This Saturday night, what’s being tabbed by some as the greatest event in MMA history will finally come to fruition. UFC 100 features a welterweight showdown between Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves but will be capped off by a goliath-sized heavyweight championship tilt between defending champion Brock Lesnar and interim titlist Frank Mir.
The fight community appears torn over Lesnar’s power, athleticism and sheer size versus Mir’s excellent submission game, technique and improved standup.
Sherdog.com spoke with dozens of professional trainers and fighters to find out how they think the matchup will unfold.
Roland Sarria: I feel Frank is back, but Brock has too much raw power along with some experience now. Brock wins by stoppage.
Jeff Monson: Lesnar by TKO in the second.
Chael Sonnen: Mir will put the icing on the cake that (Dan) Henderson just got done making.
Kevin Burns: This will be a great fight. Brock is like a truck, but I think Frank still has the technique advantage. I see Frank winning by KO or submission.
Travis Wiuff: Brock by ref stoppage early in the first round.
Nick Thompson: Brock via ground-and-pound. I might be a little biased, though.
Nate Diaz: Mir (will win).
Cung Le: Mir by submission.
Luigi Fioravanti: Brock by decision.
Jaime Fletcher: Lesnar by TKO standing or on the ground. Mir got saved by the referee in the first one. Plus I’m biased because (Erik) Paulson helps coach Brock.
Marcus Hicks: Gotta be honest; I think Lesnar early in the first or Mir if Brock doesn’t finish it in the first three minutes -- then definitely Mir.
The pros like lesnar's size.Billy MacDonald: I want to pick Frank Mir badly in this one, but I am going to have to pick Brock by ground-and-pound in round two. Lesnar started to panic and tapped too early in their first matchup. Lesnar won't get caught that easily this time around. Mir is a tough S.O.B. though, and he will hold on as long as possible. Mir will refuse to tap out, so the ref will step in and call it in round two after Frank's face starts swelling up like Will Smith's did in “Hitch.”
Jake Bostwick: Lesnar I believe will win by TKO (via) ground-and-pound. I think Brock wants this win more than anything. He f--ked up with his first fight with Frank (because of) nerves and rushed a bit too much, but I believe it's Brock’s.
Bill Mesi: Lesnar does nothing for me. I like nothing about him; attitude, skill, just nothing about him makes him good for the sport. Mir caught him once, but that fight was finished with the ground-and-pound that Brock put on him, but (it) was restarted because of the blows to the back of the head. Mir’s newfound confidence on his feet, which was flawlessly showcased against (Rodrigo) Minotauro (Nogueira), will present a momentary problem for Brock, a Mir glitch, if you will. I see this fight stopped in the second via Couture-style ground-and-pound with Brock retaining title.
Stav Economou: Mir was lucky the first time -- he won't be this time. Lesnar to win (via) first-round KO.
Tom Gavrilos: Mir dodged a bullet last time and I am sure Lesnar has worked tirelessly on his submission defense. By the same token, I don't see him being able to control Mir on the ground as easily as he did Heath (Herring). Subs will still be a strong threat. In the end, I think Lesnar will just be too much. Lesnar by KO.
Jamie Varner: I have Mir winning.
Robin Black: This is an interesting fight. Mir could out-strike Lesnar, but Lesnar will take Mir down. Lesnar's ground-and-pound will be effective, but Mir could submit the big man. It can really go either way. What the hell; I'll pick Mir by submission. But I'm not betting any money on that. No sir.
Thomas Denny: Lesnar is just too big and strong for most of the UFC weight classes. I like Mir a lot, but (I) will say revenge in way of Lesnar keeping the title.
Elvis Sinosic: They both have greatly improved since their last bout against each other. Mir and Lesnar have both obviously worked on their striking. They are looking more precise and technical. Mir's gas tank seems to be much better than in earlier days. Lesnar has the strength and wrestling advantage. I think Lesnar also has more power in his striking. Mir has the grappling and submission advantage. I don't expect to see this fight remain standing, though it is possible. The match will hit the ground and this is where it will be decided… I think Lesnar will take down Mir, but will be much more controlled… Look for him to punish Mir with punches, forearms and elbows. Mir will look to guard and will work for submissions… I think Mir will work for the legs again, as he no doubt perceives this as a weakness of Lesnar. I think Lesnar will have been working like crazy to defend his legs. I can see Frank landing a lower body submission -- I don't think he will get an arm or leg -- and winning the fight. I just don't think it will happen. I think Brock will come in well-prepared for this match. I am predicting Brock to win via TKO in the later rounds.
Stephane Vigneault: Sorry, I don’t like Lesnar. But since Mir’s performance against Nogueira I am a fan of Mir. Mir by submission in round two.
Pete Spratt: I guess I would have to say it depends on which Mir shows up. Will it be the Mir that fought Nog or the Mir that fought Lesnar the first time? In my opinion, Mir has a slight chance to win if this was a grappling match. He got away with one when he caught an inexperienced Lesnar, who was winning the first fight. I don’t think Lesnar will make those same mistakes again. I think he's too big, too strong and too athletic for Mir to beat. I will go with Lesnar by TKO (in) round three.
Gabe Ruediger: This fight has no real interest for me. Not sure of a winner, (but I’m) leaning towards Lesnar.
Din Thomas: I’m picking “Branck Lesmir” to get it done based on size, strength and superior technical jiu-jitsu.
Eddy Millis: This is a tough call. I was very impressed with Frank in his last fight. Meanwhile, Brock is on the fast track. I think if Frank can weather the storm, he comes out with a submission win in the third round.
Lyle Beerbohm: I don’t think Mir will catch him like he did the first fight. In that case, I’m picking Brock to win. Since his fight with Mir, I think he’s gotten more experience in the cage. And with that experience I think he will be a little safer when it hits the ground. Submission defense is the key. I pick Brock (via) second round TKO. If Mir is gonna win, he better catch him in the first.
Mike Dolce: Last December, when Frank fought “Big Nog,” I went against the grain and picked Mir to win by TKO in round two. This time around I'm picking Mir to win by submission in round two. Frank's a stud and such a nice guy. I truly think he's hit his stride and will be ready for what the still green Lesnar has to offer.
Cageside: Mir, we definitely think that if Mir can weather the storm that will be the first round, he will pull off the win.
Pros who picked Lesnar: 16
Pros who picked Mir: 9
Pros who couldn’t decide: 2