With UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir — featuring the UFC’s first all-heavyweight main card — just a day away, FightLine offers a couple of quick picks for the fight card’s main and co-main event.
UFC 146 will go down tomorrow night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (don’t miss out on FightLine’s live coverage of the event). Until then, enjoy some brief prognostication:
Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir
You can add whatever storyline you’d like to it to make it more palatable, but the fact remains that this fight is the back-up plan that saved the main event when Alistair Overeem was forced to withdraw.
However, that doesn’t mean this fight won’t deliver.
UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos will be attempting to make his first title defense against the division’s most dangerous submission grappler in Mir. Though the former champ is considered to be a heavy underdog to the current one, Mir is riding a three-fight winning streak that’s capped off by a spectacular comeback performance over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Dos Santos has dynamite in his hands and the technique to make sure he stays on his feet to put that on his opponents. Though it’s proven Mir can be dropped with a solid blow, he brings a cerebral approach and skillset to the match that could prove dangerous to dos Santos.
Mark Wayne: Dos Santos is considered the favorite over Mir for a reason: everything about his style and recent performances suggest that Mir is in trouble. He’s withstood the offense of better (at least on paper) wrestlers than Mir and it would appear getting it to the ground is Mir’s only shot at a win. If it stays on the feet, Mir’s in for a long night. But hell, you only live once. I think Mir’s smart enough to know he has to pull guard to get this one down. He’ll do it and it won’t be hard for him to snatch a limb when he does. Mir by submission in round one
Dana Becker: Junior dos Santos is going to give some stability to the UFC heavyweight title, as “Cigano” appears to be the present and the future of the division. The 27-year-old is the best boxer in the division – and maybe the UFC for that matter – and is training with enough submission-oriented fighters to know what to do on the ground. While you can’t count out Frank Mir because he does have the skills to wear the belt again, Mir won’t be able to withstand the kind of punishment that dos Santos is going to inflict. Dos Santos by TKO in round two
Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva
In the night’s co-main event, recently dethroned champion Cain Velasquez will meet the debuting Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva; both men will be looking to rebound from recent losses.
An all-around terror, Velasquez suffered his first pro loss last November when he was quickly knocked out by current champion Junior dos Santos and forced to relinquish the title. Prior to that, the American Kickboxing Academy product had rattled off nine straight wins, including victories over Cheick Kongo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar.
Bigfoot will be making his promotional debut with the UFC after getting knocked out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix by Velasquez’s teammate/coach Daniel Cormier. Before that defeat, Silva had picked up three wins in a row, including a TKO of Fedor Emelianenko.
Mark: It’s no secret that Velasquez was harboring a bum knee heading into his last fight. It may not have made a difference then, but I expect a healthy Velasquez to do essentially what Cormier did to Bigfoot by virtue of his speed and all-around MMA awareness. Velasquez by TKO in round one
Dana: The former UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, has been waiting months to get back inside the Octagon. While the planned match with Frank Mir would have been thrilling, I personally think this is an easier match for Velasquez. Daniel Cormier, who trains with Velasquez at AKA, defeated Antonio Silva, so the former Arizona State University wrestler should have no trouble. Look for Velasquez to pick Silva apart before finishing him on the ground. Velasquez by TKO in round one