BROCK Lesnar is a mere mortal. And that mortality was never more in full display than in the first few minutes of his epic battle against fellow beast Shane Carwin last Sunday at UFC 116.

After the quintessential feeling-out phase in the first minute of the fight, things heated up right away as both men exchanged punches.

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Carwin immediately established himself as the better boxer with his more accurate punching. Brock on the other hand, looked wild with his hay-

makers.

His defense sucked too. He would stoop to avoid punches thereby, opening himself up to some nasty uppercuts. He did manage to attempt a take-down but Carwin showed his strength and skill by thwarting the attempt.

At the next exchange, Carwin swarmed all over Brock with a barrage of punches. Brock fell down and Carwin jumped right on top of him.

A SECOND AWAY. A lesser man would have caved in. Those thunderous blows raining down on Brock’s face opened up several nasty cuts and gashes. For once it seemed surreal to see Lesnar busted up and leaking.

All throughout the carnage, the referee was just a nanosecond away from decreeing a halt but Lesnar just had enough sense in that humongous head of his to alternately cover-up, push away, punch back or move side to side in order to convince the referee that he was still “intelligently” defending himself.

MORTAL TOO. Luckily for Brock, Shane “the Monster” Carwin is made up of mortal stuff too and began to tire. The frequency of his blows started to wane and the malevolent intent behind each one seemed to dissipate.

Incredibly, Brock managed to stand up and by the time the horn sounded to end the first round, Carwin was a spent force.

PYTHON. In the second round, Carwin came out looking winded and Brock took his time to figure out the proper mode of attack.

In a flash, realizing that Carwin was too gassed out to fend off a take-down, Brock aimed for the shot and just like that he was on top of his tired prey.

Like a reticulated python sensing the impending demise of its quarry, Brock worked himself up from the half guard position to mount the hapless Carwin.

He managed to pin Carwin’s left arm and neck in a triangle choke and slowly but surely maneuvered himself into position.

Once he got the leverage he wanted, he started to squeeze the living air out of Carwin. He hugged him tighter than his true love. Lesnar’s wife would have been green with envy.

Carwin was left with no choice but to feebly tap out. He looked so spent in fact, that in the post-fight interview, he was hoarse and barely audible.

S.O.B. In stark contrast, his conqueror gleefully shouted into the microphone after thanking God, his family, and training partners: “I’m still the toughest S.O.B in the world.”

My prediction was right on the money, but the fight could have ended in the first round had Carwin exhibited more endurance and stamina.

That always seems to be the case in mixed-martial arts fights involving the muscled, heavy-hitters. After a few minutes of pounding, they become winded and consequently turn into easy fodder for their better-conditioned opponents.

So for those mixed-martial arts fighters out there, don’t forget to hit the road, guys. Some day, that extra cardiovascular conditioning might just buy you a crucial minute or two to outlast your opponent.

SOLDIERING ON. Slowly but surely, ALA gym’s Mark Jason Melligen is making a name for himself in the USA. In April of this year, this talented kid scored a shutout over a fellow prospect, Norberto Gonzales.

Last Sunday, he won over Anges Agnajo (now 25-3, with 14KOs) by unanimous decision in a tough, grueling fight at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.

Melligen is showing consistency in defeating tough, quality opponents. He can only get better.

LAST ROUND. It’s on Jasmine Gorne who celebrates her birthday today. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)