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Shane Carwin plays spoiler, denies Frank Mir third meeting with Brock Lesnar

Still never taken to the second round, Carwin may be best matchup yet for current champ

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Gregory Payan / AP

Shane Carwin, top, in action against Frank Mir during their heavyweight match at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday, March 27, 2010. Carwin won at 3:28 of the first round to take the UFC interim heavyweight title.

UFC 111: GSP, Carwin Victorious

Shane Carwin nabs the interim heavyweight belt after his KO of Frank Mir in the first round, while Georges St. Pierre maintains his welterweight title.

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Shane Carwin, right, in action against Frank Mir during their heavyweight match at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday, March 27, 2010. Carwin won at 3:28 of the first round to take the UFC interim heavyweight title.

NEWARK, N.J. — Shane Carwin had two strategies going into Saturday’s interim title fight with Frank Mir.

One: Pin Mir up against the fence where his movement would be limited. Two: Make the fight last longer than one round so people will stop asking him about his cardio.

He succeeded in only one.

Carwin (12-0) put on yet another dominant performance Saturday at the Prudential Center, posting his twelfth consecutive first-round win by knocking out Mir (13-5) at the 3:48 mark.

Because the 35-year-old fighter has never fought past the first round in his career, there are some who wonder how he’ll handle it when it happens.

If it happens.

“That was the plan today with Frank,” said Carwin with a grin. “Go into the deeper rounds so you guys would stop asking me those questions.”

Carwin’s string of 12 first-round stoppages is impressive enough, but this last one over Mir is sure to be the one that grabs the world’s attention.

As UFC President Dana White pointed out, Mir was widely considered to be unstoppable heading into Saturday’s interim title fight.

The popular heavyweight had blown past Cheick Kongo with a first-round submission win in December and seemed to be on a collision course with rival Brock Lesnar for a third meeting this summer.

Even Lesnar (4-1) was secretly rooting for Mir from his seat at ringside Saturday night, White said.

“When we first sat down he said, 'This fight isn’t going to last two minutes,'” White said. “He was hoping Frank was going to win because he wanted to fight Frank again. When Shane won he was like, ‘Oh well. Guess I’m fighting Shane.’”

While it seems that mixed martial arts fans were ready to see the grudge match between Lesnar and Mir, there will be no lack of story lines leading up to that fight — which will likely occur early July in Las Vegas.

After all, it was Carwin who was supposed to take on Lesnar in November in the main event of UFC 106 before the champ went down with an intestinal ailment that threatened his fighting career.

The two are regularly compared to one another, although they would probably both say they are very different fighters.

They also have a history with one another, as they both were crowned collegiate wrestling champions — Lesnar a Division-I champ; Carwin a Division-II champ.

According to Carwin, they were actually on each others radar back then but never had the opportunity to compete against one another.

“It’s been a long time coming. I speak about it like it’s destiny,” Carwin said. “Brock and I were both national champions around the same time in wrestling and here we are, finally going to face each other on the biggest stage.”

So while it may have been second choice to some fans, don’t be surprised if the Carwin-Lesnar matchup grows on the MMA community as July approaches.

If nothing else, it does exactly what a title fight is supposed to do — pits the undisputed best two fighters in a division against one another.

“This is a real heavyweight fight,” White said. “With two heavyweights that deserve to be there.”

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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