UFC 111 may as well be a tale of two weight classes: the Welterweight and Heavyweight divisions.
In the 170-pound weight class, you have a dominant champion who has looked more impressive with every fight. His name is Georges St. Pierre (19-2). He has beaten the likes of Matt Serra, Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn, and Thiago Alves in his title reign and is continuing to learn more about himself.
When he steps into the Octagon against Dan Hardy (23-6-1 NC), he will be facing a fighter who not only has knockout power, but the durability to go the full five rounds and make it a close fight.
Hardy has four fights and four wins in the UFC, three by decision with two of those decisions split. The other fight was a first-round knockout of Rory Markham at UFC 95.
However, you cannot count out the champion in this one. His ability to go to the championship rounds and get a win has been GSP's moniker as of late, seeing as his last three fights have gone at least four rounds.
Don't expect a decision here, though, as both fighters are coming off unanimous decision victories. Expect a feeling-out process in the first round to see what kind of fight we will see, but ultimately, GSP will defeat Hardy by third-round KO.
The Heavyweight division has not been a solid division as of late, but not for a lack of trying. Not since before Randy Couture claimed the crown from Tim Sylvia in March 2007 has the division seen a champion who has defended his title on a constant basis like the other divisions in the UFC.
Now, just as Brock Lesnar has created some stability in the division as the undisputed champion, he goes down with a bout with mononucleosis and yet another interim belt is needed and at UFC 111, Shane Carwin (11-0), who was originally supposed to face Lesnar at UFC 106, must now face Frank Mir (13-4) to get a shot at the kingpin of the division when he is healthy.
Mir has fought twice since Carwin's last fight. In that aspect, you would think Carwin would have a little ring rust.
However, another stat speaks to him, his undefeated MMA record and the way he has gotten there. Carwin has never gone past the first round, finishing his opponents quickly and efficiently. This fight will be much different.
Mir is a much more complete fighter than any of Carwin's past opponents, and Carwin will learn that early.
Expect a well-rounded fight with some points of striking, but it will be ultimately decided on who grabs control of the ground game. Frank Mir will come out on top via second-round submission with a rubber match with Lesnar in his future.
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