You got to hand it to the UFC they are unstoppable. Strikeforce’s heavyweight GP just concludedand Bellator held a heavyweight title fight but not even Alistair Overeemfailing a drug test and getting dropped from the main event can prevent everyfight of UFC 146’s all-heavyweight main card from dominating the news. UFC 146 takes place at the MGM Grand Arena inLas Vegas, NV with an undercard on Facebook and FX, a main card broadcastpay-per-view.
Overeem being repalced against defending champion Junior dos Santos would makeany other promotion fall into Bellator’s “where title shots are earned, notgiven” trap but the UFC’s division is so stacked former champion Frank Mirstill makes a good main event on paper if not in reality. Mir lost to Brock Lesnar for the unifiedtitle in July 2009 and to Shane Carwin for the interim title in September 2010but he is coming off a second win over former Pride champion/interim UFCchampion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a kimura that earned him “Submission of theNight” and “Submission of the Year” bonuses. Dos Santos however hasn’t lost since November 2007 and is riding anine-fight win streak including a KO of Cain Velasquez that earned dos Santosthe title in his most recent fight. Mirhas weathered the storm before such as his second fight against Nogueira buthis standup is nowhere near dos Santos’ making this one Mir could pull out butrather unlikely.
Former EliteXC champion Antonio Silva makes effective use of his size to simplyoverwhelm his opponents but against former UFC champion Cain Velasquez thatdoesn’t seem likely. Velasquez is comingoff the first loss of his career (his first UFC title defense) where hebasically got caught just over a minute into his fight against Junior dosSantos. Silva had a high-profile winover former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko but was just out-boxed by DanielCormier in the semifinals of the Strikeforce heavyweight GP for his most recentfight. Silva’s size and reach aredifficult to deal with but it is hard to believe Velasquez won’t do the samething to Silva that Cormier did.
Stipe Miocic has remained undefeated following his second UFC fight for a totalof 8-0 however Shane del Rosario will be his biggest test to date. Miocic KO’d Phil De Fries in February to earn“Knockout of the Night” bonus, Del Rosario is making his UFC debut holding an11-0 record coming off an armbar over Lavar Johnson in Strikeforce.
One of the most intriguing fights is on the FX prelims as Edson Barboza facesformer WEC champion Jamie Varner. Barboza is 10-0, 4-0 in the UFC and is thought of as potentially one ofthe best strikers in the lightweight class while 19-6-1 Varner is one of thebest wrestlers in the class coming off a win over Drew Fickett. Sure, this may be a battle of striker vs.grappler with both not really considered well-rounded enough to make a titlerun yet but this is definitely a chance to see how much both have progressed.
For the pure striking fans Dan Hardy vs. Duane Ludwig has potential to be abarn-burner. Hardy is riding four lossesin a row starting with his title shot against GSP in March 2010, Ludwig iscoming off a loss to Josh Neer in January. Neither are likely to get a title shot anytime soon but that actuallymakes this more of a “nothing to lose, go for broke” fight that could steal theshow.
Prelims on Facebook:
FW: Mike Brown vs. Daniel Pineda
LHW: Kyle Kingsbury vs. Glover Teixeira
LW: Jacob Volkmann vs. Paul Sass
Prelims on FX:
WW: Dan Hardy vs. Duane Ludwig
MW: Jason Miller vs. C.B. Dollaway
LW: Edson Barboza vs. Jamie Varner
FW: Diego Brandao vs. Darren Elkins
HW: Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson
HW: Stipe Miocic vs. Shane del Rosario
HW: Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman
HW: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva
HW title: Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir