History in the Making: The short and brutal UFC career of Shane Carwin

Shane Carwin, a year removed from his one and only loss, has a chance to fight once more for the UFC heavyweight title.

He came into the UFC and began knocking out anyone that stood in his path on his way to glory but hit a roadblock in the form of Brock Lesnar.

But this Saturday at UFC 131: "dos Santos vs. Carwin," when he squares off against fellow heavy-handed striker Junior dos Santos, he gets the opportunity to erase the past and write himself a new future.

Before this heavyweight clash, though, let's take a look at his career inside the Octagon. It's a handful of bouts that have left a trail of unconscious fighters in "The Engineer's" wake.

Let's dive in.

Not exactly a spring chicken at the age of 33 when he entered the UFC, Carwin did have the advantage of being in the shallowest weight class of the sport.

While the heavyweight division was beefier than the anemic days of when Justin Eilers got a title shot, it was still very much in the rebuilding phase in 2008.

So signing an undefeated fighter who always finished his opponents in the first round -- no matter how old he was -- was a no-brainer for the promotion.

He made his Octagon debut at UFC 84: "Ill Will" against Christian Wellisch, a Hungarian with a 3-1 UFC record. 

And what a debut it was.

Less than a minute after the bout started, Carwin's launced a right cross that jerked Wellisch's head to the side, forcing his mouthpiece out. His head snapped over to the other side as he body crumpled to the mat.

"The Engineer" followed him down to ensure the victory but the referee was already making his move.

It was the first preliminary bout of the evening but the short running time combined with the brutally impressive nature of the stoppage ensured that it would air during the pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast.

Right before the shellacking Wanderlei Silva gave Keith Jardine, UFC fans got their first taste of Shane Carwin.

Five months later, "The Engineer" found himself back in the cage. This time was was across the pond fighting Briton Neil Wain in his home country. But home field advantage meant nothing to the Colorado native.

He quickly ducked under a punch and secured a takedown, landing in half guard. He landed some big punches, causing trauma to Wain's skull before advancing into side mount.

Seconds later, Carwin threw his left leg over his opponent's body, mounting him. A barrage of punches followed, most of which aren't even defended against and the referee intervenes to spare the Englishman any more damage.

Two fights into his UFC career and Carwin barely had two minutes of fight time.

Clearly, the now 34-year old needed a step up in competition. He walked through the lower level heavyweights that the UFC threw at him and did so in impressive fashion. Carwin got his chance -- and his first co-main event -- at UFC 96: "Jackson vs. Jardine."

A weak card with almost no big names, Carwin benefitted from this as he was booked against former title contender Gabriel Gonzaga

The Brazilian was in the process of climbing back up the rankings and was on a two-fight win streak after dropping back to back loss to Randy Couture and Fabricio Werdum. Unfortunately for him, Carwin ensured his career would stall out that night.

In front of nearly 20,000 fans, "The Engineer" took a hard shot from the man who brutally knocked out Mirko Filipovic that staggered him. The punch cracked his jaw and he looked a bit out of his feet for a split second. "Napao" parlays this newfound vulnerability into a takedown, dropping Carwin onto his back.

We had never seen the Colorado native in trouble. He had been running roughshod over his opponent but now he had a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt on top of him. It was fight or flight for "The Engineer." It's easy when you always get your way inside the Octagon but champions are born in overcoming adversity.

He was able to recover and get back to his feet. There, he returned the favor to his opponent, delivering a perfectly placed punch of his own. But in Gonzaga's case, there was no recovery. The force of Carwin's fist knocked the Brazilian down and out, a testament to the power he was packing. It appeared to be a short jab making the knockout even more impressive.

It was Carwin's time to shine and he impressed with flying colors. His penchant for ending fights in equal measures of quickness and brutality saw him being groomed for greater things in the UFC and after three lightning fast and devastating stoppages, he would get the biggest opportunity of his career.

He was booked into a title shot with the UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. Several months before the event, however, Lesnar was diagnoses with a debilitating stomach illness and was forced to drop off the card. It was feared that he would never even step foot in the Octagon again.

So a bout between former champ and Lesnar nemesis Frank Mir was booked for an interim title at UFC 111: "St. Pierre vs. Hardy." A win for "The Engineer" met UFC gold plus the opportunity to face Lesnar later in the year to unify the titles.

The fight lasted over twice as long as all of his other fights save for his MMA debut. It took Carwin nearly four minutes to finish Mir but he did so in the typical brutal fashion he was quickly becoming known for.

After a feeling out period and a clinch against the fence that led to a restart, Mir once again found himself pressed onto the cage with Carwin's massive 265-pound frame pinning him down. Exploding off his opponent with the speed of a welterweight, "The Engineer" lands flush with hooks and uppercuts.

Mir dropped onto the canvas, having felt the full brunt of his opponent's power. Survival instincts kick in and a weak single leg takedown is attempted but Carwin simply stands there, barreling punch after punch to the near-defenseless and nearly unconscious Mir.

Four fights and an equal amount of knockouts into his UFC career, Carwin was now sitting atop of the heavyweight division. The only man who had claim to that throne was Lesnar who, two months prior, announced he had recovered and was ready to fight in the summer.

UFC 116: "Lesnar vs. Carwin," the day before Independance Day, provided enough fireworks for the holiday. Four fights shown on Spike TV set the stage for one of the most fun and thrilling events in recent memory.

And when it was time for the main event, hearts began to pound and fingernails started to get chewed.

The fighters met in the center of the cage and soon Carwin found his mark with a punch to the jaw. A takedown from the former WWE Superstar was quickly nullified by "The Engineer" who connected with a knee after they break.

An uppercut from the Colorado native forces Lesnar backs and from there, it got from bad to worse for the champ. Carwin got to tee off on his opponent with uppercut and hooks, forcing him to retreat and eventually slump onto the mat to fight not to win, but to merely survive.

Covering up and doing little else, Carwin was free to land punch after punch on Lesnar. To his credit, when the referee warned the champ that he was in danger of having the fight stopped, Lesnar was able to slightly improve his situation.

But he still had to deal with a massive man with dynamite in both of his hands on top of him, bludgeoning him repeatedly.

For three minutes, Carwin treated his opponent like a grappling dummy during a ground and pound exercise. Punches and elbows landed with frequency but none were enough to put the champ down for the count.

With a minute remaining, the interim champ found himself pressed up against the cage as Lesnar had gotten back to his feet. Somehow the NCAA champion survive the onslaught and would live to see the second round.

It was in this stanza that Carwin fell apart. Exhausted and perhaps disheartened that he was unable to finish his opponent, he came out flat footed with no snap to his punches.

A takedown from the champ got Carwin onto his back for the first time in the fight, landing Lesnar in half guard. From there, he advanced all the way to side mount and secured an arm triangle forcing "The Engineer" to tap out for the very first time in his career.

He blamed an "adrenaline dump," a term that earned its fair share of scorn and mockery in the following weeks. A bout with Roy Nelson was scrapped after Carwin revealed he was going to get surgery to alleviate some neck and back pain that had been troubling him for some time.

Fully recovered from the operation and feeling better than he ever had, Carwin agreed to fight UFC newcomer Jon Olav Einemo at UFC 131 until Lesnar was once again struck with the illness that nearly ended his career nearly two years prior.

"The Engineer" stepped into the main event against Junior dos Santos and is one win away from getting another title shot, this time against Cain Velasquez.

The Brazilian is also known for his brutal and quick stoppages so expecting his fight to go longer than five minutes is foolish.

The fight will likely end in the first round and by devastating fashion.

The question is will it be the young gun from Caçador with his arm raised or does "The Engineer" have the plan and tools to get back to the top of the heavyweight mountain?

We'll find out Saturday.

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