Frank Mir (12-4) vs. Cheick Kongo (14-5-1): offensive grappler meets offensive striker in this clash of titans.
I have to admit right away that I think Mir is and always has been one of the most overrated fighters. Accusation like this always calls for arguments. My first argument is that Mir has gotten too much credit for most of his wins. Mir rose to stardom back in the days when most heavyweights had absolutely no idea what do on the ground, so Frank was having a good time subbing guys like Tank Abbott and Tim Sylvia. His biggest wins are over Lesnar, who was still very green at the time and Big Nog, who was in no fighting shape because of a staph infection. And my second argument is that during his career Mir has been repeatedly destroyed by guys that weren’t exactly best of the best heavies (Freeman, Pe De Pano, Vera). Mir has mediocre wrestling, average striking and pretty dangerous submission oriented ground game. He is not a very good positional grappler, but he moves well on the bottom, which creates openings for his attacks.
Frenchman Cheick Kongo has been fighting for the UFC for the last four years now and has established himself as a regular face in the HW division. Kongo is 7-3 at the moment in the UFC and to this fight he comes off a loss to Cain Velasquez. Kongo took his last fight on two weeks notice, which probably wasn’t a very good idea. Kongo managed to drop Cain two times with heavy strikes, but most of the time Kongo was getting completely manhandled by the superior wrestler in Cain. Wrestling has been Kongo’s weak point in the past. While it’s still not anything to brag about, Kongo has now the wrestling to deal with most heavies who try to take this muay thai based fighter to the ground. Kongo’s most dangerous weapons are his vicious knees, constantly improving boxing and crushing GnP.
Prediction: Mir has been packing on muscle since he got dominated by Lesnar. It’s difficult to predict how the extra weight and muscle mass will effect his cardio, but if I had to guess I’d say Mir will gas badly if this fight goes to the third round. I believe Mir is planning to end this fight quick. Mir will probably try to clinch with Kongo and go for trip takedowns. It will be interesting to see how these guys match up on the ground if the fight hits the ground at some point. Kongo should try to control the distance with jab and move muscle-bound Mir around the Octagon as much as possible in order to tire him out.
Kongo by TKO strikes R3.