for example being a good option. If they think he can handle himself against more high profile competition, then fights with the likes of Stefan Struve, Gilbert Yvel or even Pat Barry might be on the cards in the near future.

Advertise Now On RSR

Purchase Boxing Interviews Of A Lifetime

Leave a Reply