Frank Mir is set to take on Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 85 on March 19th at Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in a heavyweight main event fans are hoping will set off fireworks. Mir has been had been on a tear after losing a hard fought battle against Alistair Overeem at UFC 169 by unanimous decision, deciding at times to strike with the kickboxing champion to the confusion of a lot of fans. But the confusion was soon cleared up as he managed to goad Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in a brawl as the main event at UFC Fight Night 61 and knocking down Silva with a left hook before forcing the stoppage with elbow strikes in the first round. The showing let fans and fighters know that Mir had finally turned into a technical striker as he once again showed off his skills by KO’ing Todd Duffee in the first round at UFC Fight Night 71 giving him a fight with title contention possibilities with the then surging Andrei Arlovski at UFC 191 where he refused to use his elite submission credentials and lost by unanimous decision in a purely stand up battle.
This time around as he is set to take on Mark Hunt he seems to be changing up his game plan as he has warned the ‘Super Samoan’ that his career might be in trouble if he refuses to tap out in their fight by stating:
“I’ve worked a lot of leg attacks, I love leg locks and heel hooks and kneebars. They’re complex and hard to avoid. I feel like if we get down to the ground, defending his legs is going to be very difficult, especially because his main concern is getting up – not worrying about his feet.”
“I have the hip drive that when I grab something, it’s not going to be uncomfortable. He’s going to have to make the decision of if he wants to continue fighting or go ahead and lose that fight. When I say continue fighting, I mean if he taps, he can continue on (with his career). Kneebars and heel hooks at his age could take him out of competition for an extremely long time.”
Sure it could be a psychological psyche out by Mir to get Mark Hunt to tap fast when he gets a submission, but most likely not as Mir has been known to not release the submission until his opponents tap or the referee pulls him off of his opponent. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira learned that the hard way at UFC 140 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as Mir submitted Nogueira with a kimura snapping his arm in the process in the first round after scrambling back from nearly being knocked out. And with Mark Hunt being submitted multiple times with less credentialed opponents, this actually might not be a threat Hunt might want to ignore in all likelihood.
With becoming a more technical striker as well it seems he has more tools to beat Hunt in this fight even against the assumption that Hunt has more knockout power in this fight and Mir being susceptible to having the weaker chin of the two. Mir definitely won’t hesitate and try to strike with Hunt believing he can match Hunt on the feet and actually knock him out. We can expect to see a war for sure, but hopefully not one Mir will solely rely on his striking for as Hunt is definitely going to try to take his head off in.