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UFC Fight Night 85 fight card: Frank Mir vs Mark Hunt full fight preview

Frank Mir and Mark Hunt will throw down TONIGHT (March 19, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 85 inside Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. In a match up of grappler and striker, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight finishers Frank Mir and Mark Hunt will clash TONIGHT (March 19, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 85 inside Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia.

Last year was a solid comeback for Mir, who put together a couple solid wins before dropping a close bout to the highly-ranked Andrei Arlovski. Now, Mir looks to return to the win column and get back into the title hunt one last time.

On the other hand, it's unclear just how long Hunt's late career renaissance will last. He won his last bout in quick fashion, but Hunt really needed this win in order to continue his drive towards the title.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for each fighter:

Frank Mir
Record: 18-9
Key Wins: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC 140, UFC 192), Roy Nelson (UFC 130), Brock Lesnar (UFC 81)
Key Losses: Andrei Arlovski (UFC 191), Josh Barnett (UFC 164), Alistair Overeem (UFC 169)
Keys to Victory: One of the Heavyweight division's most successful submission fighters, Mir has always been a dangerous finisher. More recently, Mir has refocused on his striking and switched to the Southpaw stance.

Overall, it's been a successful change.

That said, there's no reason Mir should be looking to strike with Hunt. He obviously needs to set up his takedowns with his kickboxing, but Mir shouldn't plan on taking out Hunt with punches.

Instead, Mir should turn to his single leg takedown. If he's able to time his entrance well -- something Mir is generally quite good at -- then the former champion has a decent chance at finishing the shot.

From there, the game plan of snap or tap is obvious.

If, however, Mir cannot finish the shot, that doesn't mean Mir has to compete in a kickboxing match. Instead, he could take a page out of Fabricio Werdum's book and feint with a takedown before firing off a hard knee or uppercut.


Mark Hunt
Record: 11-10-1
Key Wins: Roy Nelson (UFC Fight Night 52), Antonio Silva (UFC 193), Stefan Struve (UFC on Fuel TV 8)
Key Losses: Fabricio Werdum (UFC 180), Stipe Miocic (UFC Fight Night 65), Junior dos Santos (UFC 160)
Keys to Victory: Hunt is a former K-1 Grand Prix champion and has grown into a very patient counter striker. He's also a deceptively skilled wrestler and grappler, making him a formidable task for just about any Heavyweight.

In this bout, Hunt simply needs to stay patient and find his openings. He's the much more talented striker, more durable, and hits considerably harder.

If he can stay on his feet, that's a recipe for disaster for Mir.

To stay standing, Hunt just needs to stay composed. He can't try to bumrush Mir, but some smart pressure would definitely aid him. If Mir's back is to the fence, he's vulnerable to Hunt's punches, so he'll feel forced to react with his own shots.

Normally, that's when Hunt finds an opening for his counter left hook. Even if it doesn't come immediately, keeping Mir at the end of his range will keep him uncomfortable and make scoring takedowns difficult. In that case, Mir is likely to get tired, which is another avenue towards the knockout.

Bottom Line: Both of these men are trying to make a title run, but neither has much time. This is a must-win fight between veterans of the division.

Mir is fighting smarter than ever, and that makes him rather dangerous. If he can turn this renewed energy and smart game planning into a victory against Hunt, it's possible he could do it against other elite members of the division as well.

Including whoever holds the belt in the next year or so.

Alternatively, a loss reinforces Mir's ceiling. While he's still proven himself a valuable member of the top 10, he may not be able to compete with the top half of that list.

Hunt is in a similar position. He's clearly a step above the majority of the division, but fairly recent losses to Werdum and Miocic don't help his chances. Hunt needs to string some wins together to get another opportunity, and beating Frank Mir would go a long way.

Just like Mir, defeat shows that Hunt's time where he legitimately had a chance against the elite -- it should not be forgotten how much trouble Hunt gave Werdum on short-notice -- is over. Even if that is the case, Hunt's resurgence has been a joy to watch and earned him a huge fan base, so there are still potential fights for "The Super Samoan."

TONIGHT at UFC Fight Night 85, Frank Mir and Mark Hunt will scrap in the main event. Which fighter will have his hand raised?

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