After weeks of speculation, Brock Lesnar’s next challenger has been revealed. Shane Carwin will challenge Brock Lesnar for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 106. The Huntingdon Beach Bad Boy also begins his UFC comeback that night. Tito Ortiz officially returns to action that night against Marc Coleman.
Both matches are big surprises to this MMA writer. For one, I didn’t expect Tito Ortiz to compete until the end of the year. Second, Shane Carwin had already been signed to take on Cain Velasquez at UFC 104. UFC decided to shake things up, pull Carwin from the bout, and thus we have an explosive UFC 106 main-event in November.
Carwin may have promoted his way into this fight following Lesnar’s UFC 100 antics. Carwin blasted Lesnar on his website after UFC 100. “The flipping off of the fans that just lined your pocket with millions of dollars is just LAME. He may be a Champion but he has a long ways to go before he earns the respect of a Champion. The fans are why we do this Brock, this sport is not about fat paychecks and drama it is about hard work and sacrifice for a shot to do what you did last night.”
Carwin will test Lesnar like no other fighter currently in UFC. This won’t be the juicy fight that a Couture/Mir/Nogueira/Cro Cop-Lesnar fight would be. However, Carwin could be Lesnar’s most difficult opponent. He is a great standup fighter and was dominant NCAA Division II wrestler in college. I don’t know if Carwin will win, but he’ll be a great bet as an underdog.
You can already smell the hype and it smells pretty damn good. The big losers in this equation are Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. They will fight next week at UFC 102. It was expected by both men that the winner would be next in line for Lesnar. Dave Meltzer at F4Online.com reports that UFC wanted to push up Lesnar’s next fight, thus leaving the winner of the UFC 102 fight out in the cold.
Tito Ortiz will fight for the first time in well over a year at UFC 106. This will be Ortiz’s first fight since losing a decision to current UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. UFC Hall of Fame fighter Marc Coleman will oppose Ortiz in Las Vegas. This is Coleman’s last fight on a 3-fight deal which has seen him go 1-1 since his return.
Meltzer also reports that UFC intends to promote a series of super shows to round out the year. It is already expected that Frank Mir will fight Cheick Kongo in December. I would presume that Anderson Silva would fight Vitor Belfort in December depending upon how Belfort fares against Rich Franklin in a few weeks. Former UFC light heavyweight champions Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson are also booked to fight in Decemeber.
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