UFC 146 is a month away and already it has seen more than its fair share of schedule changes and controversy. None more prolific than the removal of Alistair Overeem from the main event against current champ, Junior dos Santos.
The real victim though is dos Santos as he never took any illegal drugs, and isn’t getting promoted to another, bigger fight. Instead, he is forced to switch up his camp on short notice and study a fighter with a completely different skill set.
Surely, dos Santos will be coming into his first title defense in top form, but how will this affect his game plan?
Dos Santos needs no preparation when it comes to his boxing. That talent is so instilled in him that he could probably take the entire camp to work on everything but boxing, and still outbox the entire division. So as for his standup, it will actually be a boost to him as it’s an advantage as Frank Mir is an inferior striker than Alistair Overeem. Dos Santos was training for K-1 level striking, but now will be met with sub-perfect strikes from a fighter whose chin was put under heavy scrutiny after the Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira fight.
This brings me to the next change for dos Santos, his new-found thirst for revenge. Mir is responsible for beating Nogueira twice inside the Octagon in two extremely impressive ways. Dos Santos trains with Nogueira and will surely be looking to give Mir some of the punishment that Mir gave to his training partner and good friend.
The biggest thing dos Santos has to worry about with this new opponent is the obvious threat of Mir’s unrivaled submission game. As we all know, Mir submitted Nogueira in his last outing which says enough about him to make his ground-game a dangerous place.
Falling down with Mir is like falling in a shark tank with freshly severed limbs. He will grab whatever he can and rip it off whatever way he can. Dos Santos is a brown belt under the Nogueira brothers but a black belt held by a Nogueira wasn’t enough to stop Mir from breaking a limb.
This is what dos Santos must train on everyday of his new camp as well as takedown defense and getting back to his feet. Dos Santos has proven to be excellent at both of these things so far but emphasis is put on both skills coming into this fight as he will not have the same opportunities to get up and just trying to against Mir could prove deadly.
Dos Santos will be in peak physical condition for this fight and his game plan will be on point. He just must not fall into Mir’s game and use his boxing and incredible power to put Mir away quickly and solidify himself as the reigning UFC heavyweight champion.