From top to bottom, the all heavyweight main card at UFC 146 has undergone many changes due to a positive drug test and a plethora of injuries. The main event features Junior Dos Santos making his first heavyweight title defense against former champion Frank Mir.
Stefan Struve (25-3) vs. Lavar Johnson (17-5): Struve really needs to use his reach in this fight. This is a make-it-or-break-it fight for Struve in the sense that he needs a dominant performance to go from high hopes prospect to a real contender who is in the mix for a title shot. Johnson is an awesome fighter, but I feel that fighting on three weeks’ notice after beating Pat Barry is too much, too soon. Winner: Stefan Struve via submission
Roy Nelson (16-7) vs. Dave Herman (21-3) I’m not sold on Dave Herman and Nelson, only losses to the very best fighters. Herman is good at delivering knees when pinning someone against the fence, but I believe that Nelson’s experience will be too much for Pee Wee. Winner: Roy Nelson via decision
Shane Del Rosario (11-0 vs. Stipe Miocic (8-0): Too many questions about Del Rosario since his car accident 15 months ago. Miocic is a heavyweight on the rise whose crisp boxing and improving overall game will take him a long way. Winner: Stipe Miocic via decision
Antonio Silva (16-3) vs. Cain Velasquez (9-1): This will look like a repeat of the Silva vs. Cormier fight, except it will take a little bit longer because Velasquez will be gun shy at first since he is coming off his first loss. Once he gets in his comfort zone, it will be lights out for Big Foot. Winner: Cain Velasquez by 2nd round KO
Junior Dos Santos (14-1) vs. Frank Mir (16-5): On paper, Frank Mir has little chance of victory as his durability when getting hit in the face is faint at best. He was getting pummeled in his fight with Nogueira before breaking the former PRIDE champion’s arm with a Kimura. It was the first time he had displayed the ability to fight through adversity. However, that was against an opponent whose best days are behind him. Mir’s hail marry shot at triumph lies in the ground game.
Some feel Dos Santos has no ground game and should avoid such an encounter like a pool of acid. This doesn’t mean Dos Santos can’t hang on the ground. We’ve never seen his ground game because none of his octagon opponents have been able to take him down. Mir has solid boxing, and he has enough power to catch the champion, but he is not exactly the fastest heavyweight in the cage. Dos Santos’ stand-up attack is the definition of the phrase “speed kills,” and my crystal ball tells me that will be Mir’s Kryptonite. Winner: Junior Dos Santos by 1st round KO