This Sunday (yes, Sunday), the UFC returns to Brazil and brings with it one of the strangest main events in recent memory when Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva meets Frank Mir. Yes, the same Frank Mir who has not won a fight since December 2011, when he broke Big Nog’s arm in a submission victory. The same Frank Mir who is on a four fight losing streak.

With Silva himself without a win since 2013, this is a main event that lacks relevance within the division – but that could result in walking papers for either of the fighters (and frankly, retirement for Mir). Of course, this is a replacement headliner, as Glover Teixeira fell to injury causing a planned bout with Rashad Evans to be yanked, and it can at least be looked at as a fun fight.

It will be all business inside the octagon, however. Mir is looking to prove that he can still compete at a top level. Bigfoot Silva, who fought for the heavyweight title back at UFC 160 against Cain Velasquez (losing for the second time to Velasquez, who had earlier defeated him in a non-title bout), has also fallen on hard times of late: his fantastic draw with Mark Hunt was changed to a No Contact after Silva tested positive for elevated testosterone, and in his first fight back from suspension in September 2014, he was knocked out by Andrei Arlovski in something of an upset. A win is necessary here to at least keep Silva in the top ten of the UFC heavyweight division, if not employed (though Bigfoot still has some upside, and top tier heavyweights are hard to come by).

As with the Arlovski fight, Silva is the favorite entering into UFC Fight Night 61. What does he need to do to win?

Stay Out Of Frank Mir’s Guard

If there’s one area where Frank Mir is both legendary and still effective, it’s his ground game. Mir’s grappling and submissions are still among the best in the UFC, and Bigfoot would be wise to stay away. In short, stay out of Mir’s guard. Don’t leave a leg or arm where Mir and latch onto them. This really should be Silva’s biggest concern.

Keep It A Short Night

Bigfoot Silva has gone five rounds before, but he’d be wise to make short work of Frank Mir if the opportunity presents itself. Mir’s most recent bout was a three round decision loss to Alistair Overeem, where Overeem had multiple chances to finish the fight but didn’t, and took heavy criticism for it. Bigfoot would be best served by avoiding giving Mir an inch, lest he take a mile. Get in, do the job, get out.

Use The Size Advantage

Antonio Silva carries the Bigfoot nickname for a reason – he’s, well, big. At UFC Fight Night 61, he needs to use that size advantage and impose his will on Frank Mir. Silva is one of those rare heavyweights that actually cuts weight to make the 265lb limit, and will be a difficult foe for Mir when it comes to takedowns. Keeping this fight standing means utilizing his size.

Antonio Silva has an excellent opportunity to get his career back on track in this fight. There’s no reason he can’t have a similar outcome to his bout with Alistair Overeem, where he shocked the world by knocking the former Strickforce champion out. However, unlike Overeem, Mir will not be fighting cocky or dropping his hands, and Silva is not the underdog here. He has all the tools to win, and simply needs to come ready to control the fight and execute his game plan while avoiding Mir’s dangerous submission game.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.