April 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
1. Underrated Striking
Frank Mir’s striking seems to be overshadowed at times by his ground game. Many people focus on his BJJ when describing his skills and forget about his much improved boxing. His ground game is rightly feared but that does not mean his hands and feet should be overlooked. Ever since he knocked out Minotauro Nogueria at UFC 92 Mir himself has spoken proudly of the development of his stand up. This advancement has been rubber stamped by his impressive victories over Mirko Cro Cop and Cheick Kongo.
2. Ground Game
As I said above, Frank Mir’s ground game is notorious and is the one clear area in which he has an advantage over the champion. It is his ground game that makes this an intriguing match up. Dos Santos has yet to face anybody with Mir’s BJJ ability (how could he, Mir is the best in the division) and it would be very interesting to see how Junior would fare if forced into a deadly ground battle with the former champ. He has however fought high level practitioners before such as: Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Gabriel Gonzaga and Roy Nelson but none of them were ever granted the opportunity to test the Brazilian on the floor, there inlies Mir’s dilemma and the mystery of this fight- will it ever reach the mat?
3. Less Pressure
I don’t know how much of a factor this could potentially be but Frank Mir has considerably less pressure on him to win heading into UFC 146. Mir is highly unfancied for this fight, as he was for the Velasquez fight, despite this he is only one big punch away from becoming an unlikely champion. He has nothing to lose, he’s getting a title show not many imagined he would get, considering how much of an underdog he was going up against Velasquez. Dos Santos on the other hand has went from facing a 50/50 pick’em to being the overwhelming favourite. How will that affect him heading into his first title defence?
Frank Mir has spoken of having less to worry about in facing Dos Santos as opposed to Velasquez. Unlike Dos Santos, Velasquez has been known to take the fight to the ground and use ground and pound or throw a variety of kicks. Dos Santos so far has been able to get by on his boxing alone. Utilizing a Chuck Liddell-like style of combining great takedown defence with unstoppable knock out punches, Dos Santos has forced opponents to reluctantly play his game to their demise. There are question marks over how he would cope should someone disrupt this game plan. The fact that his one loss came via an armbar submission is curious.
Now I am not for a second going to be outlandish and declare Mir favourite or even deny that he should be underdog. I doubt that we will leave with the belt but I also believe he has more of a chance than people think. I’m not sitting on the fence but this is a much more interesting fight than people are giving it credit for. As Mike Goldberg likes to say ‘Stylistically, it’s a great match up’.
April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Everyone get liking the new Facebook page, please. >>>>>>>
February 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
After an extended lazyness induced layoff, MclearyMMA is back in your lives. So much has happened in MMA since I last posted: Dana White has said stuff; Chael Sonnen has made jokes; Brock Lesnar has retired; Nick Diaz has been angry and a whole raft of people have been knocked out and submitted and the like. I am once again back to share my rather invalid opinion on such things. I hope you enjoy my future postings.
March 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
January 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
The talk going in before the fight was that where the fight took place would dictate the outcome. If Dunham could take it to the ground, Guillard’s vexatious and ever-present Achilles heel, he would have a great advantage. However, if Melvin could keep the fight standing, many predicted a quick knock out would follow. The fight was kept standing and, as predicted, Dunham found himself helpless to avoid Guillard’s lightening hands.
The big question now is- where next for “The Young Assassin”? With Maynard already having dibs on next title shot and with an already bulging list of deserving fighters, a title shot, although perhaps earned, is unlikely to happen. With Jim Miller and George Sotiropoulos, as well as the entire cast of the WEC, the lightweight division is without a doubt the most stacked division in the UFC. Technically, Anthony Pettis is next in line but rather than wait it out, Pettis has decided to go with the risky strategy of accepting a fight in the meantime, Josh Grispi’s last fight is an example of this risk backfiring.
A fight with Sotiropoulos is a good idea I feel as it poses the same clash of styles that the Dunham fight had. A number one contender fight perhaps if Pettis loses?
Also on the card was ever improving Matt Mitrione’s embarrassing beat down of Tim Hague. Apart from a few half-hearted takedown attempts, Hague offered absolutely nothing in this fight. Mitrione did his usual hands low, constant head movement and random explosions of accurate punch combos. This fight moves Matt up the rankings but I fear it was not in any way a true test of his abilities. A fight with a more credible and dangerous fighter will have to be faced before I pass judgement on his title credentials.
January 12, 2011 § Leave a comment
After a tremendous run through the 2010 M-1 Selection light heavyweight tournament, Byron Byrd sits next in line for a shot at the M-1 Challenge light heavyweight championship belt and he knows what he has to do. “Winning the Selections tournament kicked my career into high gear,” says the Orlando, Florida native. “M-1 gave me the opportunity to fight on a much larger stage very early in my career and I handled things from my end. I know what I’m here for and now I want the belt.”
Throughout 2009, the American Top Team stand out had a total of seven fights cancelled on him. “Every fight was pulled due to my opponent getting injured in training, not being able to make weight or the promotion cancelled. I even had an amateur title shot get pulled because the title holder got injured,” says Byrd. “So now, after prepping for fights only to have them not happen for one reason or another, I finally got to fight in 2010. Needless to say I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to start my career with M-1.”
Having watched M-1 Challenge XXII from the sidelines, Byrd was vocal about the new chip on his shoulder regarding being passed over for the shot to become the organizations inaugural LHW champ. “I thought my Selections tournament performances were worthy of meeting Vasilevsky before Narkun but those decisions aren’t up to me. But my time is fast approaching.”
When asked about the matchup between Vasilevsky and Narkun, Byrd’s hollered through the phone. “It was exciting and went exactly the way I wanted it to. I believe I’d walk through Narkun had he won. I wanted to fight Vasilevsky… he was simply the better fighter and he and I are going to give the fans an awesome fight.” Speaking about their future meeting, Byrd opened up, “We’re well matched and are both very fast. And the way I see it, I’m going into his house, his home and going to take his belt. All the pressure is on him and I’m not travelling all that way to come home empty handed.”
The key difference between Vasilevsky and Byrd come fight time is going to be the size difference; with Vasilevsky barley tipping the 191lb mark for his last fight, Byrd will stand across from him with a 30 pound weight advantage. “I know I’ll be bigger than him but that’s something their camp needs to plan for. He’s 11-1 fighting as an undersized 205’er so something is working for him. I can’t take anything away from that.” But clearly size does matter when it comes to speed and punching power, two elements that Byrd has already taken into consideration, “If he wants to stand and trade, I’ll be throwing punches with 225 pounds behind me versus his 190 pounds. We’re both fast and to make sure I’m prepared for his speed I’ve been training with our top A.T.T. welterweights and middleweights.”
It’s no surprise to hear Byrd rattle off the list of his training partners at A.T.T.: Ben Saunders, Luigi Fioravanti, fellow Selections tournament winner, Jose Figueroa, and even Tiago Silva to name a few. “That’s the great part about American Top Team,” says Byrd. “We train as a world-class unit and the team doesn’t let you fall short of your goals. So trust me when I say that Vasilevsky will have to knock me out or submit me. He will need to finish me because, unlike his last opponent, I won’t quit.”
With the bout expected to be announced shortly, clearly Byrd and the A.T.T. crew are already doing their homework and architecting the plan to ensure the M-1 Challenge light heavyweight belt is brought home to Florida.