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UFC 100 Preview – Brock Lesnar Vs. Frank Mir

We’re back with a huge preview of the top three fights for UFC 100. It doesn’t really get any bigger than this does it?

With three fights that are worthy of main eventing a PPV on their own, this show is stacked. It’s a show that should live up to the hype and probably become the biggest PPV card in UFC history.

Rather than bore you with a long intro, I’m just going to get to it.

I have asked MMA writers and hardcore fans for their predictions for the three top fights on Saturday night.

Here is the panel:

Todd Martin – Todd writes in the MMA section at CBSSports.com and writes the WWE Raw Report on Figure Four Online/Wrestling Observer.
Mike Coughlin – Mike writes “The Half-Guarded Truth” on Figure Four Online/Wrestling Observer and hosts Five Star Radio.
Oliver Copp – Oliver co-hosts Tough Talk with Mike Sawyer at Figure Four Online/Wrestling Observer.
Mike Sawyer – Mike co-hosts Tough Talk with Oliver Copp at Figure Four Online/Wrestling Observer.
PeachMachine – Notorious grappler!
Trojan JP – JP is a die-hard USC Trojans’ fan and writes for WeAreSC.com. He’s also been bitten by the MMA bug of late.
Stevie J – Stevie runs AngryMarks and is also a frequent contributor to our beloved site.
Big D – D is a writer for our beloved site.
Duan Greally – Duan is a writer for our beloved site.
Alan Counihan – Alan is a writer for our beloved site.
Cactus Jim – Jim is a writer for our beloved site, who we just learned has a cat named Cactus Jack.
Garrett Gonzales – That would be me, editor of our beloved site

Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping

Todd Martin – Micheal Bisping by decision

People are falling into the same game of underestimating the Ultimate Fighter guy against the longtime Pride veteran. Henderson could likely control Bisping with wrestling, but he never does that, and I think Bisping will get the best of the standup.

Mike Coughlin – Dan Henderson by decision

Dan wins fights. Dan wins close fights. Dan wins fight by split decision. Simply put: Dan Henderson wins. It’s not always pretty, but it’s almost always effective. He can strike better than any wrestler, he can wrestle better than any striker, and unless you’re a Brazilian with a jiu-jitsu lineage that touches the Nogueira brothers, you’re not going to tap him out. Bisping has proven himself to be a legitimate fighter coming off The Ultimate Fighter. When you’re only loss is a close decision to the former light-heavyweight champion, you know you’re good. Problem is, Henderson isn’t good, he’s great.

Oliver Copp – Michael Bisping by decision

You can’t really pick against Hendo. He’s still one of the greatest fighters in the world at 38. He’s a former champion and his only losses in recent memory have been to Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva. Yet, from what I have heard and seen, he doesn’t seem to be taking Michael Bisping seriously. The same Michael Bisping who came dangerously close to handing Rashad Evans his first UFC loss. The same Bisping who has progressed more as a fighter in the past two years than arguably anybody else in the middleweight division. Hendo will be the biggest test of his career. I think Hendo underestimates Bisping’s wrestling while the Brit underestimates his opponent’s stand-up skills. Motivation will spell the difference in this fight. Dan Henderson wants to get back in there with Anderson Silva… but Bisping wants one thing more than even a fight with the champion: he wants to finally get the respect he deserves. And he will earn it by beating Dan Henderson.

Mike Sawyer – Dan Henderson by 2nd round TKO

Michael will get caught with a shot after getting too happy with himself.

PeachMachine – Dan Henderson by decision

It’s gonna be a war. The wanker thinks he’s got the mental edge but doesn’t realize that Dan is already brain dead.

Trojan JP – Michael Bispng by decision
Stevie J – Michael Bisping by decision

It’s almost the prototypical “old guard” vs. “young blood” story. Hendo is regarded as one of the all-time greats, a man who held two Pride championships at the same time, a man who holds victories over everyone from Rich Franklin to Wanderlei Silva to Big Nog and Vitor Belfort. He’s also 38 in a sport where people age very quickly, but his Couture-like discipline and ability to avoid crushing knockouts (he even lasted five rounds with Rampage Jackson) have kept him competitive. Bisping is brash, cocky, and has the 17-1 record to back it up. While some will argue his win over Matt Hamill was controversial, I’d say his split decision loss to Rashad Evans could be equally suspect – flip a coin and either fight goes either way. Generally speaking he was a great light heavyweight, and by dropping down to middleweight he’s a true terror at 185. He’s going to have an easier time making the cut to 185 at 30 than Hendo does at 38 too. So who takes it – age and experience or youth and cocksure arrogance? Bisping is strong enough to nullify Hendo’s takedowns and versatile enough to win from any position – on the feet with kicks and strikes or on the ground with am armbar. Hendo is underrated as a striker though and if Bisping gives him a chin he’ll go out cold just like the Axe Murderer. This one will be so close that it goes the distance, but in the end, Bisping should get the unanimous decision.

Big D – Dan Henderson by 2nd round TKO

I’m going to love the crowd reactions for this one. While a Bisping win is certainly what is better for the 185 lb division since he would be a fresh opponent to get killed by Anderson Silva, I really don’t think he can get by Henderson. Bisping had his hands full with Matt Hamill and Hendo hits a lot harder than Hamill. If he lays that right hand down the pipe, the same he used to knock out Wanderlei Silva, Murilo Bustamante, and countless Japanese fighters, Bisping will be seeing stars.

Duan Greally – Dan Henderson by decision

This fight is Henderson’s to lose. If he works in the clinch or takes it to the ground he will dominate. My only concern is over his willingness to stand and trade in the past. That strategy would suit Bisping down to the ground. He is sharper, he has superior movement, and he is the more versatile striker of the two. I like Bisping’s chances if it comes down to a boxing match. If Dan sticks to his strengths, I see him taking a very one sided decision.

Alan Counihan – Dan Henderson by 2nd round TKO

I think Dan REALLY wants to beat this guy. So he’ll be smart enough to take it where he needs to – the clinch and the ground. He’ll wear Bisping out and finish him in the second. I really think this will be a beating.

Cactus Jim – Dan Henderson by 3rd round TKO

I think the only thing that Bisping has that’s better than Henderson is his nickname. Dan can out punch, out wrestle, and out heart Bisping. While it’s true Dan hasn’t put anyone out with his big right hand in the last couple years, he has done damage with that hand recently against guys like Wanderlei and Rampage. I would never discount that hand, especially given Bisping’s lack of striking defense. Matt Hamill was picking him apart for Christ’s sake. ‘nuff said.

Garrett Gonzales – Dan Henderson by decision

This is more about which Bisping we’ll see. We know what Hendo we’ll see. He’s one of the more consistent fighters in the game. I don’t think Bisping’s defense is good enough to not get hit, and when he does get hit, he tries to wrestle. He’s not out-wrestling Dan. I think Dan wins the last two rounds after losing the first closely.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves

Todd Martin – Georges St. Pierre by 2nd round TKO

If Alves is big enough and strong enough to stuff St. Pierre’s takedowns, St. Pierre will be in a world of trouble. But betting against St. Pierre’s ability to take anyone down is a fool’s bet, and Alves will be very unhappy underneath GSP.

Mike Coughlin – Georges St. Pierre by 4th round TKO (ground and pound stoppage)

Despite the impressive sprawl Alves has displayed of late, Georges St. Pierre continuously impresses like few fighters. His wrestling, both offensively and defensively is beyond anything the welterweight division has seen. This complements an array of skills that is bordering on perfect in every aspect of the game. He doesn’t win; he beats people so thoroughly that no doubt ever remains as to who is the better man. Alves is good, but GSP makes good men look average.

Oliver Copp – Georges St. Pierre by 2nd round TKO

I don’t see the big fuss about Thiago Alves, to be honest. He has a puncher’s chance to beat GSP but that’s about it. What did physically dominating Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck while being completely out of their weight class prove? He lucked into a win against Chris Lytle, beat a Karo Parisyan who hasn’t looked like himself in years and now we’re supposed to take him seriously as the guy to possibly beat GSP? Gimme a break. This will be as one-sided as the BJ Penn fight.

Mike Sawyer – Thiago Alves by 2nd round TKO

Alves will catch him standing and finish him on the ground.

PeachMachine – Thiago Alves by decision

A fluke win by Serra over GSP shows that he’s beatable. A large, strong, well hydrated, Alves is a scary motherfucker.

Trojan JP – Georges St. Pierre by decision
Stevie J – Georges St. Pierre by 2nd round submission (rear naked choke)

I don’t want it to seem like I’m taking Thiago Alves lightly – after all this is a man who has reeled off seven straight wins in UFC, a sport where lengthy winning streaks are VERY hard to come by. He wasn’t fighting tomato cans either – he’s knocked off the likes of Chris Lytle, Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes – often in very devastating fashion. On the other hand – Georges is Georges. He’s simply the best athlete in MMA today, possibly one of the best in the entire world, and no one game plans for a fight better than he does. If you wrestle, he’ll outwrestle you. If you strike, he’ll outstrike you. He turns everyone’s strengths into weaknesses. He is the most dominant UFC fighter today, and were it not for what now seems like a lucky punch from Matt Serra, he would be riding an undefeated streak all his own. Alves is a very game fighter, but much like Jon Fitch learned, all the heart in the world won’t stop you from getting beaten up for five straight rounds. I’ll be shocked if he lasts a full three. In fact I expect GSP to take him to the ground and RNC him just to remind everyone he’s got some great jiu-jitsu in his arsenal.

Big D – Georges St. Pierre by decision

We went over this in great detail on FGB Radio so I will keep this brief. Alves is younger, bigger, and stronger than GSP, but is he mentally as prepared and focused as GSP? That will determine this fight. If GSP can come up with a sound strategy and outthink the beast, I can see him taking this one by submission or decision, but if not, Alves will either tap him or rock his world with strikes. I think even if Alves loses though, he can probably get a rematch down the line since he is so young.

Duan Greally – Georges St. Pierre by 4th round TKO

St. Pierre has been flawless since being upset by Serra in 2007. In his five fights since then there has not been a single second that he wasn’t controlling the fight. I don’t expect this to be any different.

Alves has always struggled to make the 170 pound limit, and this time he will be without the luxury of the extra one pound. This will also be the first five rounder he has competed in. I think the cut will take its toll on Thiago’s stamina, and GSP will stop him in the 4th with ground and pound.

Alan Counihan – Georges St. Pierre by 3rd round TKO (taps from punches)

GSP may not be able to get him down for a round, or even two. But I think by the third he will have got it, and once down there I see him looking to finish. Here’s my wild prediction of the day – I think Alves taps from punches to the face. He’s going to be looking to preserve those good looks.

Cactus Jim – Georges St. Pierre by 3rd round TKO

Alves will be bigger and stronger, but GSP is more skilled. Provided he can avoid a big punch, I think he ground and pounds Alves into defeat in the second half of the fight. Alves’ main chance here is to clip GSP ala Matt Serra. I won’t say it can’t be done, because obviously it can, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Garrett Gonzales – Georges St. Pierre by 4th round TKO

I would love to see how hard it is for Alves to make weight before making my prediction, but obviously I can’t do that. I think he’s going to gas if he cuts as much weight as he usually does. But I think he’ll be able to hit GSP, especially early, and then GSP will just start wrestling and probably beat him up on the ground. If GSP avoids getting knocked out early, he runs away with this one.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir

Todd Martin – Brock Lesnar by 1st round TKO

I see Brock being more offensive throughout the fight, with Mir looking to counter with submissions or strikes. I won’t be particularly surprised if Mir catches Lesnar with another submission early, but I think the more likely scenario is Lesnar overwhelming Mir with punches.

Mike Coughlin – Brock Lesnar by 2nd round TKO

It’s not just the weight and speed that give men fits, it’s Lesnar’s gorilla-like arms. I think the reach Lesnar possesses will prove to be Mir’s undoing. That or the 280 lb NCAA wrestling champion that moves like a MW, hits like a super-duper heavyweight, and who has a mean streak the likes of which make horror writers from Maine cry at night, will end up crying from another of Mir’s submissions.

Oliver Copp – Brock Lesnar by 3rd round TKO

Regardless of what Frank Mir says, he was getting his head pounded in in the first fight. With 18 months of addition submission avoidance training, I think the advantage clearly lies with Brock. Plus, from a storyline standpoint, Brock winning works out great. UFC couldn’t have booked this entire thing better from start to finish if they tried, so I think Brock and Mir will be tied 1-1 after Saturday.

Mike Sawyer – Brock Lesnar by 1st round TKO

Brock imposes his will. Mir in great shape, but it won’t matter.

PeachMachine – Brock Lesnar by 2nd round TKO

Brock is the new face and the unstoppable force of UFC. Expect Dana to ride the Lesnar wave for a long time.

Trojan JP – Brock Lesnar by 1st round TKO
Stevie J – Brock Lesnar by 2nd round TKO

The bout everyone has been waiting for. The most anticipated fight in UFC history. The match we were SUPPOSED to see at UFC 98. I’m trying not to be bitter about that. Instead I’m throwing a party this weekend and I’m expecting a huge crowd, because this is a super card headlined by a super fight for the ages. You all know the story – the big, bad, muscular and bold Lesnar came into UFC with a huge head of steam only to find his train derailed when the wily veteran Mir submitted him with a kneebar. With the tear that Lesnar has been on ever since some would say this was a fluke – after all he knocked Heath Herring silly and dominated Randy Couture in a heavyweight title fight that crowned him the champion. For his part though Mir has been equally impressive since defeating Lesnar, dominating Big Nog in a fight many people expected him to lose, capturing the Interim Heavyweight Championship that Nog earned while Couture has been in self-imposed retirement. Who’s the real deal? Mir has the track record to suggest he’s not just a one hit wonder, and if anybody knows about his career ambitions being derailed Mir does. Not only does it look like he learned from his mistakes, he’s arguably a better fighter now than when he became UFC Heavyweight Champion the first time. Brock Lesnar is a beast though. Anybody who has to give it everything he’s got just to get DOWN to the top limit of the heavyweight class is probably going to come into the cage at 290+. Mir might say he’s not scared, but he should be, especially since Lesnar was pounding his face into hamburger the first time before he got caught. Lesnar has the fastest learning curve of any athlete today – he went from being a dominant amateur wrestler to a fantastic pro wrestler in no time flat, made the practice squad of the Vikings having never played college football, and has become a phenom in UFC in just four fights. Undoubtedly he’s learned to translate his wrestling skills to his ground game, and with even the most minimal of jiu-jitsu practice he’ll know what to avoid and how not to get caught there. He’s no longer a rookie, and he’s not going to make a rookie mistake this time. Mir won’t be going away after this fight, but he will be going home without a title belt.

Big D – Brock Lesnar by 1st round TKO

I don’t care how good Mir has gotten, Lesnar has also been getting better. Unless Lesnar makes another clumsy mistake and gets tapped, I see him rushing Mir and getting the ground and pound win in round 1. Too big, too strong, too fast, too scary.

Duan Greally – Brock Lesnar by 1st round TKO

I still don’t believe Mir is an elite level fighter. He just caught one guy on his way up (Lesnar), and another on his way down (Nog). He’s still the same guy who got physically mauled by Marcio Cruz and Brandon Vera.

At the same time, Brock is still a long way from being the finished article. His stand up in particular has looked atrocious, and I’m surprised that it has yet to be to his detriment. That’s irrelevant here though as Mir won’t be able to keep this on the feet. It once again comes down to whether Mir can catch a submission before Brock pounds him out. I feel that Brock has developed enough guile to keep himself out of trouble. He will overwhelm Mir and stop him in the first.

Alan Counihan – Brock Lesnar by 1st round TKO

Brock will either take him down straight away or he’ll knock him down with a big right. Once down there he’s going to CAREFULLY beat the dog out of Frank and this time the referee will jump in, not to stand them up, but to end the fight.

Cactus Jim – Brock Lesnar by 2nd round TKO

I think he’ll be able to overpower Mir similar to their first bout and believe that his submission defense has to have gotten better since their first meeting. Based on his cardio in the Herring fight I think he’s got the tank to go into the later rounds if he needs too, and based on recent Mir performances I can’t say the same. Although I will say that Mir looks as good now as he ever has.

Garrett Gonzales – Brock Lesnar by 2nd round TKO

I’m not sure how Mir wins this fight unless Lesnar makes another mistake on the ground. Mir thinks his stand-up is awesome because he beat up Big Nog, who wasn’t really Big Nog in that fight. How is he going to reach Brock? Also, I think Brock dictates the entire fight and will control where the action goes. I think he’ll eventually punish Mir and stop him in the second.

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