By Jonathan Kirschner | @MMAKirschner
This Saturday night, two heavyweights will duke it out in the octagon to try and get back to their winning ways. Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir are the last non-title fight of the night, but their bout may have the biggest implication of all. With a combined record of five wins and five losses in their last ten fights, it’s not farfetched to believe the loser will be released. Dana White didn’t deny the claim and the thought will certainly be looming over the cage in New Jersey at UFC 169.
Alistair Overeem is the favorite at -350 (Bet $350 to win $100)
Frank Mir is the underdog at +250 (Bet $100 to win $250)
Despite having a TRT use exemption, Frank Mir will not be entering his fight with an advantage. Mir has been permitted to use TRT in the past and lost in those bouts. While people may judge Mir for applying for it in the first place, they should take into consideration that head trauma (concussions) can reduce the amount of testosterone the body produces. Not only has Mir suffered brutal knockout losses to the likes of Shane Carwin, Josh Barnett and Brock Lesnar, but he was also in a severe motorcycle accident in 2004. Some people may receive a ‘boost’ by using TRT, but I believe Mir is not one of those men.
Alistair Overeem has also run into his fair share of testosterone-related criticism. Prior to UFC 146, Alistair Overrem had his T/E ratio tested and it came back 14 to 1 (legal ratio is 6 to 1). As a result of this, Overeem was promptly pulled from his championship bout and replaced by Frank Mir. Even though Overeem’s test results were far from normal, he has never been busted for steroid use.
Alistair Overeem has bulked up tremendously since his time as a light heavyweight in PRIDE FC, and for the first time in years, Overeem has lost weight walking into a fight. Overeem has decided to better his cardio which has been an enemy of his in recent outings. ‘The Reem’ had a tendency of taking unnecessary strikes as a result of gassing out from throwing so many punches.
I have read that people are upset about this recent development with Overeem because Mir does not do well against strong men who are dangerous on their feet. Believe it or not, Overeem may be more dangerous now than he has ever been before in the UFC. He will still pack power behind his shots and his cardio will let him throw strikes at a higher volume, something Mir does not deal well with.
(Note: I would like to thank FightMetric for all the stats in this article.)
Alistair Overeem is a K-1 Kickboxing World Champion and looking at his past performances in the octagon, you should expect him to keep this one standing. Overeem lands an impressive 3.63 significant strikes per minute and has an overall striking accuracy of 57%. These numbers are some of the best you will see throughout the UFC’s heavyweight division. The only person you can say outclasses Overeem in almost every category is the heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Unlike Overeem and Velasquez, Mir has some of the worst numbers in the division when it comes to striking defense. He absorbs 4 significant strikes per minute and has a striking defense of 39%. Mir lands an average 2.38 significant strikes per minute but with Overeem’s amazing 65% striking defense, Mir cannot rely on whatever knockout power he has to pick up a victory.
If Mir wants his hand raised at the end of this fight, he is going to have to try and take the fight to the ground and win by submission.
Frank Mir is held in high esteem for his work on the ground. Now that it is well known that Mir is a submission specialist, not many men want anything to do with him there and that could prove to be a problem for Mir this Saturday.
In June 2011, Alistair Overeem fought Fabricio Werdum in the quarterfinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Werdum, a jiu-jitsu ace, is one of the best fighters at tricking his opponents into following him on the ground when they think he is hurt. (Fedor Emelianenko fell victim to this trick when he followed Werdum on the ground and dove right into a triangle choke.) In their fight, Werdum tried to trick Overeem into taking the fight on the ground and Overeem never fell for it. It was obnoxious to watch Werdum beg for Overeem to go into his guard to start a grappling contest only to see Overeem shake his head and demand he stand back up. The point I’m trying to make is that Overeem will not be tricked into taking the fight on the ground against Mir.
If Frank Mir wants to take the fight to the ground, he is going to have to take Overeem down. Unfortunately for Mir, Overeem has a takedown defense of 77% and Mir’s takedown rate is only 46%. The best shot Mir will have at taking Overeem down will be when he is tired. With Overeem’s improved gas-tank, that may take until the third round. That means Mir will have to avoid Overeem’s liver-kicks and knees for two full rounds— something he may not be capable of.
All signs are pointing to Alistair Overeem taking the victory by way of knockout in this bout. Overeem’s loss in mass should not be a concern for gamblers. He will still pack power behind his punches and his cardio, his main enemy in his recent losses, will have improved greatly.
1. Overeem outclasses Mir everywhere while standing.
2. Overeem’s takedown defense will last him until round three.
3. Mir will have to survive until round three to take ‘Reem’ down and get a submission win.
Likely: Overeem def. Mir by way of TKO in Round 2
Unlikely: Mir def. Overeem by way of SUB in Round 3
Do you think Kirschner is not giving Mir enough credit? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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