Not too long ago, the UFC’s largest weight class was by far its least exciting, as the organization seemed to feature a Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski heavyweight title fight on every other pay-per-view broadcast.
Thankfully, reigning champion Brock Lesnar emerged onto the Octagon scene two years ago and has since made the division his very own. At the same time, his dominance has managed to ignite a slew of youthful talent along the way as well.
Yesterday, in our Possible Heavyweight Scenarios if Frank Mir Wins at “UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy” piece, we shared our thoughts on what could happen to the weight class if Frank Mir were to hand Shane Carwin his first career loss this Saturday at UFC 111.
Here is what could go down if Carwin starts his career with a perfect 12-0 mark en route to capturing the interim crown.
If Shane Carwin wins via Decision:
Carwin vs. Velasquez – Carwin has finished in all 11 of his wins, so there is no reason to believe he intends to start letting the judges determine his fate now.
However, we all know how much the UFC loves devastating finishes, so if for some reason Carwin captures the strap in an anticlimactic decision, they might want to pump the breaks on an immediate title unification bout against Lesnar.
With Carwin serving as the interim champ, it will not only allow the UFC time to build up the lesser known names in the division, but will provide them with another “champion” that can headline major pay-per-view events.
In addition, this matchup was very well received by fans when it was first announced for UFC 104, so arranging a do-over might serve the organization well.
The October 24th scrap never took place because the organization offered Carwin a shot at Lesnar a month later at UFC 106. Lesnar ultimately fell ill with a severe case of diverticulitis, however has since resumed training and is planning a summer return.
Lesnar vs. dos Santos – After posting consecutive first round TKO victories over a pair of legit heavyweights, it would be tough to argue anyone is more deserving of a title shot than the Brazilian.
By not unifying the title, the UFC satisfies dos Santos and Velasquez’s title fight needs while giving themselves the opportunity to showcase their best up-and-coming heavyweights on the biggest possible stage.
If Shane Carwin wins via (T)KO or Submission:
Lesnar vs. Carwin – Although dos Santos and Velasquez posted devastating first round TKO wins in their last outings – make that dos for dos Santos – it’s something Carwin has been doing consistently for quite some time.
People started hopping on Cain and 2-Santos’ respective bandwagons because Carwin’s was too full after his first round TKO of Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96 in March 2009, his last Octagon outing.
Although it’s been over a year since Carwin last fought, the layoff was due to Lesnar’s health status, so he is definitely still deserving, especially since he was already promised Lensar back in November.
Velasquez vs. dos Santos – Although neither contender would be too pleased, this contest makes the most sense if the UFC decides to have Carwin and Lesnar unify the belt immediately after UFC 111.
As previously suggested, this heavyweight clash will leave no doubt as to who is next in line for a shot at the strap.
At the same time, we’ve seen how unkind the injury bug has been to recent fight cards, so Cain and Junior need to be ready in case someone goes down and UFC president Dana White has to call on his bullpen … again.
In addition, it would be an easy sell for the UFC if they needed to make a last-minute substitution because Velasquez and dos Santos have both proven they are worthy contenders.