It took a while for everything to fall into place, but the all-heavyweight UFC 146 main card is finally set. The featured attraction is Junior dos Santos’ first title defense against promotional staple Frank Mir. The vast majority of participants in Sherdog.com’s MMA Pick’Em fantasy game do not foresee a 15th Octagon triumph for Mir, as 83 percent are siding with the Brazilian.
Unbeaten in eight UFC outings, “Cigano” has defeated the likes of Cain Velasquez, Roy Nelson, Shane Carwin and Fabricio Werdum since joining the promotion in 2008. Twelve of his 14 career victories have come by way of knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Mir is a two-time UFC titleholder. The Las Vegan first captured the belt by defeating Tim Sylvia at UFC 48. He later became interim champion with a victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92. The 21-fight veteran is currently riding a three-fight winning streak and most recently became the first man to submit “Minotauro” in their rematch at UFC 140.
Velasquez, who has not appeared since relinquishing the title to dos Santos in November, is an even bigger favorite than the current champion, as 91 percent of players have picked the Mexican-American to defeat Strikeforce import Antonio Silva. Velasquez began his MMA career with nine consecutive triumphs and captured the heavyweight strap with a first-round finish of Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.
In his last outing, Silva lost to Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix semifinals. Prior to that, the former EliteXC heavyweight king had defeated Andrei Arlovski, Mike Kyle and Fedor Emelianenko in succession. The 6-foot-4 Brazilian has finished 11 of his 16 victims by knockout or technical knockout.
Other Pick’Em trends for the UFC 146 main card:
• A solid 85 percent of users believe Roy Nelson will get the best of short-notice opponent Dave Herman. “Big Country” has lost three of his last four, including a unanimous decision defeat to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143. After winning his Octagon debut against John Olav Einemo, Herman lost to Stefan Struve via second-round TKO in his last bout;
• In a matchup of unbeaten prospects, 52 percent of players like Shane del Rosario to keep his unblemished mark intact against Stipe Miocic. Del Rosario, a Team Oyama product, went unbeaten in three Strikeforce appearances, most recently besting Lavar Johnson in February 2011. Miocic is 2-0 in the UFC, with wins over Joey Beltran and Philip De Fries;
• Lavar Johnson has shown deadly knockout power since he came to the UFC, and 51 percent of players like him to make Stefan Struve his next victim. “Big” has knocked out Beltran and Pat Barry in two UFC appearances, while Struve is 7-3 with the promotion. “Skyscraper” owns wins over Barry and Herman in his last two fights.