UFC 100 Primer: 5 Questions

By Jake Rossen Jul 11, 2009
We’ve got questions: the Octagon should hopefully have answers.

Is three years of training enough to survive 25 minutes with Frank Mir?

We know 18 months isn’t enough: That’s more or less how long Brock Lesnar had been marinating in the details of submission grappling prior to his UFC debut with Frank Mir. Now that he’s got some extra time under his heavyweight belt, he’ll find out if knowledge is power.

But even if he knows what’s coming, can he stop it? Or could Mir perform the Rickson Gracie trick of counting down to a submission and then catching it at will? And in the barren, desolate landscape of Minnesota, who has been able to emulate the physicality and technique of his opponent?

Is Frank Mir better at evading ground-and-pound?

Look at Mir’s most problematic moments in the cage and they’ll often center around his inability to maneuver off his back and avoid some crushing shots from up top. Marcio Cruz pummeled him from above; Brandon Vera finished there; Brock Lesnar was giving him a thorough gorilla-assault before a stand-up. The same 250 lbs. that’s so dangerous with submissions doesn’t seem to have a lot of answers for being on the bottom. Whether that’s attributable to his decreased mobility post-motorcycle accident or a flaw in his programming is TBD.

Is Thiago Alves ready for rounds four and five?

Georges St. Pierre’s list of attributes is at scroll’s length, but none of it would matter if he didn’t have the conditioning. He does. Whether Alves can match it -- particularly past the fifteen-minute mark -- or whether his muscular endurance will fall victim to his own significant physical abuse in cutting a radical amount of weight is open to deliberation.

Will Shawn Tompkins and Xtreme Couture make a difference in Mark Coleman?

Mark Coleman does one thing -- smash people -- and he does it very well. But fighters often have a solution for that single-minded attack, and Coleman is usually left holding the bag. Part of his issue has been an island-training mentality: aside from some time spent with Pat Miletich in 2000 -- the same year he won the epic Pride Grand Prix tournament -- Coleman has preferred to prepare on his own.

For Stephan Bonnar, he’s opted to gear up at Xtreme Couture, which has quickly become the breeding ground for both new and ailing athletes. (Pretty soon, everyone will train at Xtreme Couture and no one will want to fight a training partner: end of sport.) With a proper camp behind him, it’s possible he can enjoy the success of other 40-something grapplers.

Can Jon Jones handle another wrestler?

Against Stephan Bonnar, Andre Gusmao, and other fighters ill-prepared for his grappling abilities, Jon Jones has looked like the future of the sport. Whether that impressive display will repeat itself against Jake O’Brien is something Jones himself is probably considering: While not as decorated a grappler as other UFC entrants, O’Brien -- a former heavyweight -- will not be giving up tackles as frequently as Jones may be used to.
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