Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos (14-1-0) vs. Frank Mir (16-5-0)
Alistair Overeem may have been the man that everyone wanted to see Junior make his first title defense against, but his lack of following the rules has lead us to this fight. In Frank Mir, Junior faces one of the longest standing figures in the heavyweight division. A man that holds the record for most wins in the UFC’s Heavyweight division, and one of, if not the best heavyweight grappler of all time. Many people are not giving Frank Mir a shot to win this bout, but no one has the accolades he does, most of which came via upset.
Junior’s best chance to win this fight is to obviously keep it standing. With 14 wins in his career, and ten of them by knockout, he knows what he is doing. The problem, which Mir has pointed out, is no one has seen the ground game of Dos Santos. If you can defend takedowns or knock people out before it reached the ground it is not a problem, as JDS has proven. Is it possible that he may make the same mistake as his mentor Big Nog? Could he get submitted after hurting Mir?
Frank Mir may have a weak chin, he is very intelligent in his game planning. Mir has shown to have pretty good standup himself. He easily knocked down Cheick Kongo before most fighters, was the first man to stop Big Nog (via KO), even dropping Brock Lesnar in their rematch, and then picked Roy Nelson apart standing, and knocked out Cro Cop with a knee. He easily has more diverse stand-up that JDS, and needs to use it to win this fight. Unfortunately, fights are not started on the ground so Mir will be forced to stand. If he is able to use kicks to keep JDS’ hands away from him he can slow him down. Plus, if JDS takes him down off a kick he will end up in a good spot anyways.
The Bottom Line: When this fight was first announced I was confident that JDS would defend with ease. The closer the fight has come, it starts to look like Mir has more of a shot. JDS usually does not talk bad about his opponents, but has talked more about Mir than any other opponent. I believe Mir’s submission is in JDS’s head more than he will admit. Mir will win this fight by submission int he third round.