Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Take the word “former” away from Frank Mir’s name, as the Las Vegas native completed an amazing career comeback Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by dominating and stopping Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the second round to regain a portion of the UFC heavyweight title he never lost in the Octagon.
By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, December 27 – Take the word “former” away from Frank Mir’s name, as the Las Vegas native completed an amazing career comeback Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena by dominating and stopping Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the second round to regain a portion of the UFC heavyweight title he never lost in the Octagon.
“I faced such demons after my wreck,” said an emotional Mir, who came back from a devastating motorcycle wreck in 2004 that broke his leg in two places and forced him to the sidelines for almost two years, getting his title stripped in the process. “To come back from that, I’m proof you can do things. I didn’t even think I could beat Nogueira.”
But he did, and in addition to winning the interim UFC heavyweight title, he became the first fighter to finish Nogueira, the former PRIDE heavyweight champion and a future Hall of Famer.
Mir was busy with his kicks to start the fight, and he tossed in a jarring right uppercut for good measure, eventually taking the fight to the mat. After some ground strikes, Mir even chose to let the fight go back to the feet, so confident was he in his striking. Once standing, Mir continued to score effectively, eventually dropping Nogueira with a straight left with under two minutes left. Again, Mir followed up briefly before stepping back and standing the fight up again. By the closing moments of the round, Mir was loose and looking like he was having fun as he put Nogueira down just as the round ended.
Needing to get back in the fight, Nogueira came out aggressively in the second, only to continue getting tagged by Mir. And less than two minutes into the round, lowered the boom with two left hooks to the jaw that put the Brazilian legend on the mat again. A follow up barrage was a mere formality, as referee Herb Dean rescued Nogueira from further punishment at 1:54 of round two.
Now it’s on to the biggest rematch of 2009, a unification battle between Mir and the man he submitted in February of 2008, current UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
With the win, Mir ups his record to 12-3; the 32-year old Nogueira falls to 31-5-1, 1 NC. The two combatants recently competed against each other as coaches on season eight of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.