By Mike Dingess, UFC Blogger | CBSDFW.COM


Grappler vs. Striker

Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas UFC Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos (14-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) puts his title on the line against former 2 times champion Frank Mir (16-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC).

At first glance this fight almost has an old school UFC feel pitting the best striker in the Heavyweight division(Overeem cheats so he doesn’t deserve that title) I Dos Santos against easily the best grappler in the division in challenger Frank Mir.   Mir has 8 submission finishes in his UFC career and Dos Santos has finished 5 opponents by either KO or TKO with the lone submission victory also coming from punches when he defeated Mirko Cro Cop by verbal submission at UFC 103 in Dallas.

I feel that the biggest key to this fight will be which fighter is able to handle himself best when out of his comfort zone.

Mir has developed into a very well rounded fighter and has finished strong strikers before in Check Kongo and Mirko Cro Cop.  Dos Santos has faced and defeated one of the best grapplers in the world when he knocked out Fabricio Werdum in his octagon debut in a fight that never hit the ground.  The fight starts standing and if Mir is not able to test Dos Santos on the ground it could be a very long or maybe even short night for the challenger.  If the fight does make it to the ground Dos Santos will be truly tested by Mir who has arguably the most creative and diverse jui jitsu attack in the Heavyweight division.

Don’t miss the 1st round!

This fight is going to be very exciting in the early going.

Dos Santos has finished 5 out of 8 UFC opponents in the 1st round and Mir has 8 first round submission victories to go along with one DQ victory and 3 first round losses.  14 out of Mir’s 21 career fights have ended in the first round which includes 3 first round KO/TKO losses.

When Mir was asked about the importance of the first round he said” Dos Santos, all his knockouts are in the first round, my submissions came in the first round too, so I realize that both of us are most dangerous in the first round.”  When asked about what makes the champion so dangerous early on Mir had high praise for Dos Santos’ boxing ability “ It’s his speed, how fast he can throw his hands and like all people as the fight goes on it’s impossible to be just as fast as you were in the first two minutes, speed slows down.  That’s why he knocks people out in the first round. He has incredible speed and its overwhelming and I don’t think people have time to adjust for it.” Mir finished by saying “I know that the first round is more important than any other round in this fight”.

My Take

Frank Mir has to get this fight to the ground or against the cage early on and wear down Dos Santos to attempt to nullify the champion’s superior speed when the fight is taking place on the feet. If Dos Santos is able to avoid what should be constant takedown attempts by the challenger, Mir’s improved striking won’t be enough to overcome the champions fast and powerful attack.

I do think that this fight will hit the matt at some point but I expect Dos Santos to be good enough on the ground to survive Mir’s submission arsenal.   I am predicting a very exciting but short fight on Saturday.

Mir has shown that he is not the best at taking punches against the likes of Shane Carwin and Antonio Nogueira and I expect the power of Dos Santos to be too much for him to overcome.  Dos Santos by 1st round KO/TKO

Don’t forget to turn into the UFC 146 post fight show hosted by myself and Richard Hunter Saturday night live from The Fan Sports Lounge.  We will be joined by UFC lightweight Anthony Njokuani who will be at TFSL watching the pay-per view before hopping on the air to co-host the post-fight with us.  There is no cover at TFSL for any pay-per view events so save yourself $55 and come party with us at TFSL!

Richard Hunter interviews Frank Mir

You can follow me on twitter @mmamiked

You can follow Richard Hunter @RichardHunter and Anthony Njokuani @anthonynjoku

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