UFC 100 Primer: Lesnar-Mir Red Ink

By Jake Rossen Jul 11, 2009
Googling “Lesnar Mir” produces about 3.5 million results; entering “St. Pierre Alves” clocks about 10 percent of that.

As scientific study, it’s a pretty shaky premise. As a snapshot of the mass interest in UFC 100’s two title fights, it may be on to something. Brock Lesnar is everything the UFC has ever hoped for in a competitor: a man built like a side-by-side refrigerator, arrogant, temperamental and with an existing, powerful brand dragged from another industry. He may be the single biggest box office draw the company has right now. And he can actually fight.

Things did not look so promising during his UFC debut in February of 2008: Against Frank Mir, he showed a rookie’s mentality for being too aggressive and sloppy. Facing someone equally green would’ve been forgiving; facing the experience of the accelerating Mir -- finally back in form after a 2004 motorcycle accident -- meant he got his foot nearly torn off. (There is debate that, had referee Steve Mazzagatti not interrupted the action to caution Lesnar about punches to the back of the head, he would’ve overwhelmed Mir. But the same excitability that prompted the illegal shots prompted the slow counter that ended the fight. Mazzagatti did not cost Lesnar the victory: Lesnar cost himself.)

If Brock Lesnar is not the most skilled heavyweight, he is easily the most athletic. Whether that will be enough to overcome Mir’s technical ability is why we’ll bother watching.

Striking: Mir has evolved over the years from a reluctant and clumsy striker to someone who now appears indifferent to where the fight takes place: He battered Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by barely going horizontal. Lesnar has nowhere near that ability -- and it’ll take him years more to even have a chance -- but his surprising reach (and unsurprising power) complicates things significantly.

Canvas: Lesnar’s instinct is to take the fight to the mat -- exactly where Mir has the best chance of ending the night early. Lesnar may be advised to keep things on the feet, enjoy his reach, pressure Mir in the clinch and then go to work the mat only when both men are slippery enough to make a submission more wishful thinking.

What It Means: Windex for the UFC heavyweight title picture: Both Lesnar and Mir own a piece of it.

Third-Party Investor: Randy Couture, who would do the biggest business out of anyone when it comes to a rematch with Lesnar. (Presuming he can get past Nogueira on Aug. 29.)

Who Wins: Mir. Lesnar will continue to perform well against more plodding heavyweights, but Mir has surprising agility for a man of 250 pounds. Lesnar won’t be able to resist the urge to tackle him early. It’ll be the beginning of his end.
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