The UFC returns to Brisbane today for the heavyweight collision between Mark Hunt and Frank Mir. That means that it is time for another instalment of The Debate. This week we have Vinny Craig in the corner of Mark Hunt and yours truly will be arguing Frank Mir’s case. Due to the fact that I took part in the debate, it was chaired by an independent party.
As regular readers will be aware, the starting point for The Debate is simply a case of stating why the debaters believe their chosen fighter will emerge victorious.
Vinny Craig: The power of Hunt is still there. He has gotten a big shot through against every opponent, some are able to take them and I don’t see Mir being one of them.
Keefe McKenna: Frank Mir is, alongside Fabricio Werdum, the best heavyweight grappler in MMA. He has said pre-fight that submissions, mainly leg locks, have been a big part of his fight preparation and we know that Hunt has been submitted numerous times before. I think Mir knows he can’t stand with Hunt and takes this to the ground quickly where it is his world.
VC: Hunt has fought Werdum, the guy you say is as good as or better than Mir as a grappler, and didn’t get submitted. In fact, he hasn’t been submitted since 2010. His takedown defence has been solid as well. Let’s look at their opponents in comparison; Bigfoot Silva post failed drug test. Yes they both won, but it’s how they did it. Both with KO’s, but Mir won’t KO Hunt.
KM: I agree, Mir won’t KO Hunt. The advantage I believe Mir has over Werdum in terms of grappling credentials is superior takedown ability. Hunt did well in top position against Werdum, but if Mir gets a takedown and ends up on top, that’s a whole other issue and, as we’ve seen from when Mir fought Nogueira, once he grabs a submission he won’t let go until his opponent taps or snaps.
VC: The entire thing could be ground vs. stand up with each having the advantage. My whole basis is that Mir won’t get it to the ground and will look lost on the feet against Hunt. If it goes to the ground, I will concede that Mir could and should end the fight there.
In terms of how the fight will be won and lost, both Hunt and Mir have strengths which could easily be viewed as their opponent’s weaknesses. The question is; who will manage to do this most effectively?
KM: As I touched on earlier, the weakest aspect of Hunt’s game is his bottom game. On top, he’s very strong and difficult to control, but on bottom, he struggles to get up. Look at his fight with Miocic – granted, Miocic is the next title challenger, but that fight showed 2 things. 1. Hunt is susceptible to takedowns, namely single leg takedowns. And 2. He had no answer for Miocic’s top game. His durability and heart kept him in that fight far longer than he should have, but add in Mir’s submission skills and that’s disastrous for Hunt.
VC: As you said, Mir has the clear advantage on the ground, especially the top, despite his late resurgence with KO’s. Mark Hunt is a different animal. His strength is his power punches, which he should be able to land on Mir. The accuracy of Mark Hunt is also something that will play a factor.
KM: What I will say about Hunt’s stand-up is, everyone knows what punch he wants to land – that huge left hook. If he connects with that, Mir goes to sleep, no question about that. The problem that many of Hunt’s victims have had is avoiding it. But I think if Mir fights smart using his improving footwork, he can avoid that power punch, get Hunt to the ground and submit him.
VC: That surely could happen, but Mir has to get it to the ground first. While Hunt’s fight-ending weapon is the left hook, he sets it up with other punches and low kicks. His tree trunks for legs have some power to them and he chops down the legs when he needs to.
Being the main event for UFC Brisbane, Hunt vs Mir is scheduled for 5 rounds. With that in mind, especially with this being a heavyweight bout, could that be seen as an advantage for either man?
VC: No, this is a disadvantage for both. No heavyweight fight should be five rounds unless it’s for a title. While the last heavyweight I saw go five rounds that was good Mark Hunt was in, I think 5 rounds is a bad idea overall for heavyweights, but a slight advantage for Hunt.
KM: I agree, I’m not a fan of 5 round heavyweight fights. It depends on how the fight takes place who tires first. If Mir can force Hunt to grapple and fatigue him like Miocic did, it opens up submissions. However, Hunt has been working on his cardio and if Mir is unable to implement his game plan and slows down faster he will find it harder to get takedowns and Hunt will KO him.
Something that could play a factor in this fight is the crowd support. Hunt is most certainly going to be the crowd favourite and Mir will be the villain – definitely worth consideration.
KM: Honestly, for large parts of Mir’s career, he has gotten used to not being the crowd favourite. He’s been booed and jeered a lot and still ended up as the winner. I don’t think the hostile crowd will affect him.
VC: Both guys are very experienced and have had their fair share of being a fan favourite. The crowd very well could feed Mark Hunt, but I think the battle of experience is bigger than being a favourite.
It could be argued that both of these heavyweights are in the twilight of their MMA careers and time is running out for them to reach the top again. A great first step for both of them to work towards that is of course winning tonight, but where would that place them in the division and how far can they go?
VC: If Hunt wins this fight, he moves up a couple of spots in the division. This is his last title run and a win over a former champion will go a long way towards him reaching a title shot.
KM: Realistically, even with a win, I think Mir is 2, maybe 3 wins away from a title shot, especially with the current list of contenders lining up. I don’t think Mir has it in him to make a title run, but anything can happen at heavyweight.
Before ending the debate, the traditional final predictions took place.
KM: I’m predicting Mir uses his footwork to avoid Hunt’s big punches, gets the takedown and submits Hunt with a kimura towards the end of round 1.
VC: Hunt will win due to stopping the takedown early and forcing Mir to search for it. He’ll catch him with a left hook after beating him up on the feet a little. Hunt by 2nd round TKO.
There we have it – another debate in the books. Who do you think argued the better point for their fighter and has either man made you reconsider your own prediction? Get in touch and let us know!
Bellator 194, Nelson vs. Mitrione Pre-Fight Notes
Bellator takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later tonight. The promotion hosts, Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrione from the venue, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET). Bellator 194 marks the 17th trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino. Their last trip, took place a little more than a few months ago in October of 2017, Bellator 185. The first trip to the Connecticut casino, occurred all the way back in April of 2009, and the second ever event held by the promotion, Bellator 2.
Twenty four fighters will make the walk later tonight, giving fans 12 bouts to watch from prelims to main event. Of the 24 athletes set to compete, five make their professional debuts. Peter Nascimento, Mike Kimbel, Pat Casey, Ross Richardson, and Ronnie Leon all fight for the first time, professionally. As amateurs, the group holds a combined record of 18-12. Only Ross Richardson maintained an undefeated amateur record (3-0).
In recent cards past, only some full broadcasts brought forward newly professional fighters. Events such as Bellator 191, 190, and 187, only broadcast short main card. While events like 193, 192, 189, 188, and 186 broadcast full fight cards. Since November of 2017, 15 fighters made their pro debuts with the Bellator promotion. Including Khonry Gracie in his unanimous decision loss to Devon Brock (Bellator 192), and Ty-wan Claxton, in his amazing KO finish of Johnny Bonilla-Bowman in the first round of Bellator 186. Claxton makes his second pro appearance tonight at Bellator 194 against Jose Antonio Perez, whom also fights for the second time professionally.
Upon completion of Bellator 194’s broadcast, 50% of the promotions first round matches in their Heavyweight Grand Prix will be decided. It is nearly impossible to choose, one match-up more interesting than the others. Yet, the Mitrione vs. Nelson match up is not only puzzling to fans and media alike. One half of the main event, at least, was once annoyed by the prospect of fighting his former TUF cast mate. Mitrione spoke to MMAJunkie about his reaction to the match-up, “Well, I asked them, how does that make sense? Roy is arguably the #2 guy in the division… Explain that to me, is there any seeding?…” He continued, “But the more I thought about, the less I really cared. Either I beat Roy when I have the strap, or I beat Roy to get the strap. What the hell difference does it make?”
In one bit of event news, fan favorite flyweight, Heather Hardy missed weight, in what turned out to be an odd set of circumstances. According to Hardy, she believed she made weight, without stripping down and using the towel. It was her understanding that the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation gave her a weight allowance for the bikini top and bottom she wore while on the scale. Hardy weighed in at 126.25 lbs. with the aforementioned bikini top and bottom.
This understanding was not shared by president of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli. The president made the decision to record Hardy’s weight without allowing her to disrobe, or take use the extra two hours allotted to make weight. It was his understanding upon examining and attempting to communicate with Hardy whilst she stood on the scale that brought him to the decision. After renegotiation of the bout agreement, Hardy was fined 20% of her purse which goes to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Bellator 194 Weigh Ins Live Video
Bellator 194 takes place Friday, February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stacked main card features the second bout in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix matching Roy Nelson against Matt Mitrione. Both former members of the UFC roster, Mitrione and Nelson look to make a further impact in the Bellator Heavyweight division with a potential step towards the divisions championship crown. In the co-main event, MMA veteran Patricky Pitbull takes Derek Campos. The two will most likely battle for the next shot at the promotions Lightweight title, following the Brent Primus (c) vs. Michael Chandler rematch. Other notable bouts on the card include Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov, Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton, and Tywon Claxton against Jose Antonio Perez. Bellator 194 airs live on the Paramount network, main card beginning at 9 pm.
The official weigh-ins took place earlier today, the results are listed below.
Main Card (9 PM ET, Paramount Network)
Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Matt Mitrione (12-5) Heavyweight bout.
RN: 265 lb.
MM: 255 lb.
Patricky Freire (18-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-6) Lightweight bout.
PF: 155 lb.
DC: 154 lb.
Heather Hardy (1-1) vs. Ana Julaton (2-3) Women’s Flyweight bout.
HH: 126.25 lb*
AJ: 125 lb.
Liam McGeary (12-2) vs. Vadim Nemkov (8-2) Light Heavyweight bout.
LM: 203.75 lb.
VN: 205 lb.
Tywan Claxton (1-0) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (0-1) Featherweight bout.
TW: 145 lb.
JS: 142.25 lb.
Preliminary Card (7 PM ET)
Ross Richardson (3-0, Amateur) vs. Ronie Arana Leon (2-5, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
RS: 155.5 lb.
RL: 156 lb.
Mike Kimbel (4-4, Amateur) vs. Geoffrey Then (0-1) Bantamweight bout.
MK: 135.75 lb.
GT: 135 lb.
Regivaldo Carlvalho (4-2) vs. Thomas English (6-8) Featherweight bout.
RC: 145 lb.
TE: 146 lb.
Jarod Trice (2-0) vs. Walter Howard (3-4) Light Heavyweight bout.
JT: 205.5 lb.
WH: 203 lb.
Marcus Surin (4-1) vs. Dean Hancock (3-1) Lightweight bout.
MS: 156 lb.
DH: 155.25 lb.
Peter Nascimento (2-1, Amateur) vs. Kastriot Xhema (1-1) Catchweight (165 lb.) bout.
PN: 163.5 lb.
KX 164.5 lb.
Tyler Hamilton (1-0) vs. Pat Casey (7-2, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
TH: 154 lb.
PC: 155.5 lb.
*Heather Hardy missed weight by ¼ of a pound and subsequently fined 20% of her purse. The fine will go to her opponent Ana Julaton.
UFC 221 Rockhold vs. Romero Live Results
UFC 221 marks the first event hosted by the promotion in Western Australia. UFC 221 takes place in Perth, Australia at the Perth Arena. The co-main event features Australian star, Mark Hunt against Curtis Blaydes. In the main event, Luke Rockhold looks to earn the Middleweight interim title when he takes on Yoel Romero. Romero is not eligible to earn the interim Middleweight title due to the fact that the Cuban missed weight. Yoel Romero replaced the original headliner of the card, Robert Whittaker. Whittaker, current Middleweight champion, withdrew from the event due to a serious case of mistreated staph infection.
FIGHT NIGHT BONUSES:
Fight of the night: Li Jianliang vs. Jake Matthews
Performance of the night: Jussier Formiga, Israel Adesanya
MAIN CARD – PPV – 10PM/7PM ETPT
- Yoel Romero (12-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (13-3) – Catchweight (187.7) bout
- Result: Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold via KO (punch) 1:48 round 3
- Mark Hunt (13-11, 1 NC) vs. Curtis Blaydes (8-1, 1 NC) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
- Tai Tuivasa (8-0) vs. Cyril Asker (9-3) – Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker via TKO (punches and elbows) 2:18 round 1
- Jake Matthews (12-3) vs. Li Jianliang (14-4) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jake Matthews def. Li Jianliang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
- Tyson Pedro (6-1) vs Saparbek Safarov (8-1) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (kimura) 3:54 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- Damien Brown (17-11) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Dong Hyun Kim def. Damien Brown via split decision (29-28, 29-28 Kim, 29-28 Brown)
- Rob Wilkinson (11-1) vs. Israel Adesanya (11-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson via TKO (punches) 3:37 round 2
- Jeremy Kennedy (11-0) vs Alexander Volkovski (16-1) – Featherweight bout
- Result: Alexander Volkovski def. Jeremy Kennedy via TKO (punches) 4:57 round 2
- Jussier Formiga (20-5) vs Ben Nguyen (17-6) – Flyweight bout
- Result: Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen via technical submission (RNC) 1:43 round 3
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 6:30PM/3:30PM ETPT
- Ross Pearson (21-12, 1 NC) vs. Mizuto Hirota (19-8-2) – Lightweight bout
- Result: Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Teruto Ishihara (10-4) vs. José Alberto Quiñónez (7-2) – Bantamweight bout
- Result: José Alberto Quiñónez def. Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Luke Jumeau (12-4) vs. Daichi Abe (6-0) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Luke Jumeau def. Daichi Abe via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27)
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