The UFC will come at us this Saturday from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. UFC 169 will feature two world title fights. In the main event Renan Barão will look to defend his bantamweight title against Urijah Faber, who he previously beat to win the interim belt at UFC 149.
Then in the co-main event Barão’s training partner, Jose Aldo, will try and defend his featherweight title for the eighth time, against Ricardo Lamas. Also set to fight on the card are former heavyweight champions Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir.
The fight is a must win for Mir and Overeem, as they are both currently on losing streaks. Overeem has lost his last two fights both by knockout, the former Strikeforce champion hasn’t won a fight since December 2011; where he beat Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut.
Mir is now on a three-fight losing skid, after he was knocked out by Josh Barnatt in his last fight. A loss for either man will most likely lead to a pink slip. Still, the match is an important battle in the heavyweight division, so let’s break down both men’s skills and have a closer look at how they match up.
Mir’s standup skills are often overlooked due to his high level submission game. Overall Mir is a very talented striker and is very diverse on the feet. He has three knockouts to his name, his most recent came back at UFC 119; where he knocked out kickboxing legend Mirko Cro Cop.
Mir was also the first man to finish Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. With all that said his main downfall is his glass jaw; out of Mir’s eight losses, three have come by KO or TKO.
His opponent is much more experienced in the standup department. Overeem is a former K1 world champion and had 15 wins coming by way of KO or TKO. His last win by strikes came back in his UFC debut in 2011, where he TKO’d former champion Brock Lesnar.
However, it is worth noting that since Overeem was busted for elevated testosterone levels, he has looked a shadow of him former self; both physically and in the cage. This has reflected on his last two fights, as he has consecutively been knocked out for the first time in his career. Overeem has never been able to take punishment, in all, he’s been finished 19 times in his career with strikes.
Overeem is no doubt the better striker, but I also think he has the worst striking defence. For that reason “The Reem” will take it, but by not as much as you might think. 60/40 Overeem.
Both men lack in their wrestling skills. Overeem tends to rely on his strength to defend takedowns and put his opponent on the mat, but he has struggled to do that in his last two fights. “The Reem’s” wrestling ability will no doubt fade later in the fight.
Mir’s wrestling is without doubt the weakest part of his game, but he has faced far better wrestlers in his career. Half of the 34 year olds losses have come to standout wrestlers.
Early on I think “The Reem” will have the slight edge, but if the fight makes it to the second or third round, Mir will have the advantage. This ones 50/50.
I think we know who takes this one.
Mir is unquestionably the greatest heavyweight submission artist in the UFC. The former UFC champion holds the record of the most submission wins in the heavyweight division, 8 of his 14 wins in the UFC have finished by submission.
Mir’s last win came by submission at UFC 140, where he snapped the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s arm. The loss was “Big Nog’s” first loss by submission in 44 professional fights.
While Overeem is mostly known for his standup skills, most of his wins have actually come by way of submission. “The Reem” has an impressive 19 wins by submission. His last submission win was against James Thompson, back in 2009.
Another factor to consider is the stamina of both men. Mir has a good gas tank for a heavyweight, while Overeem tends to fade after the first round. If it does go to the ground in the latter stages of the fight, Mir should comfortably be able to pull of a sub. Mir takes this one with ease at 75/25.
Even though I think Mir is the overall more skilled fighter, I can’t see him being able to survive a early barrage from Overeem. But if Mir can drag it into the later rounds, he could just as easily finish “The Reem”. Who do you think will take it on Saturday night?