MMA Analysis: Can Shane Carwin Earn a Title Shot at UFC 131?

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On Saturday, June 11th, it will be almost one year since Shane Carwin was last seen in the Octagon, falling short in his effort to take the UFC Heavyweight Championship from then champion, Brock Lesnar. Since that time, Carwin has undergone surgery to fix lingering neck and back issues, while turning to a new diet and nutrition plan that has seen him slim down a bit. The new and improved Carwin will look to emerge victorious in his main event fight against Junior dos Santos at UFC 131 and get back to the top of the division.

Coming off the loss to Lesnar, Carwin was slated to get back into the cage against former IFL Heavyweight Champion and TUF 10 Winner Roy Nelson at UFC 125, but was forced to pull out of the card due to neck and back issues which required for him to go in for surgery to correct. Carwin’s surgery was a major success, admitting he feels better than ever.

Originally slated to take on UFC newcomer and former ADCC Champion Jon Olav Einemo on the UFC 131 card, Carwin was thrust into the main event against dos Santos when another bout of diverticulitis forced Brock Lesnar off the card. At stake? Another shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship, fitting, considering if Shane Carwin does make it past dos Santos, Carwin will take on the man he was originally slated to fight at UFC 104, Cain Velasquez.

Shane Carwin has gotten to this point by using his KO power, out of his 12 wins, 7 have come in the form of KO or TKO, and he’s finished every UFC victory in that fashion, only going out of the first round once in his loss to Lesnar. While cardio and conditioning played a factor in that fight, re-visiting his training and working on a new nutrition plan could change that all together.

While his cardio was almost always questioned in every fight he was in, one thing that couldn’t be questioned was Carwin’s power, striking and his rarely seen wrestling. Prior to becoming a mixed martial artist, Carwin won the NCAA Division 2 Heavyweight National Championship and finishing as a runner-up on two separate occasions. Carwin even proved any doubters wrong in the first round when it came to his wrestling against Lesnar, shrugging him off on several occasions.

Carwin will face an obstacle this time around in arguably the divisions best striker in Junior dos Santos. But Carwin will rely on what got him this far and almost won him the UFC Heavyweight Championship one time, his power. Carwin has shown vast improvements in his striking from the first time we  laid eyes on him back at UFC 84 against Christian Wellisch, knocking him out in just 44 seconds of the first round.

This time around, Carwin brings with him a new focus, new determination and an all new version of the KO artist we’ve grown to know. Shane Carwin 2.0 could have his moment in the sun again if he can get past dos Santos. Just, make sure you don’t blink.

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