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The "X" Factor In The Shane Carwin vs. Gabriel Gonzaga Fight

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UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin will face his biggest test at UFC 96, in former title contender and BJJ blackbelt Gabriel Gonzaga.  A win against Gonzaga would give him instant crediblity and catapult him up the HW ladder near title contention.  A win for Gonzaga gets him another step closer to re-challenging for the UFC HW title.  However, there are a couple of question marks for both fighters going in to the fight such as:

  1. Can Gonzaga handle the pressure from a big strong guy like Shane Carwin?
  2. What is Shane Carwin going to look like if this fight makes it to the third round?

The knock on Gonzaga has been that he folds under pressure.  He starts out rather strong, but tends to fade the longer the fight goes.  He'll be facing one of the few heavyweights that's larger than he is.  On the other hand, Shane Carwin has NEVER been past the 2:11 mark of the first round.  In fact, that was in his very first fight about 3 1/2 years ago.  Carwin hasn't been past the 1:31 mark of the first round in his UFC career. Both guys are absolutely huge with Gonzaga checking in near 250lbs for most of his fights.  While Carwin has to cut weight to make the 265lb heavyweight limit and is heavily muscled.  It takes a great deal of oxygen to power these huge body's so if this fight makes it past the first round, conditioning will be the "X" factor.