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UFC 107 Preview: Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo

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It's probably amazing that 30-year-old Frank Mir is even able to compete as a professional athlete at all. It wasn't all that long ago that he was told by doctor's that he may very well never compete again. Following his late 2004 motorcycle accident that obliterated his leg, Mir has rebuilt himself as a heavyweight contender. He had a stellar 2008, submitting eventual UFC champion Brock Lesnar in the first round and knocking out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the second. However, he suffered a setback this July with a second round TKO loss to Lesnar in a failed bid for the UFC championship. Saturday marks an opportunity for Frank to get back in the win column and build some momentum heading into 2010. Frank Mir has a professional record of 12-4 with two wins coming by way of knockout and seven wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far in his career is 67.4%.

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Cheick Kongo is one of the most feared heavyweight strikers in MMA. Coming off of a June decision loss to rising heavyweight Cain Velasquez, Kongo looks to turn things around in what will arguably be the most high profile fight of his career. Kongo doesn't wow you with speed. But he has a lot of power, especially with his knee strikes and leg kicks. Cheick also has exceptional physical strength, which allows him to push guys around in the clinch and often makes up for his lack of technique on the ground. Make no mistake, if Cheick connects with the right strike (or combination of strikes) he can knock out just about any heavyweight out there. Cheick Kongo has a professional record of 14-5-1 with nine wins coming by way of knockout and two wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced thus far in his career is 62.0%.

This should be a fun one to watch. 10 of Mir's 16 fights have not gone out of the first round and he's only been to the scorecards once. And Kongo has only had 6 of his 19 fights go to the scorecards. In other words, don't get up to go to the bathroom during this fight. Early on I was favoring Cheick Kongo, but I'm starting to get a different vibe. Mir wants to get another shot at Brock Lesnar more than life itself and he knows that the only way he'll ever have a chance of getting that opportunity is to put together a win streak. Expect him to be very focused. One other thing to consider: I show Cheick Kongo only ever defeating one ranked heavyweight, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic back in 2007. I'm thinking that Mir's experience against a consistently higher level of competition will give him the edge in this one. My prediction: Frank Mir by submission in the 2nd.