ahhh, love but hate this match up. Two of my favourite fighters…
Frank Mir – I remember him since he did that really weird arm lock from guard against Pete Williams:
He’s one of the most intelligent, technical heavyweight fighters of all time – he looks like a 20 stone meathead but he fights like an absolute genius when the scrap hits the ground. A black belt under Ricardo Pires he broke Jiu Jitsu and MMA legend – Minotauro Nogueira’s arm with a kimura.
And Tim Sylvia’s forearm with a straight arm bar:
I won’t give you a headache by uploading any more animated GIFs but, Mir’s striking is also pretty high-level, with some impressive KO wins over the likes of Todd Duffee and Antonio BigFoot Silva.
In the past a lot of grapplers-turn-strikers seem to approach boxing the wrong way – by hitting pads, and sparring, and not really analysing the different techniques and counters. Not Mir. He breaks down his striking, in a similar way to Jiu Jitsu. He’s also developing his stand-up game with different combinations and an expanding range of strikes. From the overhand punch that dropped Cheick Kongo (2 months after replacing his striking coach), to the jab-left hook combo that dropped BigFoot, he’s a very technical striker who seems to be constantly learning. (He also owns a knee-KO against striking legend Crocop – although I did nearly fall asleep watching that fight).
His proverbial achilles heel however, has always been his lack of explosive power. Although he’s packed on size over the last decade or so, he’s never become a fantastic athlete. He’s been overpowered by less technical, more ‘fast twitch’ (and no doubt roided to the gills) fighters like Carwin and Lesnar. Although he did buck this trend with a superb left hook – inside ‘the pocket’ against the bigger and more athletic Todd Duffee. Again, this was an intelligent and tactical method to get the victory. Back up against Duffee and he’ll swarm…Mir no doubt had a plan, and executed it perfectly – beating Duffee to the punch (similar to Joe Lauzon KO against Melvin Guillard)
Mark Hunt on the other hand, is a 5ft 10 (Mir is 6ft 3) Samoan, 19 stone beast that has the chin of a rhino and the leaping left hook of a monster (think Godzilla crossed with Mike Tyson). He loves using the Russian style hook (throwing the hook with a near-straight arm and turning the thumb down), overhand right and uppercut.
Here he is, dropping the 7foot Stefan Struve –
It’s kind-of horrible to watch that KO, I can only imagine how painful that must of been (Struve broke his jaw), but it’s also kind of awesome in a reptile-brain kind of way.
Hunt, is a former K1 Grand Prix champion (an event that used to bring together the best strikers in the world from all different styles like kickboxing, karate, etc). He’s also strong as fcuk. Like freakily strong, beating a sumo wrestler, 25 stone Bob Sapp, and one of the strongest men in the world at tug of war:
He has however been on the losing end of striking-wars against JDS and Stipe Miocic. His ground-game has never really looked great either – with several submissions losses on his record from early on in his career – and this could well be where Mir could win the fight.
Trouble is, Hunt is so short and stocky, and strong, that he is very difficult to take down. Good example here, and Mir might not want to risk dropping his level, and landing his face on a sweeping Hunt uppercut.
I think Mir will either look for a single-leg takedown early on – grabbing Hunt’s lead-leg to avoid a punch-counter, or look to back Hunt up with some straight punches (utilising his reach) before dropping his level for a takedown – if he can get Hunt to cover up and bring his guard especially high.
In contrast, I think Hunt only has the one way to win – with the fight standing. Mir on the other hand, I think is capable of winning the fight with striking or a submission – although the likelihood of him winning will increase exponentially if the fight does involve any ground-fighting.
I’m hoping for a Mark Hunt KO, but I’m going for Mir by round 3 submission.