UFC 100 Preview: The Title Fights

Midwest Sports FansAnalyst IJune 26, 2009

Wimbledon betting may excite some sports fans, but there’s another breed of sports fan that finds tennis a bit too tame. That kind of sports fan is probably tossing and turning at night, anxiously awaiting UFC 100. The spectacular event features two title fights. Odds are already up, so it’s not too early to preview the epic battles.

Brock Lesnar (3-1) vs Frank Mir (12-3)
UFC odds: -225, Mir +185

The wait for the big rematch is almost over. What makes Lesnar/Mir II so interesting is that both fighters have evolved so much since their last bout that the rematch may as well feature two different fighters. Lesnar is a new-age mixed martial artist – not just a “guy who likes to fight” or a skilled competitor in one discipline who learns a few extra skills. He’s an athlete, one who learns at a seemingly geometric rate and seemingly can do whatever he wants to. From collegiate wrestling champ, to WWE superstar, to NFL roster member, to interim UFC heavyweight champion, Lesnar is a ridiculous physical specimen. He has tremendous wrestling ability and punching power and is slowly but surely developing his ground defense.

He’ll need that against Frank Mir, one of the heavyweight division’s best Jiu-JItsu specialists. It’s no secret that Mir is great on the ground – he proved that when he submitted Lesnar in their first meeting – but Mir is more dangerous now because he’s added strong boxing to his repertoire. No one saw his upset of Minotauro Nogueira coming; Mir’s surprisingly technical boxing helped him become the first man to knock out Nogueira.

Since this fight is so tough to call based on skills, athleticism is the tiebreaker. If Lesnar’s ground game keeps improving, he’s virtually unstoppable; no one can physically dominate him and it’s a tall order to knock him out. He’ll overpower Mir and become the undisputed champ.

Pick: Brock Lesnar

Georges St-Pierre (18-2) vs Thiago Alves (22-4)
UFC odds: St-Pierre -260, Alves +200

The welterweight title fight seems like a mismatch to some fight fans making sports predictions, but don’t be so sure. Challenger Thiago Alves has one thing GSP has never faced before: raw striking power. St-Pierre, considered by some the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, had his chin called into question when Matt Serra – not a hard hitter – famously upset him in their first bout. As great as GSP is, all his notable victims – Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, to name a few – are known more for their ground work than heavy hands.

Thiago “the Pit-bull” Alves thus poses a new challenge for the champ. With his aggression and deadly Muay Thai knees and kicks, Alves can knock opponents out at any time. On the flip side, St-Pierre is among the best strikers in the sport too. He can just as easily drop Alves and he’s far superior on the ground. St-Pierre, a true champ, also prepares for fights like no one else. He’ll be ready for anything Alves throws his way and you can bet he’ll have a set gameplan entering the fight.

Anything can happen and GSP won’t have an easy time, but he’ll still pull out a victory. Going against him is poor betting management.

Pick: Georges St-Pierre