The UFC 146 all-heavyweight main card underwent a pair of major changes this past weekend. UFC President Dana White has confirmed that former heavyweight champion Frank Mir will step in to challenge current titleholder Junior “Cigano” dos Santos on the May 26th card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The late change came about after dos Santos’s original opponent, former Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem, tested positive for severely elevated testosterone levels on March 27th during a random pre-fight drug screening. Cain Velasquez, who was to face Mir, now battles Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
The UFC Heavyweight Championship bout between dos Santos (14-1-0) and Mir (16-5-0) represents an interesting clash of styles between fighters who are seen by many as the top heavyweight boxer and jiu-jitsu practitioner in MMA, respectively. Dos Santos captured the title with a quick knockout of former champion Velasquez in November and has won nine straight fights. Mir is in the midst of a second career resurgence and has won three in a row. He most recently broke the arm of former PRIDE legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira in a December rematch. Mir now looks to once again ascend to the top of the UFC’s heavyweight division, but his chin has failed him on multiple occasions in the past and dos Santos is one of the hardest punchers in the sport.
Velasquez (9-1-0) steps back into the cage for the first time since losing his heavyweight title to dos Santos at the inaugural UFC on FOX event in November. The standout wrestler has battled injury woes in recent years, but hopes to be back at 100% next month. All but one of Velasquez’s wins have come inside the distance, and a victory at UFC 146 will most likely place him right back in the number one contender’s spot. Silva (16-3-0) was originally slated to face Roy “Big Country” Nelson in his UFC debut on the May 26th card, but now takes a big step up in competition to challenge Velasquez instead. Silva dominated former long-time PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko in February of this past year, but now looks to rebound from a quick loss to Daniel Cormier in the semi-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
UFC 146: “Dos Santos vs Mir” is set to take place on May 26th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Overeem’s future is currently unclear, pending a licensing hearing with the NSAC.
Article updated with further information on the card from Dana White. Nelson now faces Gabriel Gonzaga, while Shane del Rosario faces Stipe Miocic.
UFC 146 Fight Card (subject to change):
– Junior “Cigano” dos Santos vs Frank Mir [UFC Heavyweight Championship]
– Cain Velasquez vs Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
– Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs Gabriel “Napão” Gonzaga
– Shane del Rosario vs Stipe Miocic
– Mark Hunt vs Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve
– Edson Barboza vs Evan Dunham
– Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy vs Duane “Bang” Ludwig
– Diego “Ceara” Brandao vs Darren “The Damage” Elkins
– Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs C.B. “The Doberman” Dollaway
– Glover Teixeira vs Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury
– Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann vs Paul “Sassangle” Sass
– Mike Brown vs Daniel “The Pit” Pineda
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)