Although short, this fight lived up to the hype. Questions about Lesnar’s legitimacy were answered and Mir proved he had heart and exhibited flawless jiu-jitsu.
Lesnar was overwhelming; his sheer strength will be unrivaled in all of MMA. He was able to instantly gain a takedown while making it look effortless. The ground-n-pound Lesnar administered was vicious and relentless. Even when striking, Lesnar landed good looking jabs and seemed sharper on his feet than Mir. One thing is certain, Lesnar is the real deal. As he continues to progress, I foresee him becoming a legitimate force in the division.
Despite the damage he took, Mir was able to survive and transitioned from an arm bar attempt into a perfect knee bar. There is no question Mir is phenomenal on the ground but once again, his striking looked suspect. He always seems to be flatfooted and waits to attack, letting his opponent dictate the striking pace. Mir doesn’t have the hand speed to be an effective counter puncher so he needs to stick with his leg kicks, jab, and ground game.
With his big win, Mir propels himself back into title contention and sets up potential fights with Nogiera, Fabricio Werdrum, or even a rematch with Tim Sylvia. He is an exciting fighter who the crowd loves to get behind and has the natural skills to be great. Whether he will continue his winning ways remains to be seen but his quest to regain the title will be important to the development of the heavyweight division.
Tim Sylvia vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogiera
Throughout his career Nogiera has been involved in some brutal wars. His fight with Sylvia was no different and did not disappoint. Like so many of his other fights, Nogiera was hurt badly and often yet found a way to persevere. Sylvia, as always, was able to establish control by keeping a distance. He frequently landed his straight jab and overhand right. At one point in the first round, Nogiera was hit with an enormous two punch combination that floored him. But as he has so many other times in his career, Nogiera found a way to survive.
The warrior moniker that Nogiera has established was once again exhibited. He got hit often and never stopped coming, never stopped fighting, never stopped attempting to take the bigger and stronger man to the ground. And in the end, his superior jiu-jitsu was able to gain him the victory and the title.
Nogiera did not look overwhelmingly impressive in his victory. When Randy Couture fought Sylvia he used constant head movement, inside leg kicks, and jabs to keep Sylvia off balanced and uncomfortable. Nogiera used his jab and an occasional leg kick but never packaged them together as Couture had. Nogiera rarely moved his head and never tried to trick Sylvia as Couture did, with a fake kick into an overhand right. Clearly Nogiera realized his strength on the ground but never instilled an effective strategy to utilize that advantage. None the less, Nogiera’s gritty performance will be remembered as a fantastic come from behind win.
Although losing, Sylvia performed admirably. For much of the fight, Sylvia demonstrated exceptional takedown defense. He stuffed several attempts and also spread himself against the cage to avoid another. His striking was crisp; he landed his monster right hand almost at will. Even his cardio looked to be in solid condition. Everything seemed to be going in Sylvia’s favor, but he was simply unable to finish the fight.
Despite heavy criticism over the years, Tim Sylvia proved through defeat that he is still an elite fighter; one of the best heavyweights in the world. The killer instinct that critics questioned whether Sylvia had, was what almost won him the fight, it just wasn’t enough.
- Tim Sylvia has one more fight left on his UFC contract. Although he has stated that he’d like to remain with the company, Sylvia has mentioned his displeasure with fighter salaries like Brock Lesnars’ being higher than his. Two giants like Sylvia and Lesnar would make for a great fight. Still, Sylvia’s manager has ties to the new M1 organization, which Fedor Emelianenko is a part of and could be his next destination.
- On the upcoming UFC 82 card, former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will be fighting Jake O’Brien, on the untelevised portion of the event. This is Arlovski’s last fight on his contract and there have been rumblings of his departure from the UFC afterwards. None the less, this is a former main-event fighter who often times been a part of exciting bouts. O’Brien is 3-0 in the UFC and this match has major implications for the division. It is inexcusable that the UFC will not be televising this match.
- The upcoming UFC fight night in Colorado has an impressive lineup of potential bouts. The problem is only four out of these ten matches will be aired. Fights like lightweights Frankie Edgar versus Gray Maynard, Din Thomas versus Josh Neer and several others will not be shown. For such a great card it is unfortunate that fans will not get to see some major fights.
- For fans who wished to see the stars in Pride compete against the UFC’s best, the rumored upcoming main event for UFC 85 in London, between Mauricio Shogun Rua and Chuck Liddell is a dream come true. Although Rua is coming off a tough loss to Forrest Griffin he is frequently regarded as one of the best fighters in the world. He is a dynamic striker who utilizes the Muay Thai clinch to perfection and holds a brutal win over current UFC champion Quinton Jackson. This fight should be a war and will have possible number-one contender status.