Featured | Written by:
Adam Conklin | Published in: Fighters
On a main card full of heavyweight fights, it may be hard to single out one fight in particular that you're most looking forward to. Well I'm here to tell you that the single most intriguing fight on the main card will, without a doubt, be Frank Mir vs. Cain Velasquez.
Here, we have the former (and brief) champion coming off the first professional loss of his career, one that saw him lying face first after only a minute in the Octagon with now champion Junior dos Santos. Cain will be a new breed of athlete and will be looking to show fans and UFC brass why he still is champion material.
Frank Mir is also a former champion who has a wealth of experience and, after the second bout with Nogueira, the best submission skills of any heavyweight by far. Mir has proven time and time again that you never really know what to expect from him. He has KO wins, submission wins and an improved style which just rounds out the career of a heavyweight thoroughbred.
Now, when these two meet it will surely be a case of where the fight ends up that determines the victor. On the feet, however, both men can potentially come out on top. Cain can be a finisher but if you really look at his finishes aside from Nogueira, his KO power is more or less just a Jon Fitch style of grinding but with heavier hands. Of course, Nogueira is no easy man to finish but Mir has probably softened that chin just a little bit and after his last win over Big Nog, Mir has cemented himself as a danger anywhere, anytime.
So, Cain needs to remember two things, wrist control is terrible for him, and Mir never moves his head during a barrage of shots.
Lets start with that wrist control. Mir knows how to break any limb off of your body and does a better job at it while his opponent struggles similar to that of an alligator. He knows how to finish and doesn't look for the tap but instead listens for the snap. If he grabs one of Cain's limbs long enough to formulate a conscious thought on what to do with that limb, Velasquez will have already lost.
Second, the head movement or should I say, lack thereof. Frank has showed in fights that when he is struck, he freezes up. His great technical boxing aside, Frank doesn't know how to deal with on-going adversity. In the Big Nog fight Mir lied dormant on the mat until he was given an instant to breath then came back with a vengeance. Cain can't stop throwing shots. This won't be hard for Cain to do as he is an absolute machine but he must work his shots up the power scale and look to finish after he feels the first tough shot connect whilst taking a play out of the playbooks of literally every TKO/KO loss of Mir's career.
Now on to Mir, he must do these things to ensure victory: wrap up quick on the ground and also, fight tall with his head back.
When Mir is inevitably taken down by Velasquez whether it be a clean double or right after a hook that stuns Mir, he must wrap up quickly. Cain is a grinder as I pointed out earlier and Mir is aware of this. Both feet need to lock like vice grips while the hands need to go as tight as possible preferably for Mir in an under/over position. If he wraps his arms around Cain's body then Cain will still have room to throw shots and will just continue with his own agenda. Once locked in place, Mir should use his legs to put himself in position to use Cain's body as a reverse springboard if Cain attempts to pass the guard. This will help Mir right back to his feet.
For his stance, Mir should employ a tall stance. Back straight, shoulders hunched, head down, arms up. Cain thrives off hard counters and being able to work combinations on his opponents as they attempt to move their head out of the way. Frank should stay tall and throw leg kicks and quick jabs while trying his best not to telegraph either. This should be done in a sporadic fashion as to not let Cain nail his timing and shoot in or try to counter. Mir has the technique and power to rock Velasquez and just needs to remember not to get sucked into any sort of striking battle.
Either way this one turns out, this will surely be the most interesting matchup especially when you add the title implications to a win. Both men are seasoned warriors who have tremendous technique and athleticism and no matter what, it will be a privilege to watch these two fan favorites go to war.
If faced with the tough decision to choose a victor, I would choose Mir as his momentum should carry over into this fight. It will be interesting to see how Cain rebounds but I think mentally, Mir has the edge. If I were a betting man I would put my money on Mir 2nd round submission.