Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir Head-to-Toe Breakdown
With Josh Barnett's signing by the UFC, rumors and imagination are running rampant as to who will be his first opponent in the Octagon. The former UFC heavyweight champion and Strikeforce vet is a high-profile signing that adds great depth to the division and could make a run at the title.
Here is a head-to-toe breakdown of their possible matchup in the near future.
Neither fighter is the most prolific striker you will find in the heavyweight division, but both men can hold their own on the feet.
While Frank Mir was basically a jiu-jitsu fighter for the beginning of his career, he has vastly improved his on-the-feet skills. He does own a black belt in kenpo and has scored two knockouts in the past five years (which is pretty good considering he is still a ground fighter). His surprise knockout of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and last-minue drubbing of Mirko Cro Cop prove that Mir is constantly improving.
As for Barnett, he is more of a ground striker than a kickboxer. While he does own eight career knockouts, most came early in his career and as a result of ground-and-pound.
If this fight stayed standing, it would be somewhat competitive, but Mir would hold the advantage.
This is where two different grappling styles would show their differences—when Frank Mir's Brazilian jiu-jitsu base would match up with Josh Barnett's catch wrestling ways.
Mir has never really been known as a takedown artist, though he has the power and strength to take on that role. Rather, he has a great guard and gets taken down in the attempt to sweep and get on top or submit his opponent. He traditionally does poorly against high-level wrestlers; for proof, look at his efforts against Daniel Cormier, Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar.
Barnett is a good wrestler, courtesy of his catch wrestling background. He is able to secure takedowns and use immense top pressure to make opponents uncomfortable and work his ground-and-pound, as well as his submissions.
Offensive and defensive wrestling are what is being judged here, and there is no way Barnett does not get the edge here.
This category is extremely close, but in terms of pure grappling and submission ability, one of these men is the most dangerous in the heavyweight division.
Caution and care need to be taken when on the ground with Mir, as his guard is dangerous and his offensive top-game ability is just as hazardous. His submissions of Brock Lesnar, Pete Williams and especially Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira were all brutal, a testament to the fact that he is willing to take limbs home with him in the cage.
Barnett, who is also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, has more submissions than Mir has wins in MMA. However, it should be noted that although Barnett has more tapouts, Mir has earned his tapouts against higher level foes.
In a close race, Mir snags the edge.
This is a fight fans have been craving for a while, and should it happen, it will not disappoint.
I have a feeling these guys would give fight fans what they want to see: a grappling match. It would be a beautiful display of transitions, sweeps, submission attempts and brutality.
In an exhausting pace, in partisan with some striking, I feel Mir would come out the victor. He has more refined striking and great pace on the ground.
Prediction: Mir def. Barnett via decision
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