UFC Fight Night 71 Preview

ufc_fn71The UFC’s heavyweight division is going through changes now after an eventful few months that included a change of champion.

The last few months have been a busy one for the division with top contenders trying to line themselves up behind the champion.

Not only did top contenders attempt to find their way to the title conversation but the title itself was up for grabs.

Stipe Miocic made his presence known after beating Mark Hunt to move to the #3 spot in the division while Andrei Arlovski is having a great return to the UFC in moving up the rankings quickly.

It seemed like either of those fighters was set to fight for the title while Junior Dos Santos remains on the sidelines due to injury, although he remains #2 in the division.

Then came the change at the top when Fabricio Werdum beat Cain Velasquez to take the heavyweight title in a fight that seemed to be influenced by the thin air in Mexico City.

There may be a rematch in the making between those two and if that is the case contenders will once again need to prove themselves to remain at the top.

There are plenty of fighters trying to move up and make their points and two of those fighters will face-off trying to get that positioning when the top of the division is figured out.

On one end is the veteran of the UFC heavyweight division and a former champion trying to get the belt back in Frank Mir.

Mir has been on top of the heavyweight division multiple times in his long career but recently his performances have lacked that same ability that made him a champion.

A four-fight losing streak that stretched from 2012 until 2014 had many wondering how long the former champion was going to stay in the UFC.

He seemed only one more loss away from being cut from the promotion and likely retiring from the fight game.

He got his chance to prove that he still belongs though as the UFC gave him a fight against Antonio Silva, who himself was trying to make his way up the rankings after a loss to Arlovski.

Mir took the fight with a first round knockout of “Bigfoot” that has put him back on track towards another title run.

He will need to take on the man in the other corner, Todd Duffee who represents the younger generation of the heavyweight division.mma-sidebar.fw

Duffee is a relatively new addition to the UFC’s ranks but he has made an impact in his limited number of fights.

He is a classic heavyweight and has never gone to a decision in his pro career while earning two KO wins in his only two UFC fights.

Duffee is quietly moving up the rankings but in the heavyweight division quietly rarely works out for fighters.

So he heads into a fight against a former champion and tries to make some noise against a veteran as he hopes to move up the rankings closer to the title shot he wants.

Generally in these heavyweight fights the matchups are fairly easy with the majority of fighters simply striking to win fights.

This matchup is different though as Mir presents a problem for many heavyweight fighters as one of the few with a BJJ black belt.

His chin is not the same as it used to be but his experience should help him to figure out that the ground is the best place for him to be.

That is especially true against a fighter like Duffee who clearly has no other desire than to keep the fight on the feet and get into a war.

He has lived and died by the stand-up as his losses have all come by KO or TKO and all of his wins have come the same way.

He clearly has no interest in fighting this fight on the ground and wants to keep it standing to earn another knockout win against a fighter who has shown that his chin is not the same.

In a rare match for the heavyweight division a striker faces a wrestler with both trying to show that they belong in the ever convoluted heavyweight division.

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