Lesnar's standup holds key to victory against Mir

Bleacher Report Correspondent IJuly 8, 2009

Showdown Joe Ferrero, host of Sportsnet’s MMA Connected, believes that Interim Heavy Champion Frank Mir will beat Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in Saturday’s unification bout at UFC 100.

It is also the same opinion of many UFC fighters, at least those daring enough to publicly denounce Brock Lesnar.

Although Mir did take the first fight—and looked great in the fight with Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira—Lesnar has improved tenfold since their first fight in February 2008, one which he saw him, according to Heath Herring, “Donkey Kong-ing” Mir.

Ferrero has noted that Mir has the better ground game—obviously—but claims that he has a better boxing background. That seems peculiar considering that Lesnar dropped Mir with strikes in the first fight, and took him down at will. Lesnar’s stand-up face may not be as clean as Anderson Silva’s, but he has been able to drop every opponent with his power—and 81’ inch reach.

Also, there’s a reason Lesnar’s chin hasn’t been truly tested yet: no one’s been able to find it. So, the stand-up game clearly has to be an advantage for Lesnar.

Lesnar has some of the strongest wrestling credentials in the UFC, too, making him somewhat of a threat on the ground to the Jiu-Jitsu ace Mir. As we saw in Lesnar-Mir 1, Lesnar-Herring, and Lesnar-Couture, the former NCAA wrestling champion can move on the ground and gain dominant control of an opponent with ease.

However, given that Lesnar got caught in the first fight, it would be smart for him to keep the fight upright, or only use his takedowns to score points if—God forbid—this fight goes to decision.

There is no doubt some lingering bitterness among UFC fighters who are displeased about Lesnar’s quick path to the title; but personal feelings aside, Lesnar has dominated his last three fights (yes, even the Mir contest) and will probably win if he stays on his feet.

Ferrero doubts Lesnar, but he may have to change his tune on Monday’s MMA Connected.

This column was submitted by my colleague Cory Wright. He is a contributor to the blog mentioned below.