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!
EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity
Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.
Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”
Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”
Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”
Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”
With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”
Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”
Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.
Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:
Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)
By Ieuan Thomas.
Gokhan Saki vs Khalil Rountree JR Added to UFC 219
Kickboxing superstar Gokhan Saki will make his return to the octagon just three months after his UFC debut, as he faces Khalil Rountree at UFC 219.
Saki (1-1 ) made a big statement at UFC Japan in September, knocking out Henrique de Silva with a devastating, statement making left hook.
Rountree (6-2) is a TUF-23 alumni. His UFC run started unsuccessfully losing two in a row including his TUF 23 contract fight. However, Rountree is now on a two-fight winning streak after picking up consecutive first round knockout victories against Paul Craig and Daniel Jolly.
After making his MMA debut in 2004, Saki signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC in May and was succesful in his return to the cage. Saki’s first round KO of de Silva earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) September 23, 2017
Neither Saki or Rountree are currently ranked in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, so a win at UFC 219 could most certainly push either of the two in the top fifteen at 205-pounds.
With the addition of Saki vs. Rountree, your current line-up for the UFC 219 card on December 30th is as follows:
Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera – Bantamweight bout
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza – Women’s strawweight bout
Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny – Welterweight bout
Louis Smolka vs. Matheus Nicolau – Flyweight bout
* Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree – Light heavyweight bout
*Live Updates* UFC 216 Official Results
Live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the UFC hosted their eighth PPV card of this year as fans were treated to UFC 216.
The card was headlined by a Interim Lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson (23-3) and Kevin Lee (16-2). Ferguson entered the octagon holding the record for the longest winning streak in UFC lightweight division history (9). Beating top names such as Rafael Dos Anjos and Edson Barboza in the process.
#7 ranked Lee last fought in June of this year, earning the biggest victory of his career when he defeated Michael Cheisa by first round submission (rear-naked choke).
In the co-main event, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1) was hoping to break the record for most consecutive title defenses as he faced Ray Borg (11-2). The record (10) was held by both Johnson and former middlweight champion, Anderson Silva.
Johnson and Borg were originally scheduled to fight in the main event of UFC 215 last month, but the title fight was cancelled a day before the event was supposed to take place, as Borg pulled out of the fight due to illness.
UFC 216 Official Results:
MAIN CARD – PAY PER VIEW – 10PM/7PM ETPT
- #2 Tony Ferguson (24-3) vs. #7 Kevin Lee (16-3) – For UFC Interim Lightweight Championship
- Result: Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee via SUB (triangle choke) Round 3 – 4:02
- (C) Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1) vs. #3 Ray Borg (11-3) – For UFC Flyweight Championship
- Result: Demetrious Johnson def. Ray Borg via SUB (armbar) Round 5 – 3:15
- #2 Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1) vs. Walt Harris (10-6)
- Result: Fabricio Werdum def. Walt Harris via SUB (armbar) Round 1 – 1:05
- Mara Romero Borella (12-4) vs. Kalinda Faria (16-6-1)
- Result: Mara Romero Barella def. Kalindra Faria via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 1 – 2:54
- #12 Beneil Dariush (14-3-1) vs. #14 Evan Dunham (17-6-1)
- Result: Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham declared a Majority Draw (29-29, 28-28, 28-28)
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- Tom Duquesnoy (15-2) vs Cody Stamman (15-1)
- Result: Cody Stamann def. Tom Duquesnoy via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Bobby Green (23-8-1) vs. Lando Vannata (9-2-1)
- Result: Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata declared a Draw (split) (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)
- Marco Beltran (8-6) vs. Matt Schnell (10-4)
- Result: Matt Schnell def. Marco Beltrán via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 7PM/4PM ETPT
- #15 Magomed Bibulatov (14-1) vs. #11 John Moraga (18-6)
- Result: John Moraga def. Magomed Bibulatov via KO (punch) – Round 1 – 1:38
- #13 Thales Leites (27-8) vs. Brad Tavares (16-4)
- Result: Brad Tavares def. Thales Leites via Unanimous (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
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