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Brock Lesnar Relaxed for Comeback Despite Major Strategy Shift

LAS VEGAS -- With so much focus on Brock Lesnar's return from illness as the main storyline for UFC 116, it's been easy to miss some of the fight-oriented details of his upcoming title unification bout with interim champion Shane Carwin.

Yet in all the words that have escaped the mouths of those who've spoken about Lesnar in the last few days, few will have as much impact on Saturday night as a quick revelation that some might have missed if they weren't fully attentive to his words. Despite the long layoff, Lesnar is essentially re-inventing himself for the biggest fight of his life, admitting to reporters that he'll be taking the risk of competing in a brand-new stance.

"I brought in Peter Welch, and we changed my stance and switched it from traditional to southpaw," he said. "It's really worked out, helped on wrestling and shooting. We changed a lot of things and we'll see if they work I guess."

The revelation comes as a major surprise given Lesnar's ultra-secret training camp philosophy. Since Lesnar is a natural right-hander, it's unclear exactly how the decision to change was made, but he appears ready to go forward with it. He's been training with Welch for around six months altogether. Many wrestlers change stances to get their more powerful side leading, but that could put them in danger against strikers who defend takedowns well, as your power hand is geared more towards jabs and hooks than straight power punches. Lesnar was an NCAA Division I wrestling champion, while Carwin was an NCAA Dvision II wrestling champ, and most experts believe Carwin to be a more fluid striker, leading to a possible cat-and-mouse on their feet.


He showed very little of his new southpaw stance in his blink-and-you-missed-it open workout, throwing a few jabs and combinations before attending to his media interviews and finally, interacting with fans.

Lesnar appeared happy and at peace before both groups, openly addressing the illness that nearly derailed his fight career for the press and then taking pictures and signing autographs for onlookers attending the session at the MGM Grand Conference Center Marquee Ballroom.

At one point, a child yelled out his name several times as Lesnar posed for photographs.

"I hear you, and I'm coming!" Lesnar yelled back.

"It just feels good to be here," Lesnar said. "I'm just relaxed. God, it feels like an eternity, but I've been through a lot this year. I did [the] Jim Rome [radio show] this morning. I just said, 'I just feel fortunate.' I'm excited for Saturday night. It's been a lot of hard work. To come from Nov. 6, being in the hospital to being here and being healthy and being able to defend the title, it's pretty remarkable."

Already on weight at the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds, Lesnar looked no worse for the wear his body has been through since the diverticulitis scare, appearing as massive as usual.

It's been suggested by some that Carwin, who worked out earlier in the day for the media, has the same physical attributes as Lesnar, but the champ doesn't see it.

"When I look at that guy, that's you guys making comparisons," he said. "I don't see those things, I don't. He hasn't done the things I've done. He's trying to. I just don't see a comparison."

But the always brash-spoken Lesnar didn't say anything specifically critical of Carwin's game.

Caught in the crossfire was their one common opponent, Frank Mir. While Carwin TKO'd Mir inside of the first round last March, Lesnar lost to Mir in 2008 before avenging that with a second-round TKO last July. Asked if Carwin's win impressed him, Lesnar was typically blunt.

"No, not really," he said. "Mir shouldn't have even been fighting him really. You can't unscramble scrambled eggs. I scrambled his eggs six months before that."

But Lesnar also indirectly praised Carwin's power while addressing a question regarding his chin, saying, "It'll only get tested if he hits my chin. We're trying to avoid all those things."

Still, he exhibited his infamous bravado, at one point tearing down a life-size Shane Carwin banner that was standing next to a Lesnar banner, doing so with a mischievous grin on his face.

"I just don't see Shane Carwin as the guy who is going to stop this freight train," he said.

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