Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir Betting Analysis, UFC 100
Brock Lesnar (-210, 5Dimes) vs Frank Mir (+190, 5Dimes)
The main event of this historic UFC card is a rematch between the massively powerful wrestler and current champ Brock Lesnar and the jujitsu specialist and intern champion Frank Mir. Let’s go ahead and start the analysis with Frank Mir.
Frank Mir’s past has been an interesting one to say the least. When he hit the UFC at UFC 34 he had a great run that included a highlight KO of Wes Sims and culminated in the now famous breaking of Tim Sylvia’s arm for the heavyweight title. He then suffered a horrible motorcycle accident that caused his belt to be stripped and a long recovery process that kept him out of the cage for over a year. Then when he came back at UFC 57, he got completely man-handled by Marcio Cruz. After that, he won a close decision against Dan Christison and then suffered another ugly TKO loss to Brandon Vera. Since then, he has been on a three-fight win streak with a quick submission victory over Antoni Hardonk, a submission victory over Brock Lesnar, and a TKO of the great Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira.
Although he is known as a juijitzu specialist, his striking has been vastly improving over his career. This was evident in his technical destruction of Big Nog, who has an extensive background in boxing himself. That being said, he hasn’t been neglecting his ground game. He broke Tim Sylvia’s arm, submitted Tank Abbot with a toe-hold, slapped in a strong kimura against Antoni Hardonk, and was able to defend some good submission from Dan Christison. His strategy in the this fight is to either out-strike Lesnar on the feet, or hope he can replicate their last meeting and pull a submission off when Lesnar decides to take it to the ground.
The first thing that people think of with Brock Lesnar is his sheer size. He actually cuts weight to get down to the 265lb limit. All of his opponents in the UFC have looked like they belong in completely different weight classes compared to him. In addition to his sheer size is speed and power. Very few heavyweights have Lesnar’s incredible speed, and if they do, they are usually smaller fighters that should be making the cut to light heavy. It is this combination of size, strength, and speed that make him such a dangerous fighter.
Brock’s biggest strength in the skills department is his wrestling. He competed for the University of Minnesota in college and was a two-time NJCAA All-American, 1998 NJCAA Heavyweight Champion, two-time NCAA All-American, two-time Big Ten Conference Champion, and the 2000 NCAA heavyweight champion with a record of 106–5 overall in four years of college. He really showcased that skill in his fight with Heath Herring where he was able to take Heath down at will, gain and maintain superior position, and just brutally GnP him for all three rounds.
He then went on to show that he also has knockout power by putting down then-current champion Randy Couture with a grazing right hand to the temple. His standup is not on par with a Muay Thai or boxing specialist, but he makes up for that with a long reach, the threat of takedowns, speed, and power. That being said, his technique has been greatly improving over his last three fights. In his first fight with Mir it seemed as though he didn’t even know how to throw a proper punch, but by the time he got to the Herring fight he was using more than just his arms to throw his strikes. This was evident in an opening straight right that completely stunned Heath and knocked him across the cage.
The only weakness that Lesnar has shown in his short career is his submission skills. He was completely dominating the first Frank Mir fight, but then fell into a knee-bar after a referee stoppage to remove a point for hitting the back of Mir’s head. They stood back up, Lesnar took him down, then stood up and just gave Mir the knee bar. Since that loss, there are reports that Brock has brought in several highly skilled BJJ blackbelts to roll with and has been working his submission game very heavily.
This fight is going to be dictated by Brock Lesnar’s wrestling ability. If he doesn’t feel comfortable on his feet, he will take Mir down and try to ride him like he did Heath. If he gets a little worried about the submission skills of Mir, he will keep it standing and head-hunt for the KO. Mir’s strategy for this fight is then to excel at both the standup and the ground game. The only problem is I don’t believe he can.
We’ll start with the standup. Frank Mir showed great boxing against Big Nog. However, he didn’t have to worry about the takedown and was able to stand straight up and rush with flurries of punches. We know from Nog’s past that he is always knocked down in a fight but has the ability to pull submission victories out of the later rounds. Mir just never gave him that chance and choose to keep knocking him down and then standing up to do it again and again. He will not have the opportunity to do that with Lesnar. If he tries one of those rushing flurries, Lesnar will simply change levels and take him down. Plus, we have never really seen Lesnar get hurt from strikes, but we have seen Mir get rocked and then smothered on the ground. Lesnar’s speed and aggression should give him an edge against Mir’s technical style.
I also want to make a special note about the Nogueira fight. Frank Mir did look impressive, but Big Nog also just looked plain bad. He didn’t throw very many strikes, no combinations, and just stood in front of Mir. There are reports that he was battling some health issues in that fight, which may explain his horrible performance. So I don’t want to put too much stock in Mir’s boxing. He may have looked good, but that may have been due more to Nogueira’s lack of performance than Mir’s actual skill.
Next is the ground game. Mir has stated in interviews that he is not too worried about Lesnar’s learning of jujitsu. His main justification is that he has been studying the art for over a decade and that the learning curve is just too high for Lesnar to overcome in a couple years of instruction. This seems like a very bad train of thought. Mir is forgetting that Lesnar doesn’t have to become a submissions ace, he just needs to know enough to recognize the submission attempts and neutralize them. Such a skill doesn’t require 10+ years of study and the acquisition of that skill is aided by a grappling background in wrestling. Lesnar proved in the Herring fight that he feels comfortable using his wrestling to simply stay in a fairly dominant position, not bothering to try and improve that position by gaining the mount or hooks, and just battering away at his opponent. Plus, if he feels uncomfortable, he can always stand up and take Mir down again and again to score on the judge’s cards.
I really like Frank Mir, but I don’t think he is going to be able to beat Lesnar for a second time. In their first meeting, Brock joked before the fight that he had just recently learned what an arm bar was. Frank will not be meeting such a green opponent again. That fight was really a wakeup call to Brock and I have a feeling that his training since then has given him enough skills to neutralize Mir’s jujitsu on the ground, and let him overwhelm him on the feet. If Brock gets a little worried in either area, he can take the fight to whatever area he feels more comfortable.
Final Prediction: Brock Lesnar at -210 risking 2 units to win .95 units