I didn’t know if Brock Lesnar could do it.
Being out of competition for a year due to an immune illness that hindered his training coerced me to raise an eyebrow.
His worthy adversary, Shane Carwin, had been undefeated until last night’s main event. 12-0, with seven of those wins coming by knockouts.
Metallica and Drowning Pool set the stage in the MGM Grand Garden Arena as precursors to the match, properly setting the tone with “Enter Sandman” and “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor”.
Lesnar found himself on the mat for nearly the entirety of the first round after Carwin punished him with vicious blows, and proceeded to pummel the champ with lefts and rights and elbows. One year after his last title defense, Lesnar was reduced to covering his head in desperation.
Still, Carwin couldn’t finish off Lesnar and the first round ended. Carwin clearly went for the moneymaker early and dispensed every ounce of energy or power he had.
But that which didn’t kill Lesnar clearly made him stronger.
He rallied with a quick takedown in the second round, grasped Carwin’s neck with his left arm and worked to tighten his grip. At the 2:19 mark, Carwin tapped out, submitting to the arm triangle choke, and allowing Lesnar to retain the belt in a revealing test of will.
Lesnar sat atop the octagon cage’s top and rejoiced in front of fans who once scorned him Saturday night appreciated his resilience.
Instead of bashing a beer company and spewing crap out of his mouth, this time around Lesnar emitted a rather modest statement: “This is about my family, my doctors, my training staff,” Lesnar announced. “I am blessed by God. I stand before you a champion, and the toughest … around.”
When he was in the WWE his premise was “the Next Big Thing” as his ‘ring manager’ Paul Heyman called him. Today, in the UFC, he is already the Big Thing, and the only ‘Next’ is who’s going to be the next victim.