UFC 131 reaction: Is Shane Carwin still a top heavyweight?

As we were gearing up for the UFC 131 main event between Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin I wrote the preview of the fight that was posted on Friday.

I fully expected Junior dos Santos to win this fight, even thinking he would put Carwin away. He almost did in the very first round, but credit to Shane Carwin for showing tremendous heart and durability. Here’s what I wrote in the preview:

This fight is not going the distance and I will almost guarantee that somebody will get knocked out in this fight. The only unexpected thing I see coming in this fight is Carwin possibly looking to take Dos Santos down with his wrestling skills. Carwin has pretty much abandoned his wrestling in favor of knocking people out during his UFC stint, but this is the most important fight of his career and I think he’s going to do everything in his power to win this fight including going for takedowns. If Carwin can’t take Junior dos Santos down, he only has a puncher’s chance of winning this fight. and should attempt to put Dos Santos against the cage to fire off some punches while in close range. He could land that magical punch like he did against Gabriel Gonzaga because he has huge power, but I just don’t see it happening for him.

Junior dos Santos is light on his feet and has very good hand speed for a heavyweight, and his movement plus hand speed is going to give Carwin problems. Dos Santos has shown the ability to get right back up to his feet when taken down, and he’ll be looking to do that if Carwin is successful there.

Well, that’s pretty much what happened as Carwin went for a takedown early on and wasn’t successful. I knew he was in trouble at that point unless he landed a haymaker. We’ve seen Shane Carwin in the octagon for several fights now, but the last two have really shown the holes in his game. He really depends on his knockout power to win his fights and has barely used his wrestling background since arriving in the UFC. That’s the book on him now. Fighters must stop the takedown, then avoid his big right hand that can put anyone’s lights out. It’s that simple.

Can Carwin still be considered a top heavyweight with such a limited skillset? Can he beat the top heavyweights in the world by only relying on his knockout power?

It’s true he can knock anyone out if he lands the big right hand, but that can be said for a number of guys in MMA that are not considered top fighters.


4 thoughts on “UFC 131 reaction: Is Shane Carwin still a top heavyweight?”

  1. Carwin is clearly flawed as a fighter, but heavyweight is still a terrible division. I mean Aaron Rosa and Joey Beltran fought on UFC 131. He is still in the top of the division, but then again Cole Konrad is probably top twenty too….

  2. I think he’s still a top heavyweight. He will still beat just about every other heavyweight in the division.

  3. I guess the better question is…of the following fighters…who does he have a decent shot of beating?

    Fabricio Werdum (Strikeforce)
    Antonio Silva (Strikeforce)
    Fedor Emelianenko (M-1/Strikeforce)
    Alistair Overeem (Strikeforce Champion)
    Roy Nelson (UFC)

  4. I would say all of those guys ouside of Overeem, and that’s a maybe. None of those guys (again except Reem) have boxing, tdd, or the raw strength/speed JDS possesses.

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