You have some really good points and I'm in no way saying you're wrong, I'm just saying what I think will happen. Loving this conversation so far as well, this is what I was hoping to get out of starting this thread!
Carwins constantly improving(everyone is). You can see he changed his approach massively between the Gonzaga and Frank Mir fights. In the Gonzaga fight he stood right in front of Gonzaga and tried to slug fest his way to victory.
Totally agree. That being said, Carwin is still (likely, as we haven't seen him for like a year) miles behind JDS from a striking stand point. We're talking about a man with low level striking and huge power trying to close the gap with someone who, IMO, is a K-1 level striker.
Realizing he could be hurt by a good puncher, Carwin resorted to a gameplan in his next fight. He stood on the outside against Mir(showing decent mobility), waited for Mir to come forwards, then shot in pressing Mir against the cage where it would be safer to finish him off.
A surprisingly mobile Carwin who uses gameplans(the second Mir comes forwards and commits to something, Carwin shoots and pushes Mir into the cage):
He impletmented a fantastic game plan against Mir. That fight actually went almost to a T the way I called it
Same thing with the Brock fight. Thing is that Carwin has used that gameplan before (get close, birty box until his face falls off). It's a good plan, but we've seen it before. If there's one thing JDS will be looking to counter as a whole, it will be that plan.
Secondly, Mir has many, many weaknesses that JDS does not.
A) His striking, while improving, is no where NEAR as good as Junior's.
B) He's easily one of the slowest heavy weights in the division, foot work and otherwise.
c) Mir's striking is extremely predictable after the first few exchanges. He tends to throw a lot of the same combo (See the Nogueria fight where he throws the same combo about 2000 times)
D) Mir's wrestling and TDD is severely lacking. As a BJJ ace, it always has been. He's comfortable off his back so he hasn't learned to stuff a shot the right way proficiently. JDS' wrestling remains to be seen, but he does circle well off the cage and he does defend takedowns well, at least better than Mir.
Trying to do the same thing to JDS as he did with Mir won't happen the same way from what I've seen in the two fighters. That's not to say it won't happen entirely, but it's going to be much harder for Carwin to do that to JDS than it was with Mir.
JDS has good mobility, having a reach advantage adds to that. The thing with mobility & footwork is this is the heavyweight division. Its not lightweight where someone like Frankie Edgar can constantly use their mobility to fustrate and out-maneuver people. Fighters are bigger and heavier & they're taller and have longer reach. Its not really economical for a heavyweight to fight like say how Frankie Edgar does. JDS isn't likely to zip around with enough speed and technical proficiency to keep Carwin off him. As long as JDS is in a position to land a punch on Carwin, Carwin having a reach advantage will more or less guarantee Carwin can do the same.
THere's a key to this. Naturally big men like JDS (who isn't overweight and seems to fit his frame very well) are generally not as encumbered by this. JDS still moves quickly in later rounds, or at least far more so than most other heavy weights. Cain is the same way. Carwin has a lot of unnecessary muscle on his body (from an anatomy stand point, not fighting) that will slow him down. Junior is far more lean and compact. I think Junior will slow down, but not until Carwin has essentially completely gassed himself. JDS will be faster than Carwin for this entire fight IMO.
JDS has been hit before by Cro Cop, etc. He can be hit.
Despite his age, CroCop is still a very, very high level K-1 striker. Carwin is nowhere near him.
Carwin throws nice uppercuts with his left hand too, if I remember right. Most of Carwins KO's happened years ago, I'm sure hes developed and added more tools to his arsenal.
IIRC he throws them more as a set up punch. Not that it's a bad thing, I just don't think he'll be turning JDS' lights out with it. Carwin's bread and butter will remain that right straight. Junior has many more knock out punches in his arsenal IMO. Still,, a straight right is about the best KO punch you can ask for lol.
Another thing likely to limit JDS' offense is Carwins wrestling. One reason Pettis couldnt unleash his striking had to do with him being wary about Guida taking him down. JDS could face the same problem. He'll either have to respect the wrestling of Carwin and be more tentative then were used to seeing him, or he may wind up on his back.
The thing about that is that when you fight a wrestler, striking doesn't go out the window, kicking does. I don't expect JDS to throw a lot of kicks and knees for fear of being taken down, but I expect him to still be able to commit to his punches. That being said, I still think JDS is going to go into this looking to counter punch regardless, mroe for fear of getting into a slug fest with Carwin than for fear of his wrestling.
I think Carwin will try for a gameplan possibly similar to the one he used against Mir. JDS will have to come forwards at some point and Carwin will shoot on him and try to push him up against the cage, then either try for a takedown or use dirty boxing.
As I said, I do as well. It's his bread and butter plan. I do not, however, think it will work with Juniors speed and mobility. Mir is a wholely different fighter than Junior is.
The scenario where Carwin and JDS stay in the center of the octagon and commit to a slugfest where JDS outmaneuvers and out-strikes Carwin isn't likely to develop, I'm thinking.
I agree, I don't think either man is willing to trade blows with the other. It's going to come down to who can maneuver around the other better and who can cancel out who's gameplan. I just think JDS has a better shot at doing that.