The UFC 164 card scheduled for Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 31st added some mass on Monday, as word came down the main card will feature the return of Heavyweight Josh Barnett as he takes on UFC stalwart Frank Mir. Both men are former UFC Heavyweight Title holders and both men are in serious need of a win, if for different reasons.
Mir is coming off an April match with Daniel Cormier where he got beat up. Mir came in at over 260 lbs, and he was slow to the punch throughout the entire match. Cormier did the same thing to Barnett when they met, beating up Barnett for 5 full rounds in route to a Strikeforce tournament title, so it is hard to read too much into the match, however the little signs you see from Mir are not good.
Over Mir has chosen to bulk up on muscle, and it has slowed him down enough that he is usually second to act in his fights, and that will be the case again with Barnett, who at 35 years old and nearly 40 fights under his belt is still a relatively fresh body.
Mir, a resident of Las Vegas, has been close to the UFC brass since joining the company, but the bottom line is this would be his third loss in a row. If he is not at risk of being cut, at the very least his days as a top salaried main card fighter will be over with a third loss in a row.
For his part, Barnett will likely have some extra motivation on his side as well, as he is returning to the UFC after a long time away. Though Mir gets a lot of credit for his ground fighting skill (and he should, he has snapped more than 1 arm in the UFC) Barnett is also a skilled ground fighter who is savvy enough to not get caught in Mir’s submissions.
Which leaves us with the two big men standing and facing each other, and as we have covered, Mir is slow to the punch.
When a line is produced at the sport books, look for Barnett to come in a favorite. It will be interesting to see if Mir is still a draw at the sportbooks and is able to keep the line close.