UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin Punch Drunk Preview
After more than eight month of waiting, this event is finally here. People have been waiting to see Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin step into the cage together since October, and now it’s coming to fruition. Of course, last weekend’s results up the ante even more; with Fabricio Werdum upsetting Fedor Emelianenko, the throne long occupied by “The Last Emperor” has been vacated, and one of these behemoths will stake their claim Saturday night.
Jon Madsen (5-0-0) vs. Karlos Vemola (7-0-0)
On a card headlined by an unbeaten heavyweight who has never been out of the first round, the opening encounter on the event schedule features Karlos Vemola.
An undefeated Czech who has smashed his way to seven straight wins and the Cage Fighters Championship’s heavyweight crown, Vemola’s dominance is reminiscent of Shane Carwin’s climb to UFC stardom. Simply put, he’s dominated everyone he’s faced and could earn himself a place on the heavyweight fast-track with another impressive showing.
Opposite Vemola will be Jon Madsen, the TUF 10 alum who has managed to grind out two decision victories after his time in the TUF house. While his wrestling has always kept him in the game and brought him five straight wins, this will be the toughest test to date for the HIT Squad member.
The same can be said for Vemola, but “The Terminator” has shown an ability to finish fights at every stop, while Madsen relies on scoring more points and grinding down his opposition. If he can do that for fifteen minutes against a fighter with Vemola’s power, I’ll be impressed.
Daniel Roberts (9-1-0) vs. Forrest Petz (17-7-0)
Heading into his UFC debut, Daniel Roberts talked a whole lot of junk about finishing John Howard in the first round. Everything was going okay until Howard did what he told me he would do – punch Roberts in the mouth and end his night before the first round ended.
Now, Roberts and his quality grappling game will have to score a victory over returning UFC veteran Forrest Petz to avoid unemployment. “The Meat Cleaver” has earned four straight wins over regional competition, and has fought some tough customers in his day, including holding wins over Dan Hardy, Luigi Fioraventi and the fighter formerly known as “Crazy Horse,” Charles Bennett.
Gerald Harris (15-2-0) vs. Dave Branch (6-0-0)
This could be the undercard fight that surprises.
Harris has been impressive in his two UFC outings, stopping both John Salter and Mario Miranda. Originally one of the favourites to win Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter, Harris was stopped by eventual winner Amir Sadollah, but has not lost in non-reality TV competition in nine fights.
Branch is a Renzo Gracie black belt who has earned six-straight victories. His most recent, a second round submission over Derek Mehman at Bellator 15, earned him the invite to the UFC, and he has a chance to showcase his skills right off the bat.
Harris likes to use his wrestling to bring the fight to the floor so he can pound out a win, but taking it to the ground could be dangerous against an accomplished jiu jitsu player like Branch.
See why we think this one could be interesting?
Kendall Grove (11-7-0) vs. Goran Reljic (8-1-0)
Grove is in trouble, and not just because he’s facing Goran Reljic.
The winner of TUF 3, Grove has always been an up-and-down competitor who hasn’t put it all together as people expected him to coming off the show. His inconsistency has always left him on the brink of being cut, and now he’s opened his yap and gotten himself bumped off the Spike TV Prelims LIVE broadcast and into more hot water.
“Da Spyder” was critical of the network’s choices on the show that made him a household name, and the UFC responded by bumping Grove from the television broadcast. While many TUF winners have an unspoken immunity, a loss for Grove will most likely be the last time we see the outspoken Hawaiian inside the Octagon.
I’ve rambled on a about this fight enough already, but here’s one last thought: expect Reljic to be a lot better than when we saw him at UFC 110 in Australia.