UFC 80 is scheduled for this weekend in New Castle, England. And while I’m looking forward to B.J. Penn fighting Joe Stevenson for the UFC lightweight title, I still have my eye on UFC 81, which is scheduled to take place a few weeks later in Las Vegas on February 2.
The match I’m looking forward to most at UFC 81 is the heavyweight clash between Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir. As a former wrestling fan, I have to admit that I am curious to see the visual of a former WWE heavyweight champion standing in the middle of the Octagon. I am also dying to see how Lesnar will fare against legit competition such as Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champion.
Some of you are sick of the hype behind Lesnar and you want to do all that you can to ensure the tainted influences of pro wrestling don’t infect mixed martial arts. But whether you like it or not Brock Lesnar is coming to the UFC in a few short weeks. And if he’s going to compete as a legitimate athlete then he should be treated as such until he gives us a reason not to.
And being that he’s going to be competing in a few short weeks, I wanted to break down his matchup against Mir. The strange thing is the more I looked at the fight, the more I became convinced that this is a fight Lesnar will win. And here’s why:
1. Mir’s striking isn’t good enough to expose Lesnar’s standup - Ultimately, I think Lesnar will prove to be much better on his feet than some people are projecting. I was able to interview Pat Miletich in December of ’06 following a seminar he taught in the Philadelphia area. Lesnar had spent some time at MFS in Iowa during the early portion of his training and Miletich got to work closely with him. Miletich said that Lesnar was surprisingly light on his feet for a man of his size. Footwork is the first step in the long road towards becoming a polished striker.
There are other reasons why I believe Lesnar will prove to be an effective striker. He showed impressive power and accuracy when he was raining shots down on Min Soo Kim from the mount at “Dynamite USA!!” in June.
Throwing punches from the punch and on the feet are two different things, but you could at least see the power in Lesnar’s hands. If some of that power can transcend to his standup game, at the very least he’ll give opponents something else to have to be concerned about in addition to his wrestling ability.