From MMATorch.com |
UFC 146 "DOS SANTOS VS. MIR" PREVIEW: Penick's breakdown and fight predictions for all-heavyweight event in Las Vegas
May 26, 2012 - 3:00:22 PM
By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The path to Saturday night's UFC 146 event has been a massively rocky one, with every main card fight being changed from its originally scheduled incarnation. It started at the top with the UFC Heavyweight Championship and trickled down the rest of the night's event, but the card still brings a night full of heavyweight action with ten of the UFC's behemoths squaring off in Las Vegas. Here's what's in store for the event:
Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir (UFC Heavyweight Championship)
The general line of thought heading into this Championship fight is that Mir's only chance is to bring the fight to the ground. His striking power can't be entirely counted out, though. He's got surprisingly heavy hands, and when he does connect he can do a lot of damage with them, and he's a sneaky striker at times as well.
That doesn't change the issues he has getting hit, however. Against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in December, he was nearly knocked out before getting into that kimura position on the ground. By all logic, dos Santos' immense power and superior boxing game make him the easy favorite to score a knockout in this fight.
If Mir can somehow get the fight to the ground, he's definitely capable of catching dos Santos in a submission hold, but dos Santos is likely going to be a capable grappler himself considering who he trains with. He won't be submitting Mir, but his defense should be adequate on the ground.
I won't be at all surprised if Mir finds a way to pull off an upset, either by scoring a knockdown and locking something on or getting the fight to the ground and snatching a submission. However, dos Santos is rightfully favored because it's more than likely that he will score the knockout win before Mir is able to do any of those things.
PREDICTION: Dos Santos via KO in the first round
Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (Heavyweight)
"Bigfoot" Silva blames a lack of motivation for his absolute starching at the hands of Daniel Cormier last September, but it can't be forgotten that he got outstruck by Fabricio Werdum in their bout, and nearly got knocked out by light heavyweight Mike Kyle before his size took over in that fight.
Velasquez is a taller version of Daniel Cormier, and though his wrestling isn't quite at his coach's level, he's immensely capable on that front. And he's a great striker as well with a ton more speed than Silva.
There's just no reason to believe this fight is going to be any different than the Cormier-Silva bout from last September. Velasquez is too fast for Silva on their feet, and he's much too good a wrestler to be caught on his back with Silva ground and pounding him.
PREDICTION: Velasquez via TKO in the first round
Roy Nelson vs. Dave "PeeWee" Herman (Heavyweight)
Herman taking this fight on short notice doesn't necessarily bode well for his cardio holding up. He didn't look great against Stefan Struve in February in suffering a second round TKO loss, and while Nelson has lost three of his last four, a three round fight is certainly something he can handle.
Herman's not going to be able to stop Nelson, and he's more than likely to fade as the fight goes on. Nelson's had some struggles recently, but they've been against top flight competition. His three losses in four fights were to the two fighting for the title Saturday night and Fabricio Werdum. That's some very difficult opposition, and all three losses came by decision.
Nelson is simply the better fighter into this fight. Herman doesn't have power above those three fighters - all of whom couldn't put Nelson away - and he's not going to go three full rounds with Nelson, either. This one seems fairly easy to call.
PREDICTION: Nelson via TKO in the third round
Stipe Miocic vs. Shane Del Rosario (Heavyweight)
Shane Del Rosario was one of Strikforce's brightest prospects before suffering several injuries in a car accident last year. That accident took him out of a bout with Daniel Cormier last June, and indeed has kept him out of action until Saturday night's card.
He was supposed to face Gabriel Gonzaga in this debut, which would have marked a stern test from a veteran talent in the heavyweight division, but with the shuffling of fights Del Rosario now faces another prospect in Miocic.
Miocic has won eight straight fights to kick off his young MMA career, including his first two inside the Octagon. He steps into this bout on short notice after a first round knockout win over Philip De Fries on the UFC's debut card on Fuel in February.
Del Rosario has a wide array of skills inside the cage, and has finished every opponent he's ever faced. However, coming off a year long layoff due to injury may not be a good sign for a fighter who has only left the first round once. If he doesn't finish Miocic in quick fashion, his cardio will be tested as the fight drags on. That said, Miocic is also entering on short notice himself, so he may not be in tip top shape either, and he's only been past the second round once in his career.
The injury layoff for Del Rosario is concerning coming into this fight, and Miocic is a tough out as well. Because of that, it's hard to put a lot of confidence in him for this first fight back.
PREDICTION: Miocic via decision
Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson (Heavyweight)
Johnson's got the ability to knock Struve out in the first round, even on very short notice. That said, if this fight hits the ground, it's going to be over in quick fashion the other way.
Struve's got to avoid letting Johnson get within his reach advantage, and he needs to get the fight to the ground. He's got such a massive edge in the grappling game that it's absolutely in his best interest to bring the fight to the ground as soon as possible.
This really is Struve's fight to lose, and if he tries to stay standing with Johnson it will be a major mistake on his part. He should be smart enough to avoid a firefight, and because of that he should score his fifth win in six fights.
PREDICTION: Struve via submission in the first round
======Preliminary Card Quick Picks======
* Diego Brandao over Darren Elkins via TKO in the second round
* Edson Barboza over Jamie Varner via decision
* Jason "Mayhem" Miller over C.B. Dollaway via submission in the second round
* Duane Ludwig over Dan Hardy via decision
* Jacob Volkmann over Paul Sass via decision
* Glover Teixeira over Kyle Kingsbury via TKO in the second round
* Mike Brown over Daniel Pineda via decision
© Copyright by MMATorch.com