Daniel CormierUFC on FOX 7: April 20, 2013 HP Pavilion in San Jose, California UFC Heavyweight Contender (former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champ) Daniel Cormier (-400) Profile: Daniel Cormier (11-0) is a former Olympic freestyle wrestler turned Strikeforce heavyweight powerhouse out of American Kickboxing Academy who has had a rollercoaster’s share of ups and downs. An excruciating 2008 Olympic bid in wrestling led Cormier to be named team captain, but he was unable to compete due to kidney failure during the weight cut. On September 25, 2009, the 33-year-old Cormier made his pro debut on Strikeforce: Kennedy vs. Cummings and has not looked back since. Training with Cain Velasquez and a host of quality talent out of AKA, Cormier has developed an explosive stand-up game to go along with his dangerous Olympic-level wrestling. He used those skills to plow through the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix as a reserve replacement for Alistair Overeem, knocking off Jeff Monson (unanimous decision), Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (first-round knockout) and Josh Barnett (unanimous decision) en route to the championship. Cormier closed out Strikeforce with a second-round TKO of Dion Staring on January 12. UFC Heavyweight Contender Frank Mir (+300) Profile: Frank Mir (16-6) is one of the most decorated heavyweights in UFC history, although all six of his losses have come via knockout. A former UFC heavyweight champion and interim title holder, the 33-year-old Mir fell short in his latest attempt to gain heavyweight gold when UFC champ Junior dos Santos dominated him at UFC 146. Knocked down the ladder and looking back up in a suddenly very deep and youthful heavyweight division, Mir has been sent to Strikeforce to challenge current heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Mir is very dangerous on the ground and off his back with BJJ skills that have claimed the arms of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Tim Sylvia and led to a pinnacle kneebar victory over Brock Lesnar. Mir also has the ability to strike, defeating Mirko Cro Cop and Roy Nelson mostly on the feet, but his chin has definitely seen better days. Opening UFC on FOX 7 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Cormier a big -400 favorite (bet $400 to win $100) against Mir, who opened as a +300 underdog (bet $100 to win $300) at 5Dimes sportsbook. After an originally scheduled meeting in Strikeforce failed to materialize, this could be the test that Cormier desperately wanted against a UFC opponent even though Mir has seen better days and is definitely on the downside of his career. Mir and Cormier both have strong wrestling backgrounds, making this the perfect matchup for the Strikeforce champ to prove himself against an opponent who is better than any opponent Strikeforce could offer. Cormier’s confidence has never been higher, and he hopes to use a victory here to springboard into a UFC title shot at either heavyweight or light heavyweight, as he has already called out UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones after disposing of Staring at the final Strikeforce event. If Cormier wants that opportunity, he must stay unbeaten by defeating Mir. (Original opening MMA odds for Strikeforce below)


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