UFC Fight Night 85 Prediction
MARK HUNT (#9 HW, 11-10-1, 6-4-1 UFC) vs FRANK MIR (#10 HW, 18-10, 16-10 UFC)
The main event of UFC Brisbane will feature a battle of veteran heavyweights as 41 year old New Zealander Mark Hunt battles 36 year old former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. While both are probably past their vintage form and thus any genuine title hopes, both remain exciting fighters with fight finishing capabilities, sharing three first round knockout victories in 2015 alone.
Hunt’s last main event outing in Australia featured him on the wrong end a five round drubbing to current top contender Stipe Miocic, whereas Mir will be coming in off a dispiriting unanimous decision loss to fellow veteran Andrei Arlovski.
As a former K-1 World Grand Prix champion, it’s obvious what Hunt’s bread and butter is. Even as a 5’10 fighter who has to cut weight to get to 265lbs, Hunt is a terrifically powerful and strong athlete.
He will stalk his opponents, treating their strikes as somewhat of a nuisance as he seeks to dictate the pace. As such, he will almost lull his opponents into a false sense of security before unleashing with a ferocious flurry of fastball strikes, the leaping left hand the coup de grace.
Historically, he has been able to do this owing to one of the most legendary chins in the sport, albeit with three KO defeats since 2013 this is starting to fade.
Frank Mir certainly has fight-ending power, albeit with none of the technical nuances that Hunt takes for granted. His most recent victory over Todd Duffee resembled a hockey fight, in which both fighters just traded bombs on the feet until someone fell down. As such, even at the veteran stage of his career we can see at this stage of his career that his defence isn’t up to much, and his chin has always been suspect with seven career losses. He’s already talking about winning the fight by a submission, so I think it’s safe to assume even he knows Hunt will have the edge on the feet.
The ground game was historically a massive liability in Hunt’s game, with six career losses through that avenue (including four within the first two and a half minutes of the fight). However, since getting submitted by Sean McCorkle in his UFC debut he has worked extensively on that part of this game, to the extent that he mixes in takedowns and top control with his own game, and has survived in the guard of the likes of Stefan Struve and current champion Fabricio Werdum.
Defensively, with his low centre of gravity and brute strength, his takedown defence is very solid, and from bottom he can power his way back to the feet and his preferred striking realm. When people think of Frank Mir’s grappling, they think of his array of vicious submissions, most notably breaking the arms of Minotauro Nogueira and Tim Sylvia. However, actually getting the fight to the mat is a major challenge. Mir isn’t an especially brilliant, quick or durable athlete and as such most of his takedowns seem to be chained from pushing his opponent against the cage andseeking trips.
He himself is vulnerable to stronger opponents controlling him, albeit they are usually happy to batter him in the clinch rather than take him to the mat where he is at his most dangerous. Still, the longer this fight spends on the canvas, the better it will be for Mir.
Cardio- Mir usually gets tired after a round, whereas Hunt has seen a fifth round in two of his last five. As such, Hunt should have the edge the longer the fight goes.Hunt’s training camp- Hunt came into this fight camp at “only” 15 pounds over the 265lbs limit, a huge contrast to both the Werdum and Miocic fights in which he cut more than that in water weight the day prior to the weigh ins. He says that he intends to come in underweight for this fight, which has to be a good thing.
I like Hunt here quite a bit more than his 8/13 odds would suggest. It’s quite simple: Hunt is comfortably the better striker, will have the better cardio and chin, and when Mir attempts to take it to the mat should be strong enough to shrug him off. If Mir does get him down, unless he locks something in immediately I see no reason why Hunt can’t just stand back up.
The massively pro-Hunt Australian crowd will be cheering every move their fighter makes, and eventually he’ll hurt Mir and swarm on him for the finish.
MARK HUNT BY KO ROUND 2
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll like our preview for the co-main event for UFC Fight Night 85, read here
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