Lesnar vs Carwin: Is it really the biggest Heavyweight battle in UFC history?Posted on July 1, 2010, 05:08 AM by Daniel Cassidy
Since this fight was announced, Dana White has constantly called it "The Biggest Heavyweight fight of all time". UFC 116's PPV buy rates are expected to exceed all others, perhaps even UFC 100. But despite what Dana White says, is UFC 116 really THE biggest Heavyweight bout the organisation has ever had? In my own opinion, I'd like to present some facts and figures about 3 previous Heavyweight bouts, all of which were referred to as "the Biggest" at the time, but now seem to pale in comparison.
Everybody loves and underdog story. People love to see those smaller triumph over a larger opponent. At the time, it didnt come much bigger than Randy Couture vs Tim Sylvia. Couture is a natural LHW, and adds weight to make the cut. Prior to the bout, "Captain America" admitted he told Dana White that nobody "up there" wanted that belt, and that he was confident he could bulk up and take the b, and that's exactly how it happened. Sylvia, the 6 foot 8 giant entered the bout having to cut to make the 265 pound limit, a fry cry from Couture's 225. Yet despite all the roadblocks in hjis way, Couture triumphed. Despite Knocking Sylvia to the floor early in the first, The Maine-iac managed to hold on for 5 rounds, until all 3 judges scored the bout 50-45 in Randy's favour. Couture won the belt, and proved all the doubters wrong, by lasting all 5 rounds, and looking the younger of the two in the process. Aprox. 534,000 PPV's were sold.
Despite Lesnar's massive figure, many doubted he could hang with Randy, at the time a veteran of the sport, with 24 fights to Lesnar's 3. Like before, Lesnar was the bigger of the two. A well regarded college wrestling legend, it seemed Couture had finally met a wrestler better than himself. The only problem however was Lesnar, unlike Tim Sylvia, had the strength of a weight lifter and speed welterweight. Randy was in deep water here. Never one to back down, Couture employed a serious training camp, and at 45, he needed it. Despite all the back and forth trash talking between Lesnar and his nemisis, Frank Mir before(and after) their bout, there was nothing but respect between these two. Both men totally appreciated what the other brought to the table. For Randy though, there was nothing different he could have done, standing toe to toe witth Lesnar is something i would wish on any man. Showing the heart of a champ, Randy pushed Lesnar to the second round, giving him all sorts of trouble, especially in the clinch. But Brock's power proved to much. He dropped and fininshed Randy at 3:07 in the second round. A staggering 1,010,000 tuned in for this card.
Now this is a bout worthy of the biggest build up ever seen. Both men made no secret of their contempt for each other. Frank was the only one at the time to have beaten Brock, catching him in a knee bar in their first bout. So much trash talking had gone on between both parties. Mir promised history would repeat itself this time round, Brock disagreed. At UFC 91, Frank had demolished Brazilian power house Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and won the Interim title in doing so. After winning he turned to Lesnar who was in attendance, and shouted "I want my belt". Not only was this the most intense HW battle to date, it would also see both belts unified. Not only this, but UFC 100 was going to be UFC's biggest card to date, given the company had reached such a momentous number of PPV's. Also featured on the card was a Welterweight title fight between GSP and Thiago Alves, and a Middleweight grudge match between Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. Brock and Frank had a lot to live up to. For all Frank's talk, he couldnt back it up, and was TKO'd in the second round in a rather one sided battle. This card is currently the record holder for highest ever PPV buys, with an amazing 1.6 million.
When you look over the number of PPV buys, it seems unlikely that UFC 116 will top UFC 100, but with the Dana White hype machine in full service, its far from impossible. As for it being "the biggest Heavyweight battle" of all time, i think Dana could be right. Not only does Carwin meet Lesnar in the physicallity stakes, he also has "one punch knockout power". But as well as this, Carwin will have to deal with Lesnar's power, speed and wrestling skills. Whatever happens this Saturday, i think many people will see it as a true Heavyweight war for the Ages.