Australians are some of the biggest UFC fans in the world and have a deep respect for the sport, if recent PPV buy rates and response to UFC's Brock Lesnar and Aussie George Sotiropolous are anything to judge by. Lesnar may be the UFC Hwt Champ, but our boy George is every bit the champ in the eyes of many... Media Man and Gambling911 enter the cage...
The Place: MGM Grand Garden Arena - MGM Grand Casino
What: UFC 116, perhaps the greatest UFC event in history
Brock Lesnar VS Shane Carwin was the headliner that drew in the crown, media, sports betting punters and PPV buy rates, but it was a top card and Aussie George didn't disappoint, earning a victory over American Kurt Pellegrino in 3 rounds. Go Aussie.
Lady luck smiled for both the pride of Australia George Sotiropoulos (Aussie Greek) and Lensar, the undisputed heavyweight champion, the former 'Next Big Thing' from the WWE pro wrestling "circus", who has actually "wrestled" down under in Australia on the 2002 tour, then announced as having injured Hulk Hogan. What a difference a decade can make! Hogan's now in TNA, with casino and real estate deals on the side, and Lesnar is the real deal.
Lensar Pro Wrestling Connection Support...
Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), Bill Goldberg, Paul Heyman and good ol JR (Jim Ross) was there, so was the former 'Baddest Man On The Planet' Mike Tyson. The wrestlers would eventually have reason to celebrate with Lensar, after what would have been a test of nerves being ringside for the pro wrestling legends.
'Our George', the Geelong boy came out owned Las Vegas for 23 minutes, further cementing his national and international fame.
Brock Lesnar VS Shane Carwin (Main Event)...
Lesnar had canceled two previous bouts with Carwin after developing an intestinal illness that nearly killed him.
Lesnar recovered from a brutal first-round beating to stop Shane Carwin with a triangle choke in the 2nd, defending his heavyweight title at UFC 116. Lesnar won his first fight in nearly a year despite taking a pounding in the opening minutes from Carwin, the previously undefeated interim champion. Lesnar, the former pro wrestler and the UFC's biggest pay-per-view star, took down Carwin in the second round. He got Carwin in an arm triangle choke, forcing Carwin to tap at the MGM Grand Garden.
Lesnar following victory said "I stand before you a humble champion, and still the toughest SOB around, baby."
Carwin Speaks On Lensar...
"My hat is off to him," said Carwin, whose previous 12 fights never reached the second round. "He's the champion. I fell down the mountain, but I'll get back up."
* BetUS had Carwin priced at +125
George Sotiropoulos snapshot...
"I'm ready for anything. Of course I'd love a title shot but I'm in no rush, I'm happy doing what I'm doing". UFC president Dana White advised he continued to be blown away by Sotiropoulos but only put him in the top 5 of the division. Sotiropoulos nailed Pellegrino with a straight left in the first and dominated the second with power and control. Pellegrino was forced to adopt a defensive approach to avoid getting taken down. Late in the last round, Sotiropoulos was floored by a knee to the head but avoided disaster by surviving to hear the final siren. "I knew exactly what he was going to do in certain positions. He played into every part of my game".
Brock Lesnar def. Shane Carwin via submission (arm triangle choke)
Chris Leben def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via submission (triangle choke)
Chris Lytle def. Matt Brown via submission (armbar)
Stephan Bonnar def. Krzysztof Soszynski via second-round TKO
George Sotiropoulos def. Kurt Pellegrino via unanimous decision in 3 rounds
Spike TV Bouts:
Brendan Schaub def. Chris Tuchscherer by first-round TKO
Ricardo Romero def. Seth Petruzelli via submission (armbar)
Kendall Grove def. Goran Reljic via split decision
Gerald Harris def. Dave Branch via third-round TKO
Daniel Roberts def. Forrest Petz via split decision
Jon Madsen def. Karlos Vemola via unanimous decision
What a show, and outstanding matches and entertainment by both Lesnar, the former amateur wrestler and WWE showman and 'Our George', one step closer to the championship.
By all accounts, everyone was happy... UFC top brass, the fans present, promoters, TV execs. Only the UFC "haters" and fighters who badly got beaten up were not smiling much.
Australian Pay TV operator Foxtel is not disclosing its buy rates for the event at this time, but insiders say it was the biggest UFC buy ever in Australia, and one of the biggest PPV buys ever in Australia full stop. UFC remains the biggest business threat to the world of professional boxing, and more experts are starting to question how much effect UFC may have on the WWE, giving that everyone is fighting for the Entertainment Dollar, in what is still well regarded as a global financial crisis. A Media Man spokesperson said "UFC and WWE are different animals, but people only have so much to spend on their entertainment dollar. Brock Lensar knows how to entertain and also has clout and pull with the traditional WWE crowd, so when Lesnar is on the card it stands to reason that it must have some effect on the WWE. Neither the UFC or WWE is going to put either out of business, and its great that the fans win with the choice".
Media Man and Gambling911 publicly thank the UFC, from president Dana White, all the way down for putting on a historic night of entertainment, and also for helping spike the websites again.
Punters, as always, bet with your head, not over it, know the odds and have fun.
*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911
*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover