UFC 140 delivered from top to bottom with an abundance of exciting finishes, historical victories and decisive implications for some of the sport’s biggest names. Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua’s gritty five-round war at UFC 139 seems like a distant memory quickly fading away into the company’s rich archives due to the memorable performances put on by guys from the prelims up to the main event at UFC 140.
One of those guys propelled his status and star power into the stratosphere by beating a legend at his own game. If Frank Mir was invisible to some fans before UFC 140, he is definitely not now. Everybody watching last night’s co-main event really “saw” Frank Mir do what made him a heavyweight star to begin with: impose powerfully technical Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
During a rough start in the open minutes of the first round, Mir looked like he was fighting himself from the first fight with Nogueira. His striking was too slow, hands too low and he paid for it after getting wobbled and almost finished by Nogueira’s quicker more accurate punches.
The rest is history. An overzealous Nogueira decided to trade in his ground and pound for a guillotine attempt, which apparently awoken the inner “Jits” beast everybody knew was lurking in Mir’s muscular body.
It took a matter of seconds for that beast to start breathing fire. Mir’s instinct, technique and strength took the wheel from there and the result was an arm-breaking kimura on a man who had never been submitted in his long standing career.
Like myself, I’m sure fans “see” Frank Mir in a whole new light after his second victory over Nogueira. His personality may be an acquired tasted, but his submission skills are on a whole another level than anybody competing at heavyweight.
Is this the next coming of a former champion? Let’s quickly dissect what could be the building blocks of a revelation in the making, a rejuvenation of a fighter who was on pace to being a popular journeyman after lackluster victories over Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro-Cop and devastating losses to Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin.
If the Frank Mir that showed up against Nogueira last night is here to stay—the powerful submission expert with improved striking—we will be on the verge of a new contention run.