Five Things Frank Mir Must Do To Defeat Junior dos Santos at UFC 146
UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is a very dangerous man. Currently in the midst of a nine fight winning streak that includes some of the sport's most dangerous competitors, "Cigano" looks unstoppable according to many critics.
But the UFC's heavyweight division has been anything but stable over the past few years and Saturday's bout pitting dos Santos against former champion Frank Mir could be much of the same.
Anyone closely following the behemoths knows that Mir previously beat Santos's mentor, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, with a devistating arm bar. That could get into Santos's head, blah blah blah. We know all about it.
A lesser-known fact is that the only loss Junior Dos Santos has is by armbar. That is something that could get into his head. But 10 of his 14 wins have come by KO and all five of Mir's losses are by knockout. Now who's worried?
It's not as black and white as saying that Mir should avoid the standup and dos Santos should avoid the ground. Both athletes have top-level skills in all areas. Mir needs to stay in tight. If he lets Dos Santos throw those knock out bearing fists his night could end prematurely.
Here are five things that Mir must do in order to pull off another upset against a feared Brazilian opponent.
- Get in close. The less space between him and Santos the better. The less chance of dos Santos landing the brutal knockout shot. The few knockouts Mir has are from a combination of punches and knees in close.
- Get it to the ground. Mir can handle himself just fine standing but on the ground he’s unstoppable. A total of seven submission wins gives him the most submission wins in the heavyweight division. He holds the third spot in the UFC total standings just behind submission specialists Kenny Florian with eight and Royce Gracie with 11.
- Let dos Santos swing for the fences. Dos Santos is known for boxing, not endurance. If he throws everything he has into early punches he could wear himself out. We saw this happen in the first round against Shane Carwin. That fight could have been stopped if dos Santos had just a little more power left in his punching spree. But with the punches getting lighter and lighter Herb Dean decided Carwin was not being hurt bad enough to stop the fight. Accompanying Mir's limb breaking devastation Mir is an underrated source of endurance. He can grapple all twenty-five minutes with constant submission attempts.
- Keep him guessing. Everybody knows dos Santos wants the knockout. If Mir throws knees, kicks, takedown attempts Santos will never have a chance to settle himself and land the knockout blow.
- Be patient. When fights go into later rounds it benefits the submission artist. No better example of this than the Sonnen vs. Silva fight. Sonnen wanted to simply strike the whole fight. Silva patiently waited until the right opportunity and sunk in the triangle choke. Watch for Mir to do much of the same.
I do believe it’s fair to say all five rounds will not be needed with this one considering that in the combined 36 total fights these two have had only five go to decision.Standard reporter closing statement is that this is sure to be an entertaining fight. But what fans should watch for is a new UFC heavyweight champion in the second round via armbar.
Photo credit David Pono Kuni