If you search the Internet for opinions on the UFC 146 main event featuring challenger Frank Mir versus UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos, one popular opinion seems to be a steady constant that you will find everywhere: Junior dos Santos is going to knock out Frank Mir in Round No.1.
This opinion, of course, is nothing new to the former two-time heavyweight champion.
Mir's entire career has been a case of overcoming obstacles to get to where is today. His initial UFC bout with Roberto Traven over 11 years ago, to the comeback of Pete Williams and Tank Abbott, Mir was always the guy that was supposed to lose.
His forearm shattering upset-victory over Tim Sylvia and a motorcycle accident that took his new UFC Heavyweight championship almost took his entire career as a martial artist away from him.
Battling back from personal and in-ring struggles, Mir buckled down and focused to overcome adversity by defeating Brock Lesnar with a kneebar and then went on to dominate the No.2 ranked heavyweight in the world, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the UFC Interim heavyweight championship.
The common theme here is that these were challenges that Frank Mir was not supposed to overcome, yet he did—and conquered.
With many writing off Frank Mir as a massive underdog and the dominance that Junior dos Santos has shown over the course of his own career to this point, the safe bet will be on the side of the champion.
I think that Frank Mir has something to prove. He has something that is driving him to be the champion once more.
The answer lies in his legacy that includes two title reigns—the longest tenure of a UFC heavyweight—the most wins by a UFC heavyweight (14), the most submission wins (eight) by a UFC heavyweight and the most different submission types used to gain victory (seven).
On May 26, 2012, Frank Mir will be fighting in front of his home crowd in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in another historic event featuring a main card of UFC heavyweights.
Mir comes into this fight with an outstanding record of 10-2 in the desert compared to Junior dos Santos' record of 1-0, a victory over Gilbert Yvel.
Dos Santos also has to be aware that Frank Mir can not only end his night early by a submission but packs enough power to keep him honest on his feet as he attempts to defend his title for the first time, a difficult task for anyone that has worn the heavyweight championship.
Mir enters this bout with his all-familiar calm, confident coolness that makes opponents think that he might know something that they do not.
Mir knows that this is the most dangerous striker he has faced to date but that seems to be one issue he doesn't mind and makes it seem to be his biggest advantage.
Mir brings a very well-rounded skill-set to this fight, more so than any opponent that dos Santos has faced up to this point in his career.
I for one will not be surprised if this fight stays standing for a lengthy period of time and not because Mir fails to take dos Santos to the ground. Mir has above average stand-up defense and has never been knocked out on the feet.
His striking is diverse to the point that dos Santos has to be weary of all types of strikes due to the fact that Mir won't be shy of landing on his back. Expect a lot of kicks and knees to be coming from Frank Mir because if he does fall to the mat, dos Santos will be unlikely to follow.
Mir also has the advantage of being the larger fighter and can use some tie-ups against the cage to wear down "Cigano" and take him into deeper waters.
Mir can utilize a Thai clinch as an effective tool in that position but will have to be cautious of the dangerous uppercut that dos Santos possesses.
Standing and striking with Junior dos Santos isn't impossible and shouldn't be out of the question. It may seem like the harder road to travel but Frank Mir has the tools to be effective.
I also believe that Frank Mir has one advantage that Junior dos Santos cannot prepare for.
Now at 33 years of age, the window of opportunity is closing for Frank Mir and his best chance to regain the UFC heavyweight championship is now.
For Frank Mir, his back is against the wall. He is fighting in front of his home crowd, and together that makes Mir a very dangerous animal.