The UFC is working a battle of heavyweight contenders into one of their cards this spring, as they are scheduling a former champions Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez in a bout with a lot of implications for the heavyweight division. Some of the books, like http://www.betdsi.com/live-lines/martial-arts/mma-ufc, will start showing the line in the next few days, and word is that Velasquez is going to come in as high as a 4 to 1 favorite. Some of you who may be looking for a big underdog that has a real chance may want to look at Mir, I know I am going to take a long look at him for this one.
First of all, take a look at Nick Kalika’s Oddsbreaker show right here – you get several MMA insiders giving their take on the fight.
Let me start by saying I know both fighters pretty well, and have looked at their growth over the years. I was the matchmaker of Frank Mir’s first fight. I was the matchmaker of Cain’s second fight years later. You can see talent early on, and both wound up being fast tracked into the UFC, and both won titles early in their careers.
With Mir there was a sense that he was bought along too fast, and that now he may be past his prime. He is still only 32 years old, and if properly motivated, has the skills to be at the top of the heavyweight division again. People question Mir’s heart at times, as he has appeared to bail out in his losses to Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar and Brandon Vera. That cannot be denied, but he went into the third round before destroying Mirko, went the distance with Roy Nelson, and took Antonio Noguiera out quick, mercilessly breaking his arm.
Mir is smart, and he must see the Velasquez fight as an opportunity. I think we get a Mir on his A game in this match, and that may spell trouble for Velasquez.
Cain is a prodigy, that is for sure, but it is still extremely early in his career. And as I stated on the show above, Junior Dos Santos may have exposed a weak spot, and that is his chin. Mir is strong enough to test it, and that is what I want to see. If the fight goes to the ground, or gets complicated, Mir is a cool customer lately in his long fights. And Cain just doesn’t have enough of those under his belt.
A last little shout out to Jerome Smith, the guy who fought Mir in his debut. The kid ended with a bad record, and he fought a lot of tough guys. He lasted more with Mir than Frank’s first three UFC opponents.