Brock Lesnar: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of his UFC 116 Victory

Nov 15, 2008 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - UFC's BROCK LESNAR celebrates his victory over Champion RANDY COUTURE in their title fight Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. Lesnar won the title and the fight in 3:07 of the second round after the referee stopped the fight Photo via Newscom

I wanted to chew on UFC 116 for a few days before I really made any statements about it. The event took place last Saturday and featured the heavyweight collision between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin.

Lesnar won the fight by second round submission after taking a pummeling from Carwin in round one. It was a compelling fight and very entertaining, but I think Lesnar is garnering a little too much praise for his performance. While you have to give credit where credit is due, as he won the fight, Lesnar looked far from polished. Here is a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from his title defense.

The Good: Obviously the good came in the win. He survived a hail storm and still came out in the second round and was aggressive. Lesnar also showed improved skills on the ground, as he scored a takedown and transitioned into mount and then into a head-and-arm choke from side control. These were all things he probably couldn’t do two years ago. I was also impressed with the way Lesnar handled himself after the fight. He seems to have embraced a little humanity since his health scare in November.

The Bad: Lesnar showed that his stand-up skills still have a long way to go. His sheer size has allowed him to get by with his punching against grapplers like Frank Mir and Randy Couture, but to remain champion, he will need to greatly improve on his striking. If Lesnar was to develop a solid jab or just crisper combinations and kicks, he would be a deadly force as the size of his fists would cause major damage to any opponent.

The Ugly: Am I the only one that saw Lesnar running for his life in the first round? I know he needed to weather the storm, but it was clear that he was concerned during the first round, and for good reason. While other fighters have run during prior fights and will do so in the future, the whole mystique of Lesnar is that he is this massive force that we are all supposed to be scared of or intimidated by. To me, Lesnar went from a guy I thought may be unbeatable to someone that is very beatable. The biggest sign of that was when Carwin stuffed Lesnar’s takedown attempt in the first round. That was the one area I never thought Lesnar would struggle with. Now Brock knows that he can’t run wild over anyone he fights and how he handles that mentally will be important. Also, while the choke and technique were impressive, Carwin was a standing corpse when the second round started. I may have been able to choke him out. Okay, not really, but you get my point.

Now maybe this is me still bitter over nailing my pick only to see Carwin gassing out and losing, but I think every heavyweight in the UFC division picked their head up after that fight and said “Lesnar can be beaten.” Cain Velasquez has to be foaming for a quick shot at Lesnar before he can continue to develop more skills.

I have respect for what Lesnar went through the last year and the beating he took Saturday night, but I think his win over Carwin cast as much doubt on him as it did praise in my eyes.

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