The UFC interim heavyweight title will be up for grabs this Saturday inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, as Shane Carwin battles Frank Mir at UFC 111 to determine who gets next crack at reigning king Brock Lesnar’s title.
Carwin was slated to challenge Lesnar for his belt at UFC 106 in November, and then again at UFC 108, however the champ became ill with a severe case of diverticulitis, leaving Carwin in limbo for nearly 12 months.
As they say in Hollywood, “The Show Must Go On,” but unfortunately for Carwin just weeks after the UFC arranged his interim title scrap against Mir, Lesnar announced he had made a “miraculous” recovery and was planning a return this summer.
Carwin owns a perfect 11-0 record and has finished all of his fights in devastating fashion. In his last outing at UFC 96, Carwin put former top contender Gabriel Gonzaga to sleep in the 1stRound of their March 2009 contest after connecting with a short-right hook.
Mir has served as both UFC heavyweight champion and interim champ for the world’s premier MMA organization. Fans last saw him choking out Cheick Kongo with the greatest of ease at UFC 107 this past December, bumping his pro record to an impressive 13-4.
He has won four of his last five fights, with his only blemish coming in a lopsided thrashing to Lesnar in their highly-anticipated rematch at UFC 100 last July.
Since his crushing defeat to Lesnar, Mir has been on a personal crusade to knock the former WWE superstar off his throne. If he’s able to slap the arrogant taste out of Lesnar’s mouth in the process, he’s down for that as well.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist has packed-on an additional 20 pounds of muscle to try and match Lesnar’s size, however that mass should prove helpful against Carwin’s 6’4″ 260-pound frame as well.
Despite his championship experience, Mir enters the matchup just a slight favorite as he checks in at -160. However his betting line was at -155 yesterday, so it appears the money is starting to move in the former champ’s direction.
Although Carwin packs quite the punch and has had the luxury of improving his game with the talented Jackson Submission Fighting camp over the last year, oddsmakers have tagged the engineer a slight underdog at +130.
Please click the media play below to listen to ESPN.com’s Franklin McNeil breaking down the Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin heavyweight matchup with 5thRound.com’s very own, Tom Ngo:
Tom and Franklin are analyzing each of the five UFC 111 main bouts leading up to Saturday’s extravaganza. Their coverage will resume tomorrow when they preview the main event between welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and Dan Hardy.
Here’s what the duo previously said about: