UFC 146 Heavyweight Shuffle: The Winners and Losers

Dwight WakabayashiCorrespondent IIApril 27, 2012

UFC 146 Heavyweight Shuffle: The Winners and Losers

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    The dust has finally settled a bit on the fate of the much anticipated UFC 146 fight card that goes down on May 26th from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

    MMAJunkie.com confirmed last week that Alistair Overeem is out of his title fight against Junior dos Santos and will be replaced by Frank Mir.

    The UFC has acted swiftly, and very intelligently, to keep that card tight, intriguing and very exciting for the landscape of the heavyweight division. Here is a look at the main card as it stands now, a month before the event.

    - Junior dos Santos vs Frank Mir (Mir replaces Overeem, who is no longer on the card)

    - Cain Velasquez vs Antonio Silva (Silva moves up on the card to replace Mir)

    - Roy Nelson vs Gabriel Gonzaga (Gonzaga is moved up the card to replace Silva)

    - Shane del Rosario vs Stipe Miocic (Miocic added to replace Gonzaga)

    - Mark Hunt vs Stefan Struve (no changes to this fight)

    Now that things have been shifted around, and things are set, who comes out as the biggest winners and losers from the Overeem fallout?

    Let's take a look

Winner: Frank Mir

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    Some may see a bump up to a title fight on short notice as not the ideal situation for a fighter but make no mistake, Frank Mir is a big winner here. He is on a serious run to the title and was going to have to go through Cain Velasquez to get his title shot. There is absolutely no guarantee he would get past Cain and now he doesn't have to.

    Mir gets his title shot right away, and it comes at the height of his momentum coming off his vicious submission over Big Nog.

Loser: Cain Velasquez

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    Cain Velasquez was set to face Frank Mir in a true, undisputed fight for the No. 1 contender spot in the heavyweight division. Despite his loss to JDS last year, Cain is still right at the top of the heavyweight ranking list.

    He will now have to welcome 6'4 265-pound Brazilian Antonio Silva to the UFC in what is a very risky fight for Cain to have. Silva is considered one of the best heavyweight's in the world yes, but his ranking in the division is up in the air since this is his first fight in the UFC.

    Velasquez's place in the division is set and he would not have fallen down the ladder much with a loss to Mir. However, a loss to Bigfoot my really put his place in question, and leave many wondering where the former champion fits in the division for the remainder of the year.

Winner: Stipe Miocic

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    Stipe Miocic is the real lottery winner in this whole scenario. He goes from not having a fight on this heavyweight card to now replacing Gonzaga and having a main card fight that he can very well win. Miocic is coming off a nice knockout of the night victory over Phil Defries in February.

    He now has an incredible opportunity to elevate his profile in the division and promotion with a nice win and performance against del Rosario. His opponent may not be as prepared either as he may not be as motivated as he once was.

Loser: Roy Nelson

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    Big Country Roy Nelson was set to be the welcome mat for Antonio Silva to come into the UFC in a very relevant fight for the landscape of the division. Nelson is still relevant but was considering a division switch before the challenge of Big Foot came knocking on his door. It was a great fight for Roy to re-establish himself as a top-10 contender.

    Now, Nelson will face Gabriel Gonzaga who gets bumped up from facing Shane del Rosario and is not very relevant right now. Gonzaga is trying to make a climb back to relevance following a win in at UFC 142 in January. He is still a world-class fighter, but I'm not convinced he is thought of as a contender anymore and it poses a huge risk for Nelson.

    A win does not move him much closer to the top, while a loss could bounce Roy right out of the division.

Winner: Junior Dos Santos

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    Come May 26th, Junior dos Santos has not landed a much easier fight now in Frank Mir, but in my opinion, he has landed a much safer one for his boyish good looks.

    In Overeem, you could bet that it was going to be a stand up war with many big shots being landed on both sides. Overeem can hit hard and hit his mark and Junior was going to surely have to eat some hard shots on his path to victory against Overeem.

    Not to say that Frank can't hit as well, but his striking does not always leave the mark or damage that Overeem can and Junior will have to worry more about his limbs on May 26th.

    With Mir, JDS might have a choice in how bad he gets hurt as he may be able to tap before any real damage is done. I don't think his looks are in as much jeopardy facing Mir and that makes him a winner in this scenario.

     

    Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA, MMA Editor at CKSN.ca and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca.

    Catch him on Facebook and Twitter at wakafightermma.

Winner: Antonio Silva

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    Antonio Silva gets a huge opportunity with his switch from Nelson to Velasquez. Even though Silva lost out of the Strikeforce Grand Prix tournament to Daniel Cormier, he now finds himself in position to jump right up to a contender with a win.

    Fighting Velasquez was an opportunity I saw for the winner of the Strikeforce Grand Prix. Now that goes right to Silva and if he beats Cain, he shocks the world like he did when he beat Fedor, and solidifies his place among the best of the heavyweight's

     

    Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA, MMA Editor at CKSN.ca and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca.

    Catch him on Facebook and Twitter at wakafightermma.