Events like this don't come along every month; in fact they are quite rare. Two straps on the line, star power, and a ton of hype go a long way for both the hardcore, and the casual fan of the sport.
Of course all eyes will be on UFC 111 in the MMA world this evening. Two title fights have a way of captivating the entire community, especially when one of those defending their title is Georges St. Pierre.
It is the co-main event that will have some very unique and very involved spectators looking on. As most fans are already aware, UFC HW Champ Brock Lesnar has been sidelined for an extended period of time due to his fight to stay healthy, and to regain his championship form.
Unable to defend his belt, an interim match has been made between HW B-52 bomber Shane Carwin, and the ever improving BJJ ace and former champ Frank Mir.
So while these two juggernauts do battle, one would have to imagine Brock will be watching very closely, so as to gauge and size up who will be his next prospective opponent when he returns to the Octagon to finally defend his title.
One of these men he knows quite well. Mir and Lesnar is old news in MMA circles, and Carwin has been making his presence known in the division. Now the two will figure out who the interim champ is while Brock rehabilitates. Brock will have to wait for his chance to regain sole ownership of his throne.
While Brock would surely prefer to fight who ever turns out to be the better fighter, the bad blood between he and Mir can not be overlooked. It was said some time ago, that for one night Brock will become a Frank Mir fan.
Lesnar will root for Mir against Carwin in hopes that he has another chance at smashing his adversary and further prove his dislike for a man who has truly become his nemesis in the division. One has to wonder though, on the other hand is Carwin's stand up something that may prove intimidating to a champ like Brock who has never faced a striker as devastating as Carwin?
In the end, speculation is one thing, but taking a man at his word is a safer bet. Suffice to say, the ailing HW king Lesner would prefer to fight out one of the greatest trilogies in MMA history with his old friend Frank Mir. But again, Mir must first find his way through the deep dangerous waters he will wade into at UFC 111 with Shane Carwin.
Either way, expect Brock Lesnar to be on the edge of his seat with anticipation watching not only tonight's elite HW match up, but the next step in his storied career unfold before his very eyes. No one on the planet is more interested in this fight than the champ, guaranteed.
Two other HW prospects that will be looking on with piqued interest will be the vicious striker Junior Dos Santos, and elite evolutionary grappler Cain Velasquez. One of the two is more than likely to see their next scheduled fight be effected heavily by the outcome of Mir vs. Carwin.
While the winner of Mir vs. Carwin will be heading on to unify or lose their interim title in a war with Brock, the fighter who falls tonight will have to regroup and rebuild. The foundation of that process will more than likely be laid with loser squaring off with Dos Santos or Velasquez.
See both Dos Santos and Velasquez have the momentum of an avalanche behind them, and that momentum is barrelling down on the loser of this evening's interim title bout. Both fighters have unique skills that would prove difficult tests for either of tonight's competitors.
So one would imagine if the old phrase "styles make fights" proves true in matchmaking, who ever loses tonight will determine which fighter will be asked to step up. For example, if Carwin loses, would it make more sense to offer him to Dos Santos, as the two are both elite strikers which would make for an exciting match up?
On the other hand if Mir loses, how would a fight between he and Cain go? Consider that both have ever evolving striking, but both are wizards on the ground in their own respect. Mir a BJJ master, and Carwin and unstoppable force of wrestling prowess. The two could prove a match made in heaven as far as fights go.
Then again, Mir was the first ever to stop Dos Santos' mentor and leader Minotauro Nogueira. So the story line of pitting Mir against Big Nog's student in Dos Santos might prove quite a compelling scenario. Who wouldn't like to see a young lion avenge his masters loss against the man who put him down? That is of course heavily romanticized but the story is there for the making.
In the end, the main point is both Cain and Junior are on a seemingly unstoppable freight train of success, and surely the UFC intends to continue to challenge them both as they groom one or both of them to challenge for the title as soon as possible. And while one man must emerge from the cage having been bested this evening, nothing is taken away from the loser with regard to talent.
Who ever wins, and who ever loses, both Carwin and Mir are elite and one fight wont change that. So if the UFC is looking to further test its two promising up and coming young lions, either man would prove a stout test for any young fighter looking to take their next step to prove themselves in this sport.
So again, this evening has the entire sport of MMA pulsating with anticipation. But the three fight fans with the most at stake in tonight's fights are Lesnar, Velasquez, and Dos Santos. The HW division has a tangled and complicated web woven around actually five fighters who's careers and talents are all ensnared in an inescapable symbiotic relationship.
It is not often that a division has such clear cut challengers, champions, and direct links between so many fighters. Tonight is the first step of many with regard to sorting out and rearranging what has become a captivating journey for every man involved. It will be fun to see Brock's reaction and the future of the HW division unfold after this evening's event comes to pass.
Written on March 27, 2010