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UFC 92 Preview: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir

There’s quite the dichotomy when it comes to Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. From everyone I’ve spoken to, Mir did not have a great training camp leading up to this fight. He battled several injuries, most notably a back problem.

At one point in November, a source even contacted FiveOuncesOfPain.com to raise questions whether the fight was going to remain on the card. While Mir is a former heavyweight champion, has great jiu-jitsu, and deserves respect as a fighter, the truth of the matter is that he’s not known for having the best work ethic in the gym.

On the other hand, you have Nogueira, one of the most diligent fighters out there when it comes to preparing for a fight. The one thing that I will always remember about Nogueira is this past July when I was in Stockton to cover EliteXC’sUnfinished Business.”

I had covered the post-fight press conference and then hung around the arena to speak with some people and by the time I got back to my hotel, it was pretty late. There was a bunch of people at the arena that hung around for the “official” after-party and there were also a bunch of people at the hotel bar. While the fighters and industry people were partaking in the famed “MMA lifestyle,” I saw Nogueira and his brother whiz by me in the hotel lobby. Were they running off to go to a party? No. They were in full workout gear and were working on their conditioning… at 1:30 in the morning!!!

I had a chance to ask Nogueira about that several months later and I don’t think he understood why I felt like it was such a big deal. He simply said that his brother had a fight coming up and that it was simply the time they had available to get their conditioning in.

Mir has gotten by all these years on pure talent. I think he’s a better athlete then he’s given credit for and he’s just amazingly good at jiu-jitsu for a man of his size. The problem is, he’ll be meeting his match on the ground in this fight as Nogueira will be able to neutralize his submission game. If the fight goes to the floor – and you know it will at some point – I see it being a stalemate unless the reason for the fight going to the mat was because someone got clocked and fell down.

When it comes to the standup, there is just no comparison. Nogueira doesn’t have great Muay Thai and isn’t the most diverse striker in the world, but his boxing is solid after having spent so much time working with the Cuban national boxing team in the past. Mir might be able to surprise us all in the striking aspect of the fight if he can control the distance and try to hurt Nogueira with some kicks. However, if he comes inside and tries to bang with Nogueira, it will be a major mistake because his hands simply don’t compare.

But it all comes back to preparation. This is a five round fight and Mir is not known for his cardio. Nogueira is going to have more stamina but he’s also shown us countless times that few in the fight game can absorb as much punishment as he can. Let’s say that Mir goes on the offensive and causes damage to Nogueira, I still have the question of whether that will actually work to Nogueira’s advantage? While Nogueira absorbs his beating, Mir will wear himself out and Nogueira will be sitting pretty once he makes his recovery.

I can’t stress enough the importance that this is a five round fight. Mir is going to have a tough time finishing Nogueira and the longer the fight goes on, the more of an advantage that Minotauro will have. I see Nogueira outlasting Mir and TKO’ing a spent opponent somewhere in the fourth round.

13 COMMENTS
  • Voridor says:

    Good article Sam. This is basically the best way to explain what kind of Men are going to be fighting. The one who trains and hardest, and the other who doesn’t. Everyone I’ve been talking to in MN wants Nog to take the victory. Mir didn’t look great in the Ultimate Fighter in my opinion.

  • mike wolfe says:

    The biggest factor in this fight is ‘Nog’s ability to absorb punishment, survive, and retaliate. Conditioning helps, but in his case it’s a God-given gift, imo. If MIr can’t catch him early with a submission, ‘Nog will grind him down and wear him out.

  • CubanLinx says:

    i don’t how bad Mir’s training actually is because i was reading Sherdog’s Pros Picks this morning, and Mike Dolce was saying how he recently saw Mir at Striking Unlimited and looked to be in the best shape of his career.

  • JOe K. says:

    After seeing the Ultimate Fighter I am not a huge fan or Mir. I used to like him but his personality seemed arrogant.

    He is an eloquent speaker and a good announcer though.

    Nog will probably win. He has never been finished, he can take a beating and he has many notable wins.

    Plus, after the Ultimate Fighter, I like him even more. A good person indeed.

  • Makea says:

    Watching Barnett neutralize Nog’s submission game (and vice-versa) during their last two fights was outstanding.

    Hopefully Mir will put on a similar show.

  • Davey D says:

    I am picking Minotauro to win this fight. I think he has too many weapon’s and Frank will end up getting finished inside of 5 round’s. A victory for Nogueira via KO or SUB would be excellent. Thus, setting up an event between Lesnar and ARMN.

    I truly believe in my heart that we will get to see Fedor vs. Nogueira 4 in the Octagon someday. What if Nogueira defeated Emelianenko in the UFC? That would be fireworks!

    Merry Christmas to everyone. Cheers!!!

  • screwface says:

    this may be the first time i agree with you on a fight pick and analysis :p i think your spot on, this will be a battle of stamina, so mir needs to spend his load quick and hope for an early ko but i just dont see that happening. nog will ‘rope-a-dope’ mir and sub him in a later round. ive been shocked b4 but if i was a betting man *cough* my money is on nog for the late sub.

  • Paytience says:

    Well you can’t really compare Barnett neutralizing Nog in this fight.
    Barnett is one of the few fighters who are a LOT bigger then Nogueria.
    That’s what helped Him do that. If Mir plans on doing that, it has to
    based on his technical skill.

    Thing is, Mir’s sub skills are HIGHLY offensive. Very similar to Nogueria,
    except that not as dynamic. Whether or not he can maintain that level of Jits
    when the tables are turned and He’s forced to defend against another master
    submission guy remains to be seen.

  • JJ Docker says:

    Mir won’t even be able to crawl across the ring for the fourth round. He’ll be gassed by 2 and finished in 3.

  • Mike Chance says:

    Frank Mir, Congrats all hats off for you tonight from Salt Lake City Utah Watchers, your humble and its always great to watch you commentate the UFC Battles.

    Your a winner both in and out of the ring, Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

    Mike Chance SLC

  • Mike Chance says:

    Forrest prediction, if he looses in the ring he wins outside the ring thats the way I see it.

    Always great to see Forrest in action a true UFC Legend and the day he retires will be a sad day for us all.

    Forrest Griffin – I see you as the undisputed winner no matter what happens in the cage.

    Mike Chance SLC UT

  • Mike Chance says:

    P.S Forrest Griffin Forgot to mention I see you as the winner in the cage as well tonight, turning out Evans light switch before his bedtime story….

    Mike Chance SLC UT

  • GIBOR says:

    Well, Mir won, but it was surprise 4 me too !
    i like the guy,dont think he is stuck up, just a regular guy…

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