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Un-caged: Carwin an able replacement for Brock

There’s another explosive Saturday night in store for fight fans.

Dana White with the fighters.
Dana White with the fighters.
Image: Rich Lam/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

IT’S FIGHT WEEK folks and the UFC road-show heads towards Canada once again with a heavyweight top contender slot up for grabs for the winner of the main event.

Shane Carwin, stepping in to replace the injured Brock Lesnar,  faces the explosive Junior Dos Santos in a clash that should prove more of a spectacle than Mir-Nelson a couple of weeks ago.

The winner of the match-up will earn a shot at Cain Velasquez and the UFC heavyweight title.

Dana White has replaced like for like by changing Lesnar with Carwin, and Dos Santos wouldn’t have to deviate from his original game-plan too much.

The Brazilian hasn’t been taken down too many times in his UFC career and stuffed plenty of Roy Nelson’s take-down attempts in their bout, but Carwin is a much better athlete and the expected 25lb weight difference between the two could be telling.

This means the fight should take place on the feet and Carwin could have the edge as he has one punch knock-out power. Junior could decide to bide his time and look to exploit Carwin’s supposed conditioning weakness and push the pace as the fight progresses.

Another fighter who has been promised a title shot if he wins is the ever-shrinking Kenny Florian. The veteran is making his debut at featherweight having started his career in TUF season 1, nearly 40lbs heavier than he is now.

He is the first fighter to fight at four different weights in the UFC. Florian faces Diego Nunes, who plied his trade in the WEC before defeating Mike Brown on his UFC debut back in January.

The story of this fight could take place before either fighter steps into the Octagon as Florian is entering the unknown by cutting so much weight. I’m sure a seasoned veteran like Kenny has taken this into account, but he can’t be 100% sure of how his body is going to react to such a dramatic weight loss.

If he can overcome this hurdle, his experience and skill-set should be too much for Nunes. The promise of a title shot if he wins, should give Florian that extra motivation to put an end to Diego’s three fight winning streak.

A strong card shines through

Elsewhere on the main card submission specialist Demian Maia takes on dangerous ground and pound-er Mark Munoz in a match-up that is too close to call.
Maia would normally look to take down his opponent as he is more at home on the ground than on his feet. He may have to reassess his options as Munoz demonstrated his knock out power and killer extinct by finishing CB Dollaway last time out.

Elsewhere on the card, Norwegian fighter Jon Olav Einemo returns to action after a four year absence to take on American Dave Herman, who is also making his UFC debut. Einemo was originally due to face Carwin before Lesnar’s injury.

WEC crowd favourite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone faces Vagner Rocha in the last of the fights on the main card. The always exciting Cerrone will have to avoid the BJJ skills of the Brazilian who teaches at the well-respected Pablo Popovitch BJJ Training Centre.

The pick of the undercard fights sees the unbeaten Nick Ring take on James Head in a fight that is so close even the bookies have trouble separating them. Canadian Ring will have the home support as he looks for any advantage over his well-matched rival.

UFC 131 airs on ESPN on Sunday morning and now you can watch the pre-lims live on YouTube as well as Facebook.

About the author:

Brian Kirk

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