Heavyweight Main Event: Mark Hunt vs. Frank Mir
Two, past-their-prime finishers starring in a main event that very few will likely watch? Sounds delightful.
This one is a toss up; it could be an extremely boring bout, or perhaps one of them gets put away early. If I was a betting man, I’d put my dime on Hunt. The reason I’d do that is because when “Super Samoan” connects right to the chin, it’s usually lights out.
We’ve seen Mir actually score a couple knockouts of late in romps against Antonio Silva and Todd Duffee, none of whom possess the same striking chops as Hunt. The Las Vegas native put up a stinker in his last outing opposite ex-champion Andrei Arlovski and didn’t look particularly in shape.
Hunt is quite susceptible to the takedown. We saw this in his fight with Stipe Miocic, a former Division-I wrestler. The dual-sport athlete won with his unrelenting pressure and ground and pound skills. In fact, the fight could’ve been called off a lot sooner than it did.
Mir is not Miocic and it’s quite hard for him to score a takedown via a shot, rather than through a trip, or throw, of some sort. He might be able to tire Hunt a little bit, but I see this as easy picking for the latter.
Prediction: Hunt via second-round TKO
Welterweight co-main event: Neil Magny vs. Hector Lombard
Magny will be looking to build upon the head of steam he has garnered himself over the last 12 months when he faces the returning Lombard in Brisbane.
The Elevation Fight Team representative has competed in the Octagon an astounding 10 times since Feb. 2014. Magny, who’s 9-1 during that span, reeled off victories over Kelvin Gastelum and Erick Silva to end 2015.
Magny has improved greatly in his tenure with UFC, utilizing his reach to either keep his opponents at bay, or as a way to help close the distance and obtain the clinch. Where he has struggled, though, is in the grappling department.
The Coloradoan was dominated by Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout Demian Maia in Aug. 2015. It’s not even a the biggest knock you could throw at Magny; almost everyone is befuddled by the jiu-jitsu prowess of the former middleweight title challenger.
Magny will be taking on a much more physical opponent in the grappling department on Saturday in the Cuban-Australian Lombard. The 38-year-old steps back into the Octagon following a suspension for steroid use.
Lombard, a black belt in Judo and jiu-jitsu, typically showcases his hand speed and power in the Octagon. Over the course of his professional career, Lombard has knocked out 19 foes in 34 victories.
A drop to the 170-pound class seems to have rejuvenated the career of Lombard after a 1-2 run at middleweight in UFC. The American Top Team representative would be on a three-fight win streak if it weren’t for his steroid slip-up.
Lombard is tough to takedown. We might even see him test the takedown defense of Magny. I think this fight goes the distance in a really gritty stand-up exchange.
Prediction: Magny via split decision
Written by Brad Popkin