Before Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz broke records at UFC 196, Frank Mir was one half of the biggest fight of all time against Brock Lesnar.
Mir has been trucking along since UFC 100, adding to a legendary resume that includes 16 UFC wins and two heavyweight world titles. Mir is a threat everywhere a fight goes and his recent renaissance despite injury trouble and sheer mileage has been awe-inspiring.
In the main event of UFC 196, Mir takes on another combat sports icon in Mark Hunt. The former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion has been pound-for-pound the hardest hitting heavyweight in the division since making the switch to MMA.
At first glance, Mir vs. Hunt seems like a classic grappler-against-striker matchup. Nine of Mir’s 18 career wins have come by submission and he even warned Hunt ahead of their bout that if he locks in a submission, the Australian should tap to prolong his career. Hunt has become known for his walk-off KOs, and if Mir is game to stand with Hunt, fireworks could explode in Brisbane.
Mir vs. Hunt is the No. 1 reason to watch Fight Night Brisbane.
More on Fight Night Brisbane: Full fight card | Hunt ready for another day’s work | WATCH: Under the radar fights to watch | 10 best UFC fights in Australia | Watch: Mir previews matchup with Hunt | Watch free fights: Hunt vs. Bigfoot Silva, Mir vs. Duffee, Magny vs Kunimoto, Lombard vs. Marquardt
Rest of the main card
One of the most active fighters in the UFC, Neil Magny is back in action as he welcomes back Hector Lombard in huge welterweight co-main event.
In a division packed with potential title contenders, a loss sets back anyone trying to make a run at the top. Magny has won nine of his last 10 fights, including two in a row, and is riding high after beating rising star Kelvin Gastelum.
Lombard was just getting a little momentum going with three straight wins when he was suspended for a failed drug test in 2015. It will be interesting to see how effective Lombard can be after the long layoff. He brings 22 career KO wins with him into the Octagon against Magny.
Speaking of rising stars, Jake Matthews is one of the brightest young prospects on the roster. The Australian recently suffered his first career loss but responded immediately with a second round TKO win to get back on track.
Matthews is a new breed of fighter and can fight anywhere his opponent wants to go, and against Johnny Case he’ll need to be ready for anything.
Case is perfect in the UFC at 4-0 and is looking to add a big name to his resume by knocking off Matthews.
In the FS1 prelims, It will be a hometown main event bout for Brendan O’Reilly, who will most certainly be game to entertain in Brisbane. The former TUF Nations competitor is coming off a huge win against housemate Vik Grujic last May and will look to start a win streak against Alan Jouban.
Jouban is coming off a devastating KO loss against Albert Tumenov, but the 34-year-old part time model is a threat whenever he steps inside the Octagon. He is an explosive and charismatic fighter, and paired with O’Reilly, he should have a good chance to add to his two Fight of the Night bonus awards.
UFC FIGHT PASS prelims
Ross Pearson has been on the cusp of a solid run for years now in the UFC, but every time he gets a little momentum going he seems to suffer a setback. He’s gone win-loss in his last seven fights. A loss against Chad Laprise in the main event of the UFC FIGHT PASS prelims will hand Pearson his first losing streak ever in 18 UFC fights.
Laprise is stepping in to take Pearson after Abel Trujillo was forced from the card. The Canadian is the TUF Nations winner and brings an 11-1 record with him to Australia.
Both Laprise and Pearson lost in their last fight against the same opponent, Francisco Trinaldo, and they’re expected to put on a show on UFC FIGHT PASS.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC