Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira: 31 - 4 - 1 (Win - Loss - Draw) ( 1 NC )
Frank Mir: 11 - 3 - 0 ( Win - Loss - Draw )
On December 27th the UFC will host their end of the year card, "The Ultimate 2008". On this card, the Interim-Heavyweight Championship and/or heavyweight No. 1 contender will be decided when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir do battle.
Not the two men, the thousands in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Nevada nor the millions watching on PPV will be at all surprised when this fight hits the mat.
Together these titans have a total of 51 fights and together a total of 27 submission victories. Neither of them have been submitted before in Mixed Martial Arts combat. Could we see one of the UFC's best Brazilian Jui-Jitsu practitioners tap out for the first time?
When discussing Nogueira's career it's impossible not to use the word experience. This warrior has been a part of the sport MMA since '99 and has successfully placed himself atop the heavy weight division. He's defeated names like, Mark Coleman, Heath Herring twice, Dan Henderson, Mirko "Cro Cop", Josh Barnett, and Tim Sylvia.
His four losses all came by decision, two of them by split decision to Josh Barnett and Dan Henderson, not exactly slackers. The other two decision losses came from the hand of Fedor Emelianenko, arguably the best heavyweight to date.
When Frank Mir's name is brought up around the water cooler, generally one word comes immediatly to mind. Power. This man has seven submission victories in his MMA career and two of those wins came due to broken bones. Roberto Traven and Tim Sylvia both felt the wrath of Mir's power, neither man could have drank enough milk in a lifetime to stop the armbars of Mir.
Mir may not have the long list of victories that Nog has but this could be blamed on a motorcycle accident he suffered in mid-late '04. The accident halted his training and his progress as a UFC heavy weight. Though he was slow to gain ground on the division it seems he's back and ready to put whoever he fights to the test.
Once on the ground I can say with confidence this fight will not be a chess match. Though often two great jui-jitsu fighters will methodically work away at their opponent, setting up submissions, sweeps, and strikes, I feel that the explosive nature of Mir will force Nog to try and make it a quick night.
Both fighters will probably look for whatever submission they lock onto first. Mir an arm lock, ankle lock, maybe knee bar. Nog will probably work for a guillotine choke off a Mir take down, a triangle off an up kick from guard, or maybe an armbar transition from a triangle.
The real fireworks will be the stand up action. There will be plenty. Trust me.
Both fighters are very aware of the others abilities on the ground. One thing that Brazilian Jui-Jitsu will do is make you respect others talents. You won't see a lot of shooting unless at the very begining of a round or during some intense stand up, where one fighter leaves himself open. Neither man will want to end up in guard for very long so expect well planned take downs that result in side control, or half guard at the least.
Predicting this is very difficult because either man can end the night as quickly as Joe Rogan can get annoying. I'll take a shot and say Nogueira, by armbar in the second.