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UFC 111 Main Event Analysis and Picks

Georges St-Pierre vs Dan Hardy

The Fight: After mowing down a whos-who of credible challengers in Jon Fitch, BJ Penn and Thiago Alves, GSP’s latest challenger to his seemingly invincible welterweight crown comes in the form of British striker Dan Hardy. Hardy, who earned the shot with his win over Mike Swick, is doubted by many to be a serious challenger to GSP, but the Brit’s skill with his hands are formidable and he has yet to taste defeat in the octagon.

Why Dan Hardy may win: Unlike more heralded fighters such as Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, Hardy has yet to be defeated by St-Pierre and has at least one area where he excels over the champion – his boxing. If Hardy can keep the fight upright long enough, he should be able to outbox GSP and, ideally for the Brit, land a bit shot that will send St-Pierre to the canvas. However…

Why GSP may win: …Dan Hardy has never faced a wrestler the caliber of St-Pierre. GSP, though capable on the feet, will quite likely take this fight to the ground whenever he pleases; Hardy was able to stuff takedowns from Swick, but defending St-Pierre’s is another task altogether. Greasing allegations aside, GSP was able to defend submissions from jiu-jitsu ace BJ Penn and has excellent ground control that should make life difficult for Hardy.

What will happen: St-Pierre will dispose of another would-be challenger to his crown. Hardy may be the more technical of the two strikers on the feet, but at some point the Brit will find himself on his back courtesy of a takedown by GSP, and this is where he will be in trouble. Hardy may last longer than most expected, but by late in the second round or early in the third, GSP will deny his challenger entry to the championship rounds by either a TKO stoppage from ground and pound or a slick submission over the battered Brit.

Frank Mir vs Shane Carwin

The Fight: With heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar on the shelf until the summer after his scary bout with diverticulitis, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin will meet on the card with the interim title on the line. Mir easily disposed of French Kickboxer Cheick Kongo in his last fight, while Shane Carwin’s nearly unscrewed Gabriel Gonzaga’s head with a punch that blasted the Brazilian in his most recent outing.

Why Shane Carwin might win: Though Mir is heavy handed on the feet and has some nasty submissions, a certain powerful wrestler has proved his undoing as of late with heavy ground and pound. Shane Carwin isn’t terribly different stylistically from the aforementioned Brock Lesnar, with his impressive power and wrestling credentials. In addition to wrestling skill, Mir might be hesitant to trade punches with Carwin, who nearly sent Gonzaga’s head into the stands with a simple, short punch. But…

Why Frank Mir might win: …Mir’s holds an experience edge over Carwin in this fight, which may prove invaluable. Carwin only has a few less fights than Mir, but none of Shane’s fights have been past the three minute mark, much less making it out of the first round. Frank Mir almost certainly notices this and will be willing to drag this bout into the later rounds to test Carwin’s cardio; if Shane tires in the later rounds, he’ll be ripe for another cringe-worthy submission by Mir or more likely to get caught on the feet.

What will happen: Despite Mir’s experience edge, this fight is difficult to call. What is Carwin’s cardio like? On the other side of the same coin, what is Mir’s like after his recent bulking? Will Mir chance exchanging on the feet or will he allow Shane to take him down and work for a submission underneath the powerful wrestler? In a fight with so many questions, it’s more logical to go with the experienced fighter in Frank Mir. Whether the fight ends quickly or early, both seem to favor Mir, as Frank has superior technique on the feet and will be able to catch Carwin in a submission should the wrestler make an ill-timed takedown in the later rounds if his tank is running low. Expect Mir to rock Carwin sometime later in the first or early in the second, with Mir scrambling on top and grabbing a limb or taking his back for a nasty submission hold while Carwin tries to clear his scrambled brain; by the time he does, he’ll be reaching to save himself with a tap out, and Mir will earn his much anticipated rubber match with his nemesis, Brock Lesnar.

Ryan James

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