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UFC 146 preview: Junior dos Santos eyes first title defense against Frank Mir

JDS (left) will face Frank Mir at UFC 146

The UFC 146 main event will feature Junior dos Santos aiming to defend his UFC Heavyweight Title for the first time against former UFC champion Frank Mir. It’s a bout that was put together when Mir agreed to replace Alistair Overeem when Overeem was pulled from the bout due to an abnormal drug test. It’s not the sizzling hot main event we once had, but it is interesting nonetheless since it’s two of the best heavyweights in the world going at it. Let’s see how this one breaks down.

Frank Mir (16-5) is coming off a come from behind highlight reel submission win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 141. It was a fight that saw Mir come close to being stopped via TKO only to reverse position and apply a kimura that broke Nogueira’s arm as he refused to tap to the submission. Mir became the first guy ever to knockout and submit the legendary Nogueira who is a mentor to Junior dos Santos. Mir arguably is one of the best jiu-jiu practitioners in MMA and holds the UFC record with eight submission wins to his credit. He does have three wins via TKO/KO and has developed his striking over the years, but his bread and butter is incredibly powerful submissions.

Junior dos Santos (14-1) is coming off his TKO win over Cain Velasquez in November to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion. Dos Santos is undefeated in the UFC with eight wins overall and six wins via TKO/KO. He arguably has the best boxing in the heavyweight division and is an excellent athlete overall with good speed and explosiveness.

Dos Santos is the favorite at (-500) and Mir as the underdog at (+375).

Those odds are spot on as this is basically an old school striker vs. grappler matchup. It’s true that Mir has improved his striking, but he doesn’t have huge power in his strikes and he will be giving up a big advantage to Dos Santos. Mir knows that his best chance of winning is on the ground via submission. The only problem will be getting the fight there as Dos Santos has excellent takedown defense. Mir might be forced to pull guard, but the only problem is that it will not do any good if Dos Santos does not want to engage him on the ground(he’ll get right back up to his feet at the first opportunity). The only loss Dos Santos has is via submission, so maybe Mir has a glimmer of hope?

Doubtful.

Junior dos Santos is an absolute killer than has faced some heavy hitters striking wise en route to winning the UFC Heavyweight crown. Mir is a southpaw but throws the same combinations every single time. Dos Santos throws multiple combinations with huge power in both hands that can and probably will put Mir away. Mir’s chin has been found many times as all five of his losses are via TKO/KO. In fact, he was rocked by the aging Nogueira who isn’t known for having huge power in his hands.

I expect Dos Santos to get him out of there early as Mir will be forced to stand and trade with him. If Mir wins it will have to be a haymaker punch or a quick submission.

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