|Frank Mir (top) puts a hold on Minotauro Nogueira during UFC 140 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont., Dec. 10, 2011. (STAN BEHAL/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Frank Mir proved the first time wasn’t a fluke, as he snapped Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira’s arm with a kimura in the first round of the UFC 140 co-main event Saturday.
Though the bout was shorter this time around, Nogueira looked much better than their first encounter. At one point, the former PRIDE heavyweight champion even came close to putting Mir away with punches.
But Mir capitalized on an error Nogueira made while attempting to secure back control and locked in the submission hold. Nogueira tried to defend, forcing a brief scramble, but Mir landed on top and cranked the submission. Nogueira’s arm visibly popped and referee Herb Dean called the bout, awarding a TKO to Mir.
Mir admitted it was the most satisfying win of his career.
“Yeah, I’m the first person to knock him out and (practically) submit him,” Mir said.
Mir admitted he was in serious trouble when Nogueira was unloading with punches.
“I was stunned,” Mir said, “I really wanted to wait the first three or four minutes to see what he did differently, but he caught me.”
Despite the wild scramble over the submission, Mir said he remained calm and waited for his moment to attack. With nowhere to go, Nogueira opted not to submit, pretty much giving Mir permission to break his arm.
“I was trying to see what he was doing differently,” Mir continued. “Patience was the key. My game plan was to wait for things to happen. In the past I’d rush into things. My goal was also to submit him. I’m really glad the fight ended the way it did.
“I hope that Minotauro is okay. I idolize him and I’m curious to see what he has to say after. When you are as big as we are, things are going to happen.”
This isn’t the first time Mir has broken an opponent’s arm. He first won the UFC heavyweight title with a vicious armbar on Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 in 2004.
Mir and Nogueira first locked horns at UFC 92 three years ago. At the time, Nogueira held the UFC interim heavyweight championship and had never been finished in over 30 professional fights. But Mir dismantled him with a barrage of punches, handing the PRIDE legend the first TKO loss of his career.
But soon after the fight, Nogueira revealed he had been hospitalized for five days with a serious staph infection. Critics labelled Mir lucky and what should have been the biggest achievement of his career was now somewhat hollow.
Mir responded by claiming Nogueira was simply making excuses, but fans were still left questioning how things would have turned out had Nogueira been healthy.
The answer of course is the same. Mir was left standing with his arm raised, while Nogueira is left hurt on the mat.
But this time there are no excuses. Nogueira was healthy going into the fight and looked much sharper this time around. Mir simply remains his Kryptonite. Both are Brazilian jiu jitsu black belts with effective striking, but Mir is simply the bigger, stronger man. The closer the skill sets, the more size makes a difference and Mir proved that.
With the win, Mir has now won his last three fights, having taken a decision over Roy Nelson and knocked out Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic. Since the UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is recovering from knee surgery, Mir could find himself fighting the winner of the Dec. 30 tilt between Alistair Overeem and Brock Lesnar.
The loss bumps Nogueira’s UFC record to 4-3.