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Shane Carwin, Junior dos Santos Both Looking for the KO at UFC 131

On Tuesday's media call, UFC heavyweights Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos made very clear what fans should expect to see when they meet in the Octagon on June 11, and it's more or less what most people were already expecting.

"Let's face it, both dos Santos and I got to where we're at right now by knocking people out on our feet," Carwin said. "I think we're both explosive fighters and I think the fans are going to...have a real treat at UFC 131 when it gets to that main event, knowing both guys have knockout power in their hands."

Dos Santos echoed the sentiment, adding that while he usually feels most comfortable in the stand-up game, he'll have to be more wary of Carwin's striking than he would have been of Brock Lesnar's.

"Me and Shane Carwin are good standing fighters," dos Santos said. "I believe so much in my boxing. My boxing bring me here until now, and I feel very comfortable fighting on my feet. So I will try to keep this fight standing, but I'm ready to fight wherever I need."

Not that it should come as a surprise that these two heavyweights should continue to look for the KO in this number one contender fight, of course. Carwin and dos Santos sport identical 12-1 records, and both owe more than half their victories to knockouts.

But for both men, facing an opponent with dangerous striking skills is a significant change from the original plan. Dos Santos was initially slated to face Lesnar, who's known much more for his wrestling than for his stand-up. But when he withdrew due to a recurring bout of diverticulitis, Carwin was pulled from his match-up with submissions specialist Jon Olav Einemo and shuttled into bout with dos Santos, where the stakes and the quality of competition were instantly higher.

"I don't know if there are any warm-up fights in the UFC," Carwin said of Einemo. "You're fighting a top group of guys in the world who have competed to get to that level and Jon was no exception. He was basically a gold medalist in jiu-jitsu and training with one of the top striking teams in the world. He was a very tough opponent and just hasn't run the same course that Junior dos Santos has run through the UFC, so either way I had to make sure that I was prepared to come in there and fight at my best."

Dos Santos, who said his training camp didn't change much as a result of the opponent switch, acknowledged that he will have to adopt a different approach on fight night now.

"The strategy now is going to be a little bit different, because with Brock I could use my boxing more [easily] for me with him. With [Carwin], now I have to be...a little more cautious."

By the time they step into the cage, both men will have been out of action nearly a year, but for very different reasons. After his loss to Lesnar in a UFC heavyweight title fight last July, Carwin opted to have a neck surgery that kept him on the shelf for several months. Dos Santos decided to take a coaching spot opposite Lesnar on 'The Ultimate Fighter' rather than wait for current champ Cain Velasquez to get healthy enough to defend his title.

Dos Santos last fight was a decision victory over Roy Nelson, but that was nearly ten months ago, which is "too much time without fights," he said.

On the flip side, it's probably a little easier to deal with the layoff when you're coming off a win. For Carwin, the last fight on his record is still a bit of a bitter memory, though he said he tries to extract as many positives as he can from it.

"I learned a lot. I learned some things about picking my shots a little bit more when you get someone hurt or get them down. I learned that I had to try and do some things with my nutrition and my cardio – I don't know if it was so much a cardio issue, but we'll see," said Carwin, who added that he's slimmed down to the 250-pound range thanks to a "mostly organic" diet given to him by Grudge Training Center fighter and nutritionist Josh Ford.

As for the loss itself, Carwin seems to be doing his best to put it behind him.

"It's part of life. I'm not going to dwell on it. There were plenty of positives, but the one thing I can say is that I left everything in the Octagon. I was barely able to walk out of there. I didn't hold back; I put every ounce of energy I had into that fight. When I walked out that cage door, I knew that in my mind. So I was okay with myself, I just knew that I had things to work on."

Against dos Santos, he confronts an opponent with the ability to test not only his staying power, but also his boxing skills and his chin. Both men seem well aware of the risks in this particular fight, even if they have slightly different opinions on who is favored more by a toe-to-toe striking battle.

"We're knockout artists," said Carwin. "That's how Junior fights and that's how I fight. I just believe in my power and my strength in boxing, and he believes in his. We'll find out come June 11th."

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