Champ Junior Dos Santos Installed as Heavy Favorite Over Frank Mir

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC 146 heavyweight championship fight is decidedly more one-sided as a result of the recent switch in challengers, at least according to oddsmakers. With Alistair Overeem out, his replacement Frank Mir is considered a major underdog to beat titleholder Junior dos Santos.

Major gaming site Bovada released its line on Monday, installing Dos Santos as a 5 1/2-to-1 favorite to beat Mir. Noted oddsmaker Joey Oddessa thought it was a little closer, making Dos Santos 5-to-1.

Dos Santos had also been favored to beat Overeem, but it was considered a much closer bout. Dos Santos had opened at 2 1/2-to-1, but the line had been closing by the time the UFC decided to pull the plug on Overeem after a drug screening revealed an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.

Mir (16-5) has beaten the odds before. He was a sizable underdog when he captured his first UFC title back in 2004, and it took him only 50 seconds to arm bar Tim Sylvia for the win. He was also the underdog when he won an interim championship in 2008 by beating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In doing so, he became the first man ever to finish the durable Brazilian.

He'll enter the fight riding a three-fight win streak, with victories over Mirko Cro Cop, Roy Nelson and Nogueira.

Dos Santos (14-1) has yet to lose in the UFC, winning all eight of his octagon bouts. The fight will mark his first title defense after taking the belt from Cain Velasquez last November.

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