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UFC 131 Preview: Dos Santos vs. Carwin

No Lesnar, no problem
by Mikey Agulto | Jun 9, 2011
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After a 10-month hiatus from fighting, perennial heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos must be dying to get his hands on Shane Carwin by now. The Brazilian has had to go through two different opponents prior to this bout, both failing to ever take place in the Octagon.

The first would be UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, who suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder during his match with Brock Lesnar back in UFC 121 last October and has not returned since, hampering Dos Santos’ supposed title shot.

Second in line would have been Brock himself, completing the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter with Dos Santos only to back out of their June 2011 fight due to his battle with diverticulitis. Both Velasquez and Lesnar are slated to return late this year.

Had Shane Carwin decided not to take this fight on a few weeks’ notice, Junior would have remained in the sidelines a lot longer.  And that would have been a shame for a fighter notably known for knocking out opponents on a thrice a year basis.

But with all due respect to Junior’s impressive striking, Carwin is the consummate knockout artist himself. Shane’s performance in UFC 111 saw him knock Frank Mir out of his senses, perfectly placing a barrage of uppercuts from the clinch all the way to the ground. And before that, a 70-second KO victory over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96.

With two heavyweights capable of knocking each other out at any moment in the match, there would be no use assuming this fight would even go the ground, if at all – it would have been great to see how Dos Santos utilizes his Jiu-Jitsu since he regularly trains with a specialist in Antonio Noguiera. Carwin himself must have worked on his ground game after the Lesnar fight.

But let’s be real here. Junior has not pulled off a legitimate submission victory since doing a guillotine choke in a non-UFC fight back in 2006. Shane on the other hand has had a submission streak back in 2006, but has yet to do so in the Octagon.

We’re being guaranteed to see a striking match; the classic heavyweight fights usually go, with the loser landing hard on the ground. Carwin is looking to put another head start to his MMA career after an upset loss and an off-the-ring mishap; Junior’s lengthy journey meanwhile just cannot afford another backseat. Needless to say, a title fight awaits the winner.

That said, we reckon fight bets must suffice on the side of Junior Dos Santos, by way of a very pretty, shock-inducing TKO victory within the first two rounds, The events that lead to UFC 131 has been all about Junior, and this fight, along with the rewards that will go with it in the months to come, is his for the taking.

No Cinderella stories, no surprise contenders, just pure “Cigano.”

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WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO
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