Junior Dos Santos makes his first defence of the UFC heavyweight title this weekend, facing former champion Frank Mir. Will he be successful? The numbers are against him - the heavyweight title changes hands more than any other division - and staff opinion is sharply divided at Fighters Only HQ…
Editor, Fighters Only magazine
Ripping off limbs and cashing cheques, that’s the Frank Mir way. And despite all the odds stacked against the former UFC heavyweight champion, I believe Mir will complete a journey that’s taken him almost a decade to negotiate when he defeats Junior Dos Santos in Las Vegas tomorrow night at UFC 146.
Yes, I do believe ‘Cigano’ has far superior stand-up, in fact he’s genuinely the owner of elite-level boxing punching power. And he’s also younger, hungrier, leaner and meaner than the 33-year-old veteran. But, more than anything else, he is also the proud owner of the UFC heavyweight belt, and as Mir himself knows as much as anyone else, that’s one seriously cursed chunk of 20lb leather and gold.
Nobody holds onto this thing. If I saw it on the street, I’d step over it through fear of losing out to a rogue lightening bolt or freak tidal wave. And, similarly, Dos Santos’ biggest fear when the bell goes has to simply be holding onto all of his limbs. Frank Mir to win by submission for sure… And for no reason more technical than, right place at the right time.
Fighters Only Website Editor
I can’t see Mir taking this one. Like many people with a predominantly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu background, he has an ironically deficient wrestling game - why do so many BJJ guys seem to avoid wrestling like the plague? - and so I think he has little chance of getting Dos Santos to the floor.
The only way I see him doing it is if Dos Santos flattens him, follows him to the floor for a finish and then gets caught with something. Mir is actually very fond of playing possum and pretending to be hurt so that opponents will do just that; surely someone on Dos Santos’ team has seen this and communicated it to him? If they haven’t, Dos Santos might get a shock.
Mir also seems to have fallen in love with his striking of late and I have a suspicion he is going to try and prove a point by trading with Dos Santos, which is going to be a bit like showing a shark that you’ve got teeth as well by diving into the water and biting it. There are similarities, but massive differences in scale - Dos Santos hits seriously hard.
Carwin couldn’t get Dos Santos down, couldn’t outwork him and couldn’t outbox him. Mir won’t do any of that either. Nogueira dropped Mir - Dos Santos will lift him out of the arena. So I am predicting Dos Santos to keep the belt by way of a knockout or TKO finish.
Associate Editor, Fighters Only magazine
Frank Mir can take the heavyweight title from Junior Dos Santos in the main event of UFC 146 this Saturday, but previous bouts suggest he won't. The immensely skilled Las Vegas submission sniper has had trouble with powerful shots in the past (Shane Carwin, Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar) and that's exactly what he faces in hard-boxing Dos Santos.
Granted, he knocked out Mirko 'Cro Cop' at UFC 119 but it had been a long time since the kickboxing Croatian had put anyone to sleep with strikes. And he survived that 'Big Nog' onslaught to break the Brazilian's arm but he was a second or two of physical inactivity away from being declared the loser via TKO. Would lightning strike twice?
To win he must keep away from Dos Santos' hands by hunting for a takedown in the clinch or looking for a submission from his back; he's been stopped in both situations before. Simply put, for Mir to become the new heavyweight king he has to put himself in too many positions where he will surely suffer too many powerful blows.