Brock Lesnar proved he can take a punch but Shane Carwin couldn't prove he can go more than one round in UFC 116, with Lesnar winning by an arm-triangle choke from the mount in round two and retaining the UFC Heavyweight title.
Lesnar Retains Title
The first round was all Carwin as he caught Lesnar with an uppercut that had Lesnar retreating and cowering before falling on his back. Pinned to the cage, he covered up as Carwin unleashed blow after blow to his face, opening cuts below both eyes. At times Lesnar was doing nothing more than keeping his hands by his face, but wisely the ref didn't stop the fight. After several minutes Lesnar was able to get to his feet and pin Carwin to the cage, where neither fighter had the strength to do anything. It was a clear 10-8 round for Carwin.
In round two, however, Lesnar quickly took Carwin down and methodically moved into mount position, with Carwin too tired to impede his progress. Lesnar left the mount and shifted to a judo side mount with Carwin's neck and left arm in a choke, which didn't seem to be locked on until it was too late for Carwin, who tapped.
In coming back from a near-death experience last year and surviving Carwin's full assault in the first round, Lesnar shows tremendous resiliency, and should gain respect among MMA doubters for his increasing use of technique in finishing Carwin. He also answered questions about his chin, which seems to be as solid as anyone's in MMA. He still needs work, as evidenced by his poor first round, but seems to be advancing in the sport, and "growing into" his role as the top fighter.
As for Carwin, he may turn out to be another fighter who falls hard after his first loss. Exposed as a fighter who can't go more than one round, and losing his aura of unstoppability, it's unlikely he will start another long winning streak. Of course, a lot of this has to do with the level of competition he is facing now, which is unlike the first ten fighters he fought. Still, the first loss seems to put doubts into fighters, and his career trajectory might follow that of Brett Rogers, a similar big puncher.
Leben Defeats Akiyama late
Yoshihiro Akiyama took the first round as both fighters had submission chances that didn't come very close, but Akiyama controlled the ground game. The second round was wild as both fighters traded shots that dazed the other, until both were nearly out on their feet. I scored this round a tie. The third round saw Akiyama taking down Leben and on top, which normally would give him the round and the win, but Leben started to score from the bottom, with dozens of repeated fists and elbows, that convinced me Leben deserved to win the round. As it turns out, this wouldn't have mattered as most had scored the fight 2-0 for Akiyama at this point. But Leben latched on a triangle that Akiyama couldn't escape from and won the fight. The triangle is really back in business lately!
Leben beats Brown with fantastic submission
Chris Lytle had by far the best submission of the night, beating Matt Brown in the second round. Lytle was caught in a choke while controlling on side mount in the first, but it was clearly not going anywhere when Lytle hadn't tapped after about 15 seconds. He broke free but probably lost the round as Brown used kicks well in standup, too. In the second round Lytle took Brown down and got mount, then side mount with a guillotine choke, and transitioned beautifully into a mounted triangle, which included a vicious arm bar that forced Brown to verbally submit as he was unable to tap (one arm in the triangle, the other being bent backwards by the armbar).
Bonnar toughs it out against Soszynski
Stephan Bonnar survived a tough first round, losing it clearly to Krzysztof Soszynski who wanted to go for the kill in the second round. But Bonnar caught him with a vicious knee that changed the fight completely, and Bonnar rained down punches until the referee stopped the fight.
Sotiropoulos beats Pellegrino
George Sotiropoulos cleanly won the first two rounds but got into a bit of trouble in the third, but not enough to put the outcome of the fight in question. In the end, two UFC judges scored it 30-27 for Sotiropoulos anyway. At the very end of the fight, Pelligrino knew he was down 2-0 and needed to finish, but he waited too long; with 5 seconds left he dropped Sotiropoulos with a knee and just as he was jumping on him to follow up, the fight was over. Had he acted 20 seconds earlier he might have had a chance of a huge comeback.
Brendan Schaub defeats Chris Tuchscherer in round one (punches)
Ricardo Romero defeats Seth Petruzelli in round two (armbar)
Kendall Grove defeats Goran Reljic by split decision: 30-27, 29-28, 28-29
Gerald Harris defeats Dave Branch in round three by KO via body slam
Daniel Roberts defeats Forrest Petz by split decision
Jon Madsen defeats Karlos Vemola by unanimous 30-27 decisions