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UFC 140 preview: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira looks to avenge earlier defeat to Frank Mir

UFC heavyweight Frank Mir

The UFC 140 co-main event will feature a rematch between former champions Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir. The two squared off almost three years ago at UFC 92 with Mir becoming the first fighter ever to finish Nogueira via TKO. However, news came out afterwards that Nogueira was suffering from a staph infection and wasn’t anywhere near 100% for the fight. Will the second time be any different?  Let’s get to it.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira comes into this fight with an amazing record of (33-6-1, 1NC) with 20 wins via submission and three via TKO/KO. Nogueira was last seen in action at UFC 134 as he pulled off the huge upset knockout over TUF 10 finalist Brendan Schaub. Nogueira was coming off the longest layoff of his storied career which included hip surgery in which he had to doing a considerable amount of rehab. Nogueira has solid boxing skills, a great ground game, and used to have the ability to take massive amounts of punishment but those days have passed him by.

Frank Mir comes into this fight with a career record of (15-5) with eight wins via submission and three via TKO/KO. Mir was last seen in action winning an ugly unanimous decision over TUF 10 winner Roy Nelson in May of this year. Mir was won two fights in a row since getting dismantled against Shane Carwin last year and looks to put himself back into title contention with a win over Nogueira. Mir has solid striking with power, a good ground game, but does have a questionable gas tank at times.

Bet on Fighting has Mir as the betting favorite at (-260) and Nogueira as the underdog at (+210).

I would have to agree with those odds. If Nogueira is healthy he should still be the underdog in this fight. Mir will be difficult to knockout, and Nogueira will likely have a hard time getting this fight to the ground where Mir is well versed as well. If Mir comes into this fight out of shape though, I think Nogueira as a fair chance of pulling the upset provided his chin doesn’t fail him early on.

This is a pretty difficult fight to predict because we don’t know exactly which Nogueira will show up. Against Schaub he did seem like his movement was a bit better, he had better head movement, and he ate a huge uppercut from Schaub without even taking a step back. Mir had a great deal of success with a three strike combo with his hands in the first fight. He landed it at will and dropped Nogueira once or twice before finishing him in the second round. Nogueira had zero head movement and did a poor job of creating angles which allowed Mir to come forward with punches. I’m sure Mir thinks he has the striking advantage again, and will look to keep the fight standing and try to test Nogueira’s chin. That’s his easiest path to victory as there’s no sense in taking this fight to the ground where Nogueira could possibly fair better.

Nogueira needs to simply not be a stationary target by circling out and creating angles to counter and attack when Mir comes forward with punches. If Mir doesn’t put Nogueira away early that certainly bodes well for Nogueira’s chances of getting to Mir later in this fight. A tired Mir could get outstruck, get taken down, and possibly submitted by a Nogueira that has top position on the ground.

I think this fight will go one of two ways. Mir will either knock Nogueira out early, or Nogueira will make a fight out of it and possibly win a decision over a fading Mir.

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