Published Saturday, July 3, 2010 | 5:31 p.m.
Updated Saturday, July 3, 2010 | 9:31 p.m.
The highly anticipated heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin finally went down Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
It proved to be worth the wait.
In a fight that had to be postponed for seven months after Lesnar (5-1) came down with a serious stomach ailment, Carwin (12-0) looked to be in charge early with a series of knockdowns in the first round.
Lesnar ended up surviving the early onslaught however, and seized momentum when he took Carwin down immediately to start the second round.
The end came at the 2:19 mark of that round, when Lesnar transitioned into an arm triangle that handed Carwin the first loss of his professional career.
“I just had to weather the storm,” Lesnar said. “He’s got some heavy shots. I just had to hang back. I knew he was getting tired. Each shot was less dramatic than the other. I just thought I’d let him go.”
In a display very different from his behavior following his win over Frank Mir a year ago, Lesnar jumped to the top of the cage before stating his comeback was less about himself and more about those who had helped him along the way.
“This isn’t about me,” Lesnar said. “This is about my family, doctors, training partners, training staff. Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you a humble champion.
“But I’m still the toughest ‘SOB’ around baby.”
Carwin was forced to agree.
“I was going after the kill there, Brock is a tough son of a (expletive),” Carwin sad. “He took that ground and pound like nobody else. My hat’s off to him.”
In the co-main event, Chris Leben (21-6) scored his second upset win in the last 14 days, submitting Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-2) with a triangle choke in the third round.
Serving as a late replacement for the injured Wanderlei Silva, Leben staggered Akiyama multiple times during the fight before latching on the final submission attempt with just 20 seconds left in the fight.
“Is that what you came to see?” asked a beat up Leben to the crowd after the fight.
The win makes three in a row for the 29-year-old middleweight, a nice bounce back after losing two in a row to Michael Bisping and Jake Rosholt before that.
Finally back towards the top of the division, Leben offered his thoughts on who his next opponent should be.
“Wanderlei Silva was supposed to fight tonight,” Leben said. “I think I should fight him next.”
Brock Lesnar (5-1) vs. Shane Carwin (12-1)
Round One: Both guys feeling each other out to start. Carwin pumps a jab. Now Lesnar pumping the jab. Lesnar shoots in hard for takedown and Carwin lands a right hand. Lesnar pushes forward with the shot but Carwin stays on his feet. Big left uppercut lands for Carwin and Lesnar is hurt covering up against the fence. Lesnar trying to run away but Carwin is right on him dropping bombs. Lesnar is down again. He kicks Carwin off for a second but Carwin is right back on top. Lesnar trying desperately to cover up. Carwin has him on his back, shoved up against the fence. Crowd chanting Carwin’s name as he stays on top of Lesnar and looks to posture back up. Big elbows come down from Carwin. And now a hard left hand. Referee Rosenthal right there ready to stop the fight. Carwin stands up for a second and then comes down hard again. There is still 90 seconds left in the round. Lesnar now finally back to his feet with a minute left. Lesnar shoves Carwin’s back to the cage in the clinch until the end of the round.
Round Two: Lesnar smiling as second round starts. Lesnar winds up for a big straight right and Carwin beats him to the punch with a quick shot. Lesnar gets low and now he’s got the takedown. Lesnar in half-guard with four minutes to go. Now Lesnar moves into full mount and then straight to an arm triangle. Carwin’s face turning red as Lesnar rotates around to tighten the hold. Carwin taps. Lesnar wins via submission at 2:19 of second round.
Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-2) vs. Chris Leben (21-6)
Round One: Leben throws a leg kick, Akiyama catches and Leben ends up on the ground. Akiyama unable to take advantage though and Leben gets back to his feet. More leg kicks from Leben. Leben swarms him with a flurry and Akiyama looks to slip in a counter left. Just misses. Now Leben counters with a left hok of his own, then more leg kicks. Referee Dean has to step in now as Akiyama catches Leben with an accidental groin shot. Leben is better and the fight continues. Leben looks for the leg kick again and Akiyama counters beautifully with a right hook. Spinning backfist grazes harmlessly off Leben but now Akiyama shoots and takes him down. Leben working off his back, looks for the armbar but can’t lock it in. Again Leben looking for that armbar but Akiyama breaks it and now he transitions into an armbar attempt on Leben. He’s got Lben’s head and left arm trapped between his legs and he’s looking to straighten out that right. Leben prevents it and Akiyama ends up back in half-guard. Akiyama working to pass guard but Leben won’t allow it and he’s back to his feet. Akiyama lands a hard straight right but Leben walks right through it and lands a left hook of his own. Akiyama definitely got rocked by that but he ends up slamming Leben down as a very eventful round ends.
Round Two: Leben slips on a head kick but back to his feet quickly. Akiyama ducks under a punch and looks to trip Leben to the ground but can’t. Spinning backfist lands for Akiyama. Leben answers with a superman punch. Flurry lands for Akiyama but Leben weathers it and lands a counter left. Leben swarming but Akiyama catches him again and Leben is stumbling. He’s doing a zombie walk but he keps his hands going at the same time and now Akiyama is hurt too. Leben’s hands are down and he’s inviting Akiyama to bang with him. They continue to throw and end up against the fence. Akiyama able to secure the takedown and the pace finally slows down. Leben works his way to the fence and trying to get up but he’s clearly hurt. Leben eating right hands from Akiyama as he uses the fence to get back to his feet. They break with 50 seconds to go. Head kick lands for Leben and then a jab. Another jab. Akiyama backing up to the fence and has to clinch to survive. Leben raises his arms as round comes to an end.
Round Three: Both fighters smiling to begin final round. Great body kick lands for Leben. Akiyama wanting a takedown but can’t put much behind it. Head kick lands for Leben. Akiyama catches the leg kick this time and drops Leben with a counter. Akiyama in Leben’s guard now and Leben still throwing non-stop from the ground. Leben now gets his legs high and looking for armbar. Akiyama trying to shake him off and actually lifts Leben’s inverted body off the ground. Submission attempt breaks and Akiyama moves into full mount, but Leben shrugs him back off into half-guard. Two minutes left. Good elbows from bottom position for Leben. Akiyama is staying on top but Leben is the more active fighter. He locks in a triangle choke and Akiyama has to tap. Leben wins via submission at 4:40 of third round.
Chris Lytle (39-17-4) vs. Matt Brown (13-9)
Round One: Brown almost eats a huge overhand right early as he looks for a kick. Both fighters take turns with their backs against the fence in the clinch. It breaks and Brown come forward aggressively with a hard knee. Back to the clinch and Brown turns it into a takedown. Lytle transitions into an armbar attempt but Brown yanks his arm out. Brown rolls into an anaconda choke. It’s in deep but Lytle survives and works back to his feet. Brown comes forward looking to clinch again and Lytle lands a nice left hook. Brown throws a jab at the end of the round just as Lytle comes forward. The shot drops him but the round ends immediately.
Round Two: Overhand right by Lytle to start the round. Brown answers with a hard left hook but Lytle weathers it and takes him down straight into full mount. Lytle gives up the mount and swings into side control and rolls straight into a mounted triangle and then an armbar hold that forces Brown to tap. Lytle wins via submission at 2:02 of second round.
Krzysztof Soszynski (20-11-1) vs. Stephan Bonnar (15-7)
Round One: Soszynski backs up Bonnar to the cage immediately, throwing looping hooks with both hands. Bonnar avoids most of them though and gets back to the center of the octagon. Bonnar catches a leg kick and drops Soszynski with a straight left. Soszynski ties him up from the bottom immediately. He rolls over, gets back to his feet and has Bonnar’s back to the cage again. He connects with a few of those hooks before Bonnar is able to tie him up in a clinch. Bonnar swings Soszynski around and puts his back to the cage now and lands a hard knee. These two are going at it again. Bonnar already bleeding from a cut near his right eye. Soszynski avoid a spinning back kick from Bonnar and actually chases him across the octagon. Huge body kick from Bonnar followed by a right hook and it’s Soszynski who has to work into the clinch. Bonnar looks for the single leg takedown, Soszynski defends then catches him with a knee and a right hook. Bonnar backs up to the fence again and they both just stand in the pocket and trade shots to end the round.
Round Two: Bonnar works the jab early, Soszynski comes back with a hard straight hand. Bonnar gets tagged by a hook and he’s retreating quickly. Soszynski running after him and Bonnar is able to lock him up in a clinch. Now Bonnar unloading shots with Soszynski’s back to the cage. Soszynski is hurt now. Bonnar letting his hands go and now throws a high head kick that connects. Soszynski starts to circle away and Bonnar catches him with a knee again. Bonnar now looking for the takedown and he’s got it with three minutes still to go in the round. Soszynski works back to his feet with Bonnar latched on to his back. Bonnar drops him again with another one of those knees and Soszynski is down covering up. Bonnar looking to finish. He’s throwing one left hook after another. Soszynski can’t get him off and Yamasaki calls it off. Amazing fight. Bonnar wins via TKO 3:08 of second round.
George Sotiropoulos (13-2) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (21-5)
Round One: Sotiropoulos lands a nice counter after looking to catch a kick from Pellegrino. Sotiropoulos ending a lot of flurries with a big overhand right. It’s a big left uppercut that connects here though and Pellegrino goes down. Sotiropoulos looks to take advantage but Pellegrino avoids a submission hold and gets back to his feet. Another good left hook lands for Sotiropoulos. Pellegrino has to go for a takedown and he puts Sotiropoulos on his back but Sotiropoulos gets right back up when Pellegrino hesitates to get in his guard. A straight right lands for Sotiropoulos followed by a left hook. Pellegrino ducks under a punch and takes Sotiropoulos to the ground but Sotiropoulol is dangerous there too. He gets his ankles above Pellegrino’s head and looks to set up a submission. We’ll see a second round.
Round Two: Pellegrino goes for an early superman punch. Sotiropoulos ducks under it and latches on to Pellegrino’s left leg. He works it into a takedown. Sotiropoulos doing lots of damage out of Pellegrino’s half-guard, mostly with elbows. More hard elbows from Sotiropoulos. Pellegrino scrambles to the fence and eventually works his way back up but Sotiropoulos still smothering him. Pellegrino finally gets Sotiropoulos off him with 30 seconds left. Tough round for Pellegrino ends.
Round Three: Pellegrino sticks a nice left jab early. Sotiropoulos answersing with his jab, snapping Pellegrino’s head back two, three times in a row. Pellegrino stumbled by a hard right hook. Sotiropoulos swarms him and Pellegrino shoots low and takes him down. Good elbow from Pellegrino in top position. And a good right hand. Sotiropoulos gets his ankles around Pellegrino’s neck again, basically making it impossible for him to posture up at all. Pellegrino lifts Sotiropoulos off the ground and slams him to break the hold and both fighters back to their feet with a minute to go. Pellegrino finishes the fight letting his hands go before catching Sotiropoulos with a hard knee. Sotiropoulos goes down right as the round ends. Sotiropoulos wins via unanimous decision.
Brendan Schaub (7-1) vs. Chris Tuchscherer (18-3)
Round One: Low, wide stance from Schaub to start off the fight. Tuchscherer throws a leg kick but eats a counter right from Schaub in the process. Huge straight right by Schuab puts Tuchscherer on his back. Tuchscherer clings on to Schaub’s leg but Schaub throws a few more to the side of his head and this one is over. Schaub wins via TKO at 1:07 of first round.
Seth Petruzelli (14-6) vs. Ricardo Romero (11-1)
Round One: Petruzelli with an immediate leg kick to start the fight. Good right hand lands for Petruzelli. Romero with shoots for a takedown, nice sprawl by Petruzelli to stay on his feet. Another right hook lands for Petruzelli and his corner urges him to swarm. He does but Romero covers up and regains his composure. A huge combination by Petruzelli, left hook, right hook and then a head kick. Romero survives through and lands his first combination of the night with a series of jabs. Petruzelli staying aggressive, Romero weathers it and wrestles him down. Petruzelli moves quickly into top position though and starts raining down shots. Romero on his back and taking a lot of damage. He stays tough and reverses the position though and now moves quickly into full mount. Petruzelli opts to give up his back with 50 seconds left. Romero transitions into an armbar attempt but Petruzelli breaks it and drops him again left uppercut. Romero hanging onto Petruzelli’s leg for dear life, but now reverses the position again and nearly ends the fight in the final seconds of the round with a rear naked choke. Crazy, crazy round ends.
Round Two: Petruzelli starting second round aggressively as first. Romero goes for the takedown, Petruzelli sprawls and now rolls into a kimura attempt. Doesn’t look like he’s going to finish it, but now he transitions into an armbar. Romero frees himself though and now has top position on Petruzelli. Petruzelli looks for a triangle attempt from the bottom. Romero breaks it and now works into a crucifix position and lands some hard elbows to Petruzelli’s face. He transitions into an armbar that forces Petruzelli to tap immediately. Romero wins via submission at 3:05 of second round.
Kendall Grove (14-7) vs. Goran Reljic (8-2)
Round One: Reljic looks for a head kick. Grove blocks it away then looks for his own that won’t land. Leg kick lands for Reljic. Pretty even standup here, as both guys deflecting most of the other’s offense. Reljic finally looks to take the fight to the ground and he gets it there with 1:45 remaining. Reljic doesn’t want to be in Grove’s guard, he stands up over him and Grove lands a huge upkick to Reljic’s face that knocks him down. Reljic quickly back to his feet and the action ends up in a clinch on the side of the fence.
Round Two: Reljic lands a hard counter left hook early in the second round that stumbles Grove. Grove responds by looking for a takedown. Reljic looks for a kimura attempt, can’t quite get it and ends up standing over Grove again. Grove throws those dangerous upkicks again. Reljic avoids them and gets down into his guard. Reljic kneeling in Grove’s guard but he might be taking the more damage of the two, as Grove throwing some effective elbows from the bottom. Lack of offense from both guys forces referee Yamasaki to stand it back near end of round.
Round Three: Grove dictating where the fight is early in the third. Reljic shoots for a takedown but Grove sprawls nicely and stays upright. Reljic eats a counter right hand from Grove. Reljic again looks for the single leg takedown. Grove turns it into a guillotine attempt and then a hard knee as he lets go of the hold. He’s dominating the round. Leg kick for Reljic lands and again he shoots for the single leg. Grove backing up on one leg and uses the cage to stay up. With 1:15 left Reljic wrestles Grove to the canvas and looks to steal the round. He works into side control but he’s just controlling the fight, he’s not doing any damage. Grove wins via split decision.
Gerald Harris (16-2) vs. Dave Branch (6-1)
Round One: Lots of patience shown by both fighters early, as neither tries any offense for first 40 seconds. Harris with a low stance, circling his right hand in front of him. Harris comes forward and lands a right hook, Branch recovers and throws a head kick that backs Harris away. Harris again shoots in out of nowhere with a straight right that lands. He’s negating Branch’s reach advantage with his speed. He catches Branch with a left hook that sends him reeling backwards. Harris goes for the kill with an overhand right that just misses. Another left uppercut lands for Harris and his momentum pushes Branch’s back to the fence. Harris gets a late takedown to finish the round.
Round Two: Branch pumps his jab to set up a big right hook that just misses. Harris rushes him and puts him on his back. Branch is a jiu-jitsu guy and dangerous on his back so this might not be all bad for him. He’s not faring much better there than he was on the feet though, as Harris postures up in his guard and knocks him with two hard rights. Branch works back to his feet and it’s back to a clinch with Harris’s back to the fence. With 90 seconds left, Harris puts Branch on his back for the second time in the round. Branch works to his knees and leaves himself wide open when he puts his hands down to push himself back to his feet. He eats a hard right uppercut for it but the guy is showing a terrific chin.
Round Three: Branch pulls guard early in the final round and was close to locking in a triangle but Harris stays composed and ends up kneeling in his guard. Branch works back to his feet and they separate. Branch looks for a takedown, Harris defends and just ties his arms up with his back to the fence. Referee Dean separates the action and Branch comes forward immediately with a hard front kick. Harris decides to look for a takedown. Branch actually jumps up and tries to pull guard again. Bad idea. Harris body slams him and the force from the impact knocks Branch out. Harris wins via knockout at 2:35 of third round.
Daniel Roberts (10-1) vs. Forrest Petz (24-8)
First Round: Roberts shoots in for an early takedown, Petz backs up to the cage. Roberts gets him to his butt but Petz gets his legs back under him and gets back to his feet. Roberts goes for another takedown after a few clinches and gets Petz to his back this time. He takes his back almost immediately and is looking for the rear-naked with a minute left in the round. Roberts comes close to locking it in but Petz keeps his chin down and survives the round.
Round Two: Good leg kick from Petz to start the round. He looks wary of the takedown attempt now though, hesitant to throw anything that will leave him an easy target. Roberts goes for the single leg and Petz goes down pretty easy. Roberts again to his back and looking for the choke. Roberts again comes close but Petz hangs on and now reverses the position. Roberts gets to his feet and Petz catches him with a right hook that buckles his knees. Roberts retreating, ducks in for a desperate single leg takedown and Petz goes down.
Round Three: Petz sticking his jab out, trying to set up some offense here in the third. Roberts throws a high head kick that goes over Petz’s head. Petz lands maybe the hardest shot of the night with a counter left hook as Roberts was throwing a leg kick. Roberts didn’t like that and looks to take the fight back to the ground with a single leg takedown and he does. No takedown defense at all being displayed by Petz. With 30 seconds left Roberts moves into full mount. He can’t get the finish but shouldn’t matter. Roberts wins via split decision.
Jon Madsen (6-0) vs. Karlos Vemola (7-1)
Round One: Vemola leads with a big overhand right that Madsen blocks. Vemola straight to a takedown attempt but Madsen defends that as well and lands a nice overhand right of his own after the two break. Vemola goes for a single leg takedown again immediately but Madsen defends. Madsen moves into the clinch and puts Vemola’s back to the fence and holds him there for about a minute until referee Yamasaki separates them. Vemola again shoots for the takedown but Madsen defending all of them easily at least for now. Madsen back in the clinch, gets low and wrestles Vemola to his back to finish the round.
Round Two: Madsen goes for the takedown to start the second round and gets Vemola to the ground. Not a lot going on here. Madsen presses Vemola up against the fence and Vemola just lying there, tying up Madsen’s arms but really not making much of an attempt to get up. With two minutes left Yamasaki stands them up and Vemola is exhausted. He again throws the big overhand right that Madsen sees coming a mile away. Fighters spend rest of the round hugging in the clinch.
Round Three: Madsen looks for another early takedown, Vemola scrambles and stays on his feet. Vemola throwing more, Madsen wary of a big shot, picks his spot and takes Vemola down. Again, Madsen lying on Vemola against the cage but not doing any damage. Madsen works into side control and Yamasaki is still threatening to stand them up. He does with a minute left and Vemola looks for a late guillotine when Madsen shoots in. He doesn’t get it and the fight goes the distance. Madsen wins via unanimous decision.
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].