UFC Fight Night 85 Breakdown: Mark Hunt vs Frank Mir

Frank MirPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of UFC Fight Night 85. In a matchup of top 10 heavyweights, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir takes on “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt.   Mark Hunt (Record: 11-10, -170 Favorite, Fighter Grade: B+) The New Zealand born Samoan picked up martial arts after a late night altercation at a nightclub had him spotted by a local gym owner. Hunt then began to take up kickboxing spending ten years at the highest levels of kickboxing including the K1 Grand Prix. He made the move to MMA full time in 2008 fighting in prestigious promotions such as DREAM and Pride before the making the move to the UFC. Hunt is the ninth ranked heavyweight in the UFC. When looking at his physique, one would not think he’d be one of the best strikers in the division, but that’s exactly what he is. In a division filled with tall fighters with superior reach, Hunt gets by on powerful striking and one of the great chins in MMA. Of his eleven career MMA wins, eight of them have come by knockout. He’s the only fighter to knockout Roy Nelson inside a UFC octagon. He did so with superior timing and powerful hands. That’s what you get with Mark Hunt; a talented striker in a rather unusual body for high level MMA. Hunt is as resilient as they come. His first fight with Antonio Silva was one of the all-time great fights as he was able to battle from nearly being finished multiple times to find his way to the scorecards. While he’s made some effort to work on his ground game, it’s still very much a liability. If a fighter is able to gain top control, he very much has an opportunity to finish the fight with a submission. Of his ten career losses, six of them have been by submission. In a traditional stand up exchange, Hunt can compete with anybody in the UFC. When it evolves beyond that, Hunt will face significant hurdles.   Frank Mir (Record: 18-10, +150 Underdog, Fighter Grade: B) The Las Vegas born Frank Mir is one of the most experienced fighters on the UFC roster. The Kenpo karate and BJJ black belt has been fighting exclusively in the UFC since 2001. He holds the longest (consecutive) tenure of any fighter in the organization. Mir holds some of the most memorable wins in the organization’s history including his submissions of Brock Lesnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He’s a sure bet to be in the UFC Hall of Fame once he decides to hang up his gloves. Mir enters this bout on the heels of a loss to Andrei Arlovski. While the judges scored it an unanimous decision, the fight was much closer than the scorecards indicated. He’s currently ranked tenth in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings having fought nearly all of the top ten at some point in his career. His experience is absolutely a plus on his side as he’s shown he’s capable of winning by either knockout or submission against quality opposition. Mir is a crafty veteran. His standup continues to improve having knocked out two of his last three opponents. He combines that with some of the best grappling in the division. Mir’s submission game is second only to Fabricio Werdum in the division. On the ground, he’s a very dangerous opponent. Over the years, his chin has become a concern as the wear and tear has grown throughout his career. He’s been knocked out seven times in his career. If he loses, a knockout is the most likely scenario.   Match-up This is an interesting match-up in the heavyweight division. While both fighters are nearing the end of their careers, it’s compelling both from an importance and stylistic standpoint. Given the state of the heavyweight division, a win for either fighter could them just a fight or two away from a chance to win the championship. The key to this fight is Mir’s ability to get Hunt to the ground. In a prolonged standup, Hunt has a significant advantage. Hunt is more powerful, technical, and more durable in a standing exchange. A prolonged stand up spells doom for Mir. On the flipside, Mir is the more athletic, experienced mixed martial artist. Hunt’s takedown defense is a question mark, so there’s a real possibility Mir can earn takedowns in this fight. From top control, Mir has the biggest advantage in this matchup and would be a strong bet to finish the fight with a submission. I think this is a difficult fight to call with an exaggerated line. With that said, a Mir win almost certainly happens with a submission. Mir by submission (+280) is an appetizing bet as we head closer to fight day.

Written by Jay Primetown

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