Lesnar beats Carwin for UFC undisputed heavyweight title

Former Gophers wrestler Brock Lesnar defeated previously unbeaten heavyweight Shane Carwin in his first fight since being diagnosed with diverticulitis this winter.

Brock Lesnar celebrates his second round victory over Shane Carwin during their UFC heavyweight mixed martial arts title match Saturday, July 3, 2010, at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

Associated Press

Brock Lesnar celebrates his second round victory over Shane Carwin during their UFC heavyweight mixed martial arts title match Saturday, July 3, 2010, at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

Derek Wetmore

Brock Lesnar completed his comeback from the hospital bed to the pinnacle of the fighting world Saturday night at Las VegasâÄô MGM Grand Garden Arena. The former Gophers wrestler defeated previously unbeaten heavyweight Shane Carwin (12-1-0) in his first fight since being diagnosed with diverticulitis this winter, capturing the undisputed heavyweight title in the much-anticipated feature fight at UFC 116. Carwin became the interim heavyweight champion while Lesnar âÄî and his heavyweight belt âÄî was away from the sport. Known as a knockout artist, Carwin hadnâÄôt allowed an opponent out of the first round in his 12-fight career, a trend which almost continued Saturday. With three and a half minutes left in the first round, Carwin knocked Lesnar to the ground and started raining punches to the former NCAA champion wrestlerâÄôs face and chest. Lesnar could only cower and enter what he called âÄúsurvival modeâÄù as he waited for the first-round onslaught to end. In the second round, however, the man previously known for his brute strength and wrestling ability took Carwin down to the mat and put him in a jiu-jitsu submission for the tap out. âÄúYou find out how tough a fighter is when they face adversity,âÄù UFC President Dana White said. âÄúBrock stayed in there.âÄù The technical submission symbolized not only LesnarâÄôs evolution as a fighter, but his ability to survive when faced with difficult challenges âÄî and then overcome them. âÄúItâÄôs been a crazy year. IâÄôve been through a lot,âÄù Lesnar said. âÄúI wasnâÄôt going home without this [belt] tonight, thatâÄôs for sure.âÄù Lesnar defeated Frank Mir in a fight last year to become the undisputed heavyweight champion, and the ensuing post-match celebration left many UFC fans appalled at the actions of the brash, surly heavyweight king. Lesnar verbally taunted a dazed Mir, gestured toward the crowd with both middle fingers and berated the fightâÄôs primary sponsor, Bud Light. Shortly after that, Lesnar was stricken with diverticulitis âÄî essentially a perforated intestine which prevented him from eating solid foods. Because of weakness stemming from the condition, Lesnar had to cancel a fight with Carwin scheduled for last October. LesnarâÄôs next bout is not yet scheduled, but it will be with another undefeated heavyweight, Cain Velasquez (8-0-0). A more humble celebration Moments after choking out Carwin with an arm triangle jiujitsu submission hold even Lesnar couldnâÄôt pronounce, the fans cheered, but certainly some must have wondered, âÄúWhat will he do this time?âÄù This time, Lesnar acted more like a grateful man than a possessed one. The perspective gained from his bout with the illness was evident immediately after his hand was raised Saturday night. Lesnar was handed a microphone and silenced any doubters who questioned his maturity. âÄúThis isnâÄôt about me tonight,âÄù Lesnar said before immediately thanking his family, his doctors, his training staff and the referee for allowing the fight to continue past CarwinâÄôs first-round onslaught. âÄúI am blessed by God,âÄù he said. âÄúLadies and gentlemen, I stand before you, a humble champion.âÄù At several times throughout the nightâÄôs interviews, Lesnar appeared as if he would break down and cry, and later admitted he was choked up by the magnitude of the situation. âÄúI really feel like IâÄôm in a dream,âÄù he said. Yet, after giving his thanks and displaying some newfound humility, Lesnar still flashed the macho bravado that reminded anyone wondering that the 6-foot-5-inch, 265-pound giant isnâÄôt just a teddy bear. âÄúIâÄôm still the toughest S.O.B. around, baby,âÄù he said.