UFC 131

This Saturday’s event may not be the major attraction it was intended to be, but it’s still a show worth watching.

Originally set to feature a face-off between opposing “The Ultimate Fighter” coaches Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos,the June 11 event underwent a major scheduling shift when the massive Lesnar was taken out of action with his second bout of diverticulitis. The intestinal disease has already taken a year off the former UFC heavyweight champion’s brief career and has cost UFC President Dana White some serious cash. After all, there’s no bigger box-office draw than the big farm boy from South Dakota.

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But the show must go on and, as usual, the UFC has created a solid main event at the last minute by substituting Lesnar for Shane Carwin. Last seen submitting to a triangle choke from Brock at UFC 116 in July of 2010, the heavy-handed fighter was originally set to take on Norway’s Jon Olav Einemo, but will now battle dos Santos. As it looks now, the winner of this contest will be the next challenger to Cain Velasquez and his heavyweight championship. So which warrior is walking out of the Octagon with the victory?

Standup:
Both excellent and destructive strikers, Carwin and dos Santos are pretty evenly matched in this category. For Carwin, all four of his UFC victories have come by way of his meaty fists — but the same goes for dos Santos. Judging by power alone, the matchup is too close to call, but when it comes to pure boxing skill, the advantage would go to the Brazilian. Extremely fluid for his size, he should be able to avoid more devastating hits than Carwin can.
Advantage: : Junior dos Santos

Ground:
No one is expecting this fight to be won or lost on the ground, but the same thing was said about Shane Carwin’s brawl against Lesnar and that ended in submission. Still, despite tapping out in his last bout, Carwin is superior to his opponent in wrestling and equally skilled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Should this fight hit the floor, the big guy from Colorado should win out
Advantage: : Shane Carwin

Momentum:
Before his disappointing loss to Brock Lesnar last year, Shane Carwin was steamrolling through the competition. In fact, The Engineer defeated every single one of his professional opponents in the first round — a seriously awesome statistic. But his inability to finish Lesnar and a recent neck operation have revealed serious cracks in the powerhouse’s armor.

Dos Santos, on the other hand, hasn’t felt the sting of defeat since 2007 and is currently undefeated in UFC. He may have had more trouble in his recent fight against Roy Nelson than expected, but mentally Junior should be stronger than Carwin going into this one.
Advantage: : Junior dos Santos

Prediction:
In a fight with two heavyweights with knockout power like this one, it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite, but whoever lands the first blow to the button should win this one. Looking at the breakdown, Junior dos Santos should be the one who scores that big knockout shot.

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