The Lesnar vs. Mir heavyweight showdown is a perfect way to cap off a show that will be remembered as a milestone in the history of the sport we all love. Most of us can remember when the majority of pay-per-view providers shunned airing MMA. We can remember the constant battles to gain respect for the sport and the seemingly endless campaigns to win sanctioning in key states. Zuffa deserves a ton of the credit for accomplishing these goals. But the fans deserve a lot as well. The hardcore fans helped keep this thing afloat when it was written off as dead. We saw it surge in popularity back in 2005 to levels that we never thought possible. And now we see MMA occasionally mentioned in mainstream publications, mainstream sports websites and even on television by "The Worldwide Leader" ESPN. So good fights or bad; whether the show on Saturday is exciting, boring or somewhere in between, sit back and just enjoy this one, folks. You've earned it.
For all of the crap that people give Brock Lesnar for getting major exposure so early in his career, it's worth remembering that he hasn't exactly been spoon fed. With just four fights under his belt he's already faced two former world champions and a solid Pride veteran. And for all of the criticism that he receives in regard to his WWE background, it's easy to forget that the guy was a very accomplished amateur wrestling juggernaut with a 106-5 collegiate record at Minnesota. If Lesnar were only a wrestler he would most certainly not find himself in the main event of this weekend's historic UFC. What makes him so impressive is the fact that his wrestling skill is accentuated by incredible athleticism and some heavy handed punching. What is still unknown is whether the 31 year old Lesnar's submission defense has improved. That question may well be answered on Saturday. He currently has a professional record of 3-1 with 2 wins coming by way of knockout. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced in his career is 64.8% (source: Sherdog.com).
You'll find very few heavyweight submission specialists that move as fluidly as Mir does. He seems to effortlessly transition from one submission attempt to another and possesses a fairly active guard. Despite lingering questions about his chin, Mir has shown a willingness to stand and strike in recent matches. It is true that Mir has been stopped three times in the first round by strikes. However, with his submission skills and the new confidence in his striking that he has shown since teaming up with his new coach, Ken Hahn, Mir is a threat to any heavyweight in the world. The 30-year-old Mir has a professional record of 12-3 with 2 wins coming by way of knockout and 7 wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced in his career is 66.9%.
Some fight analysis after the jump:
Rich Wyatt's analysis: There is absolutely no question that Ken Hahn has done a tremendous job with Frank Mir. Mir has looked like a different fighter of late and has shown a confidence in the cage that he hadn't shown since prior to his near career-ending motorcycle accident. Under Hahn's tutelage, Mir has shown improved lateral movement and a better understanding of how and when to throw combinations. All of this has combined with his sick jiu-jitsu game to move him back near the top of the heavyweight division. At the end of the day, however, my reservations about picking Mir have less to do with anything that he can improve on and more to do with something that I think is largely beyond his control. I have real concerns about his ability to take the punches and strikes that he'll probably need to be able to take to win this fight. The ability to take such shots and keep going is something that guys are generally born with(the old "you can't teach chin" axiom).Brock Lesnar could very well get submitted by the talented Mir and it wouldn't surprise me, but I'm more inclined to think that Lesnar has improved his submission defense than I am to think that Mir's chin has improved. I'm going to have to go with Lesnar by strikes. The crazy thing here is that, of the five predictions that I've made in my previews of UFC 100, this is probably the one that I'm least comfortable with just because I can see this fight playing out in a number of ways. But then, unpredictability is what makes this sport so fun.
Charles Walker's analysis: The fight between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir will answer a lot of questions. Was their first fight a simple matter of inexperience on Brock's part? Is Frank Mir really the real deal? Something deep down tells me this fight will not last long as I do not see this being a five round war when you have two guys with two distinct and dangerous styles. I still fail to see where Frank Mir's striking was all that much better after UFC 92. Sure, he was able to continuously land on a flat footed, no head movement using, slowed down version of Minotauro, but that doesn't exactly scream improvement to me. Not knocking Mir at all, as he did what many before him couldn't, it still remains to be seen how well his forward lunging one two combo will do against a quick opponent. Which is the key facet to this fight...Brock Lesnar's speed. As we saw in their first encounter Brock was able to fend off any of the very few striking attempts Mir was able to muster up. In doing so, he himself was able to slip in quite a bit of offense which led to what many thought was the conclusion of the match in only seconds but instead was ruled a punch to the back of the head. Mir cannot afford to be taken down and hammerfisted (if that's a word) the way he was the first time, because even with his great composure, those shots add up and the likelihood of him being saved by the ref again could be slim. For Mir, I think he has to turn this fight into a cat and mouse game. What I mean is that he needs to frustrate Brock by being a moving target instead of one standing right in front of him. When Couture was able to use movement he was able to hit Brock and with the cinder blocks of hands that he throws, a culmination of swings and misses will certainly tire the big man out and leave limbs open if and when the fight hits the mat. Mir can't stand toe to toe with Brock, if he does...well...he better put a brand of smelling salt as a sponsor because he's going to be using some that night. For Brock, he has to use his size, his reach advantage, and his quickness to put a dent in Mir's skull as quickly as possible. Something screams letdown in this fight...I do believe the first few minutes will actually be semi-explosive and then one will catch the other in something and that'll end the ‘historic' 100th edition of UFC on PPV.