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UFC 146: Junior Dos Santos vs. Frank Mir Main Card Predictions

Justin GibsonCorrespondent IIIOctober 10, 2016

UFC 146: Junior Dos Santos vs. Frank Mir Main Card Predictions

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    This Saturday, Junior dos Santos will make his first heavyweight championship defense against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Frank Mir at UFC 146. The event will go down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be the first time we will see the heavyweight champion in the cage since he beat Cain Velasquez for the title back in November at UFC on Fox.

    UFC 146's main card features all heavyweights, battling it out as they try to establish themselves within the division. This is sure to be packed with highlight finishes throughout the night.

    Not only is the heavyweight championship on the line, but the co-main event features what could be a No. 1 contenders match between Velasquez and Strikeforce and EliteXC veteran Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.

    Other matches will feature prominent fighters within the division looking to get a foothold on the rankings as they search for the title.

    Let's take a look at how the main card will play out.

5. Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson

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    Power vs. weak chin, and submission vs. lack of submission defense. Which will win?

    The first match of the main card features UFC newcomer and powerhouse Lavar Johnson vs. the 6'11" Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Stefan Struve in what all but guarantees a match being finished inside the distance.

    The match originally featured Struve vs. Mark Hunt, but an injury forced Hunt off the card last week. Johnson stepped in after finishing Pat Barry via TKO at UFC on Fox 3 just three weeks ago.

    Johnson has knocked out 15 of his 17 opponents, including Joey Beltran in his UFC debut earlier this year. The 6'4" American Kickboxing Academy product aggressively stalks his opponents with heavy punches. The knock against him is that four of his five professional losses have come by way of submission.

    Guess what Struve's strength is?

    In 23 professional wins, Struve has submitted 15 opponents. He uses his freakishly long length on the ground to wrap his body around opponents.

    Yet time and time again, Struve's glaring weakness has been his tendency to get knocked out in devastating fashion. Four of his five losses have been by brutal knockout, including by Travis Browne, Roy Nelson and Junior dos Santos.

    And none of those guys arguably hit as hard as Johnson. So you have a guy who is very susceptible to the knockout in his losses and who doesn't use his reach well during the standup going against an aggressive powerhouse?

    Prediction: Johnson, KO, Rd. 1

4. Shane Del Rosario vs. Stipe Miocic

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    Heavyweight prospect Stipe Miocic and UFC newcomer Shane del Rosario have 15 TKO wins combined between the two of them in 19 professional fights. Oh yeah, and their records are perfect too.

    Del Rosario is coming off a 15-month injury layoff after suffering a herniated disc from a car accident. He was part of Strikeforce, where he had beaten the likes of Lavar Johnson, Lolohea Mahe and Brandon Cash.

    Miocic is on a two-fight win streak in the UFC, defeating Joey Beltran and most recently Phil De Fries at UFC on Fuel TV in February.

    Both guys knock opponents' house with heavy hands, and one will see the first loss of his professional career.

    However, these two possess strength, quickness and solid footwork. This may result in a judge's decision if either are reluctant to stand and bang with one another. In other words this isn't a slow, powerful heavyweight going up against a quick, powerful heavyweight.

    Similar size and quickness may prevent the all-out standing war many are expecting.

    Prediction: Miocic, Decision.

3. Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman

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    This is yet another UFC 146 fight which has been changed up in the past month, leaving the fighters less time to prepare for one another.

    Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman should be an interesting bout, as both fighters are coming off losses and are looking to reinsert themselves as significant figures in the heavyweight division.

    Nelson is coming off a loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143. He beat Mirko Filipović at UFC 137, but suffered consecutive losses before that to Frank Mir and Junior dos Santos.

    His inconsistency has led him to a 3-3 record in the UFC. One more loss could send him into the realm of insignificance if he ever hopes to be a contender for a belt.

    Herman is coming off a loss to Struve at UFC on Fuel TV in February. He stopped John-Olav Einemo via TKO at UFC 131 in his UFC debut. He has a 21-3 record in his professional MMA career, with 15 of those wins coming though knockout.

    The problem for Herman is Nelson has only been knocked out once in 23 professional fights.

    Herman has slight advantages over Nelson standing and in the clinch as he possesses much better quickness and footwork. However, Nelson possesses a much better ground game and a very underrated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game that isn't showcased enough.

    In particular, Nelson possess a much stronger position control on the ground than Herman, who struggled with controlling a much thinner Struve in their fight.

    Nelson has faced tougher talent in his career than Herman, whose heart has been questioned at times. If Nelson gets the fight to the ground, expect him to pull out a win inside the distance.

    Prediction: Nelson, TKO, Rd. 2

2. Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva

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    The co-main event features a possible No. 1 contender match between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva. This fight should be entertaining whether it stays on the feet or goes to the ground.

    Velasquez is coming off a championship loss to Junior dos Santos back in November, when the current champion defeated the American Kickboxing Academy fighter in just over one minute.

    In nine professional wins, however, Velasquez has defeated 8 opponents by knockout with his heavy hands and wrestling.

    Silva will make his UFC debut coming off a loss in November to Daniel Cormier. Before that, Silva rattled off wins over Fedor Emelianenko, Mike Kyle and Andrei Arlovski.

    The x-factor in this fight could be Velasquez's similarities to AKA teammate Cormier, who stopped Silva via TKO: his striking, wrestling and quickness.

    In fact Velasquez may be a little stronger than Cormier in all three of those categories.

    That could be bad for Silva.

    Prediction: Velasquez, TKO, Rd. 3

1. Junior Dos Santos vs. Frank Mir (Heavyweight Championship)

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    UFC 146's main event will feature Junior dos Santos making his first title defense against regular contender and former champion Frank Mir.

    Many see dos Santos as an unstoppable force in the heavyweight division, and for good reason. Since coming to the UFC in 2008, he has wins over Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Mirko Filipović, Gilbert Yvel, Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson, Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez.

    Five of these wins were by knockout.

    Mir has recent wins over Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Roy Nelson and Mirko Filipović. He has some of the best ground game as a master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

    The problem for Mir is while he is great when the fight gets to the ground, he has trouble at times getting it there. Not to mention, dos Santos is very good at stopping the fight from getting there.

    Mir is one of the few heavyweights who could give the champion fits, but he is unlikely to. Dos Santos is too quick, has too good of a defense and hits too hard for Mir to get comfortable to where he could move the fight to the mat.

    Prediction: Dos Santos, TKO, Rd. 2

Undercard Quick Picks

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    Diego Brandao vs. Darren Elkins: Brandao via TKO

    Jamie Varner vs. Edson Barboza: Barboza via KO

    C.B. Dollaway vs. Jason Miller: Dollaway via Decision

    Duane Ludwig vs. Dan Hardy: Ludwig via TKO

    Paul Sass vs. Jacob Volkmann: Sass via Submission

    Glover Teixeira vs. Kyle Kingsbury: Kingsbury via Decision

    Mike Brown vs. Daniel Pineda: Pineda via Submission

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