UFC president Dana White called Saturday's "UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin" the best night of his career. Sitting here about four hours following the conclusion of the show, I find it hard to say that wasn't one of the better shows I've seen.
And even though the sun is beginning to rise outside my window, I am still as jacked as I was when the show went off the air.
UFC 116 delivered. And it did so in a big, big way, there's no other way to put it. You have to be soulless to not be captivated by what transpired Saturday in Las Vegas. From the first fight broadcast on Spike TV to the much-anticipated main event, this card brought us edge-of-your-seat excitement at nearly every turn.
Think about this: The UFC handed out two "Fight of the Night" bonuses following the show. It could've easily handed out three more. On any other show, Chris Leben would've been a shoo-in for "Submission of the Night" honors. The only " ... of the Night" award that was a no-brainer was Gerald Harris' slam KO of Dave Branch. For everything else, it was a total crapshoot, but you almost couldn't go wrong.
Ricardo Romero and Seth Petruzelli set the tone with a hard-hitting affair in the Spike TV opener and that continued through the slobberknocker that was Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski. The show wrapped with three submissions, each more thrilling and shocking than the last.
It was just a special night from top to bottom, an incredible display of determination from so many of the evening's fighters. Obviously Brock Lesnar's win is going to get a lot of press (as it rightfully should), but Chris Leben's performance tonight deserves some major, major recognition.
Two weeks ago at this time, Leben probably was still celebrating his win over Aaron Simpson earlier in the night. A few days later, Joe Silva calls him and asks him to face Yoshihiro Akiyama, undoubtedly a tough fight. Instead of coming in just to get paid, Leben shows the toughness that has made him a fan favorite in sticking with Akiyama. Then, in an incredible turn of events, Leben actually submitted the judo black belt with 20 seconds left in the fight. Simply unbelievable.
That's the best way to phrase UFC 116: Simply unbelievable.