Junior Dos Santos vs. Frank Mir Head to Head: Who will win at UFC 146?Posted on May 23, 2012, 04:55 PM by Evan Holober
Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir will take to the cage to decide the UFC heavyweight championship Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden arena. How they got to this position though, is a bit of a head scratcher.
Both were supposed to be fighting on Saturday already, just against different opponents. Junior was slated to take on Alistair Overeem before the challenger was ruled ineligible from a failed random urine screen. Mir was set to tangle with former champion Cain Velasquez, and instead got the late call to fight for the title.
It’s a classic matchup between striker and grappler with each obviously holding skill in other areas. Let’s see how both stack up in each area:
Striking 70-30 Junior Dos Santos
You might ask how there is such a big discrepancy here when Mir has held his own on the feet with good boxers and kick boxers before. It’s simple; Dos Santos is the best striker right now in the heavyweight division and one of the best in the world at any weight. His combinations flow like an elite boxer. When he counters they come with speed, and deadly accuracy. If he connects flush the fight is either over, or resumes with an opponent that simply doesn’t fight back. When somebody is lucky enough to land on him (think Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin), he just shakes it off and drives on. Mir, on the other hand, has trouble with people that put pressure on him. Carwin knocked him out early two years ago. Big Nog was teeing off on Frank until he pulled off a Kimura out of nowhere after weathering the storm. The bottom line is Frank needs to hope for a big shot to land, and if not try to take the fight to the floor.
Wrestling 50-50 even
The problem for Frank is getting the fight to the floor will not be easy. He had a tough time taking down Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic last year and had trouble with the takedowns of Brock Lesnar and Carwin when he took on both earlier in his career. Junior has never had that trouble. The only person that was successful in taking him down was Gabriel Gonzaga, and that fight didn’t stay down for too long. Junior was able to stop both Nelson and Shane from taking him to the ground, but did so to fighters already beat up from taking punishment on the feat. That is why I can’t give him an advantage, but also won’t Mir one either.
Grappling 65-35 Frank Mir
Frank’s best chances in this contest will undoubtedly come once the fight hits the mat. His submission skills have been known to the world since he broke the arm of Roberto Traven (former ADCC absolute champion) when he was still a purple belt. He’s somewhat of a virtuoso while rolling, in that if he catches something, his opponent is done. Dos Santos regularly trains with the Nogueira brothers, and other high level jiu-jitsu practitioners in his native Brazil. However, trying out his grappling on Mir when he’s basically avoided the position for his entire UFC career is not a smart proposition.
Cardio 60-40 Dos Santos
Gas tank problems have plagued Mir’s career from day one. He used to openly admit that he was not scared of what his opponent could do to him in the cage, but if he would have enough energy to end the fight in a timely fashion before he got too tired. Ever since his comeback from the motorcycle accident his pace has been better though. Fights with Roy and Mirko showed that he can fight hard in to the third round, but those matches were fought in a slower manner than Junior usually competes at. Dos Santos himself has looked sluggish in the third round also a few times. What’s good for him though is his opponents were too roughed up from his earlier onslaught to take advantage. His pace throughout is what gives him the advantage here.
Going by these numbers, Junior is the rightful favorite. The good news for Frank is titles aren’t won on paper.