In one of my favorite fights on the card two of the top heavyweights in the world will go at it for the right to solidify their standing amongst the top tier of the big men.
Daniel Cormier has been hyped as the next big thing for quite some time now, and proved he was deserving of that high praise with an exciting decision victory over Josh Barnett.
Former UFC champion Frank Mir wants to prove he’s still elite, and while me might not be champion again he’s still deserving of being mentioned among the best in this new era of heavyweights.
Mir (16-6) is coming off a title shot against then champion Junior Dos Santos. Mir stepped in for Alistair Overeem after earning three straight victories within the division to put up a valiant effort against the champion Dos Santos, but ultimately succumbed to the power of the champion, losing by TKO in the second round.
Sensing he needed a change to remain among the elite, Mir moved his training to famed coach Greg Jackson’s camp in preparation for this bout. He looks to be in some of the best shape of his life heading into this important bout against Cormier.
Mir is one of the best submission artist in all of the heavyweight division, able to use his athleticism and power to pull off submissions from area’s other just can’t. His brutal kimura submission over famed BJJ and MMA great Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira came out of nowhere and was most unexpected considering the legendary BJJ of Big Nog.
His striking is decent for the division, he’s been able to knockout some capable strikers with solid boxing and knees. His striking defense has been an issue and was most likely a point of emphasis in his new training camp. Mir would be best served to put the wrestler on his back if possible, or at least force scrambles against Cormier where he may be able to latch on a submission.
Cormier (11-0) was always highly regarded as a prospect coming from his collegiate wrestling background and exploded on to the scene after taking the place of Overeem in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix. He battered current title challenger Antonio Silva on the feet in the first round, knocking out the giant Brazilian. Next was one of the best heavyweight bouts in recent memory against the aforementioned Barnett.
Cormier is a powerful, highly athletic wrestler who’s credentials speak for themselves. What’s impressive is how fast his striking has come a long under the tutelage of the guys at American Kickboxing Academy. Being able to completely outclass Silva on the feet in just his ninth professional fight was impressive, as well as going blow for blow with longtime veteran Josh Barnett. He should have the striking advantage in this bout with Mir, as well as the wrestling, avoiding one big shot as well as one flash submission will be key for Cormier.
Just like the boys in Vegas, I think Cormier has to be the favorite in this fight. As I noted he should have a distinct striking advantage with his speed and power, as well as the ability to out wrestle Mir. However, Mir knows this could be it for him should he suffer another TKO/KO loss, and his move to Jackson’s camp and away from his family proves that.
Since his win over Barnett, Cormier has been mentioned in title shots against both heavyweight and light heavyweight champions; Mir almost being an after thought. That’s not good considering how dangerous Mir can be; he broke the arm of one of the most respected submission artist ever, he can sub Cormier.
I favor Cormier here, but there is some upset potential. I’ll still pick Cormier via TKO in the second round, but if I was a betting man, well let’s not kid anybody, I’m as degenerate as they come, I’ll be putting a little bit of coin on a Mir upset at these insane odds.