Getting into the “meat” of the card, RSR now takes a look at the matchup between extra-large heavyweights Frank Mir and Roy Nelson.
What Frank Mir brings to the Table
Frank Mir is one of the most unique Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world. Most of the submission specialists in the UFC, such as Damien Maia and Antonio Noguiera, are undersized so-so strikers who use cunning and guile in order to catch their opponents in chokes and locks. Not Mir.
Even when Frank Mir didn’t take his fitness seriously, he was an incredibly muscular heavyweight. At 6′ 3″ and weighing around 250 lbs. (most of which he carried on his tree-trunk like legs) he often plowed through his opponents before using his superb technique and prodigious physical strength to secure a submission. In fact, he holds 7 submission victories in the UFC, including a highlight reel arm-breaking submission of Tim Sylvia to take the title.
A tragic motorcycle accident rendered him unable to defend his title against Tim Sylvia and sent him into a tailspin of depression in which he neglected his fitness, dropping two TKO losses to lesser fighters. Since then however, Frank Mir has seen new life, and in many critics’ opinions he has surpassed his former self by bulking up to the 265 lb weight limit and improving his cardio to the point where 3 round fights are no longer an issue for him.
Mir’s striking is no longer a liability either. While it’s a far cry from elite strikers such as Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin, he has been able to hold his own on the feet against numerous fighters such as Antonio Nogueira, Cheick Kongo and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. He’s learned to use his new-found cardio and powerful legs to put enormous torque on his punches, knocking experienced kickboxer Cheick Kongo literally off his feet from the force of his left hook.
There’s honestly no holes in Frank Mir’s game anymore.
What Roy Nelson brings to the Table
Roy Nelson most reminds me of Rufus from Super Street Fighter IV. Go ahead, google image Rufus you know you want to. For those of you who don’t want to, Rufus is an enormous, fat white male with bizarre hair. It’s also worth noting that he is one of the highest ranked characters in Super Street Fighter IV.
And that’s all you need to know about Roy Nelson: an enormous white guy with a mullet who also happens to be one of the world’s elite heavyweight fighters. The end.
But seriously, for those who have at least seen Roy (or Rufus for that matter), you need to understand that he is a phenomenal athlete. I guarantee you that 80% of people reading this article could not keep up with Roy during a hill run despite carrying a spare tire.
He’s also a top tier Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, with surprising agility and flexibility. While he doesn’t really use his BJJ experience to get submission victories, what he DOES do is utilize his grappling experience to pin his opponents on the ground while unleashing his ground and pound. He uses his enormous weight in very specific ways in order to pin his opponents, which both leads to comedic value for his fans and frustration for his opponents. This of course, is only when he cannot beat his opponent on the feet.
His two victories in the octagon have come via spectacular knockout, both utilizing Roy’s beautiful counter hook. Both against Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve, he ducked under the dangerous strikers’ shots to knock them out. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Roy Nelson however is that his soft, flabby exterior hides what is one of the strongest chins of the heavyweight decisions. As of this writing, he is the only man in the UFC to take Junior Dos Santos to a decision.
Go ahead and Youtube Junior Dos Santos’s highlights. Yeah, Roy Neslon survived THAT.
It’s a widely publicized fact that Frank Mir and Roy Nelson once competed in a high level grappling competition in which Nelson spanked Mir 15-2. What the hype videos fail to mention, however, is the fact that the grappling match happened in 2003. In 2003, Frank Mir was only half the athlete he is now and Roy Nelson was significantly lighter. The results of that 2003 match are completely irrelevant in the upcoming match.
What is relevant is that the men who have beaten Frank Mir recently are people who can simply out-power him in clinches and on the ground such as Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar. The people who have beaten Roy Nelson are men who constantly keep the pressure on him, avoiding his signature right hand and stuffing his takedowns such as Junior Dos Santos and Jeff Monson.
Nelson is physically incapable of filling the role of Mir’s nemesis. Mir on the other hand, can choose to walk down Nelson and either test his chin or submit him.
It’s definitely hard to call, but as long as Mir comes out with the right game plan there’s no reason he shouldn’t stuff Roy’s offense using his superior size and athleticism for the decision victory.