If ever the term crossroads fight were to be used, it would certainly apply to this weekend’s UFC 169 heavyweight battle between Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem.
While both fighters remain in the top 10 rankings, there’s the sense that their UFC livelihoods could very well be at stake. Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champion, is mired in a career-worst three fight losing skid. His last effort was a first-round TKO loss at UFC 164 against Josh Barnett. During this current funk, Mir has also dropped a decision to Daniel Cormier and been knocked out by then champ Junior dos Santos in a failed title bid at UFC 146.
As for Overeem, it’s been “The Demolition Man” who has been demolished in his last two fights. He was brutally stopped in the third round by Antonio Silva and most recently was shocked by Travis Browne at Fight Night 26. Overeem had Browne in trouble early thanks to a brutal onslaught of strikes, but fell victim to a front kick to the face and follow up strikes in the opening round. It appeared as though Overeem was going to be a major star for the promotion when he destroyed Brock Lesnar back at UFC 141. However, he saw a title opportunity slip away against dos Santos because of a failed pre-fight drug test, and there hasn’t been much positive momentum since. Dos Santos has expressed an interest in a possible fight against Overeem if he emerges victorious.
Both men have shown their abilities in the past and both are in desperate need to earn a victory this weekend in New Jersey. It’s a matchup of the submission ace against the knockout artist. Mir remains one of the most dangerous submission specialists that the division has ever seen. He’s produced brutal Octagon victories when he literally snapped the arms of Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He also had one of the organization’s most heated feuds ever with Lesnar. Their two fights produced a victory apiece. Mir has struggled of late when matched against huge punchers and Overeem certainly fits that bill with 15 career knockouts.
The two fighters are undoubtedly well aware of the consequences of what another loss would mean for their careers. In the current landscape of the heavyweight division, all it takes is one impressive effort to get back in the mix. Both Overeem and Mir will be looking to make a major statement this weekend that they have the goods to remain key figures in the division.