One thing I can tell you about this fight even before it takes place is that Cheick Kongo (20-5) will not make a show of it with his grappling ability. Though he can strike, his grappling ability is so poor that it is not even worth mentioning. About six months ago Kongo made a visit to Vancouver Canada and stopped by to roll with the guys from Adam Ryan’s Dynamic MMA and as well as some Marcus Soares Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters. A standout in the group with his MMA experience and black belt in jiu-jitsu under seventh degree BJJ black belt Marcus Soares, Ryan was able to toy with Kongo on the ground, however, many other guys ranging from blue, purple, and brown belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu were also able to dominate Kongo. Kongo came to the club to give the typical weekend MMA warrior a chance to roll with a pro, yet had to go full out as he was being blatantly pimped on the ground. It was only through sheer size and freak strength he was able to survive.
If Kongo had difficulty with so called “amateurs” that have never fought without a gi, what would his chances be against Frank Mir (16-4)? Mir will come into this fight heavier than Kongo (245 pounds versus 230 pounds) though they are roughly the same height (Mir is 6’3” while Kongo is at 6’4”). Given Mir’s size and skill advantage, it is unlikely Kongo will be able to keep this fight standing and defend against Mir’s submission attempts. Mir received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after only five years of training with Ricardo Pires who is a forth degree black belt under Marcos Soares of Carlson Gracie. Mir is a legitimate black belt while Kongo is a blue belt at best.
It is not a matter of when this fight will hit the ground, but how much of it will be fought on the ground. If we were to look at Kongo’s last MMA fight against Cain Velasquez at UFC 99: The Comeback, 12 out of 15 minutes of this fight was spent on the mat— Velasquez was basically able to take Kongo down and control him for that duration. Personally, I would have scored each of those rounds ten to eight in favor of Velasquez—it was embarrassing how apparent Kong’s lack of skills were.
Now critics of this article will argue that Velasquez was a NCAA division 1 fighter and that it was his wrestling skills that were able to hole him on the ground. Well Mir can hold his own when it comes to wrestling. During his high school wrestling career with Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, he had a record of 44–1. Mir started wrestling during his junior year and though he lost his first nine matches, he was able to win the state championship as a senior in 1998. Aside from wrestling, Mir also participated in the school’s football team as a fullback and defensive end and on the track and field team where he was became a star discus thrower. Though Kongo may be a natural athlete, Mir is an all-round athlete.
In my humble opinion, Kongo is a very overrated fighter that has never fought a top ten until his last fight against Velasquez. Though he has impressive KO victories over Antoni Hardonk at UFC 97: Redemption, Mostapha Al Turk at UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 and Dan Evensen at UFC 87: Seek and Destroy, none of these guys are even close to being considered top caliber fighters. Kongo may have the advantage when it comes to striking, but Mir has what it takes to bide his time before his takedown of Kongo.
Though Kongo may be the former Muay Thai World champion and possess the ability to knock out Mir, he will be overwhelmed by what Mir brings to this fight. Antoni Hardonk has a similar fighting style to Kongo and when they faced off at UFC 74: Respect, Mir won via kimura in 1:17 of the first round. I predict a similar fate for Kongo in the fight— Mir will take him down and either attack the legs or the win this fight by kimura.
Bottom Line: If you believe Kongo will win this fight you really do not know your MMA. The sports book odds makers opened the UFC betting lines with Mir as a -185 betting favorite. I would have opened up at -250 so this UFC sports bet is a steal on the money line. I would lay some heavy coin on Mir to submit Kongo.
Kongo is nowhere near to being a top level fighter and is perhaps the best example of a one dimensional fighter. He has great striking but no grappling skills whatsoever. He relies on his size and strength to get by but in this case Mir is the bigger fighter and will overshadow him in both size and skill. This is the best UFC bet of the night and I would lay a hefty amount on the money line and if there is a UFC prop bet , I would go with a submission victory in this fight.
Look for Frank Mir to Submit Kongo with a Kimura
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There are a few pictures on that page though...