by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When Frank Mir defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira many people thought it was a once in a lifetime performance. Others said that Mir got lucky, while even more people said Nogueira’s staph infection prior to the fight added to his problems in the Octagon.
Mir, who has only lost one time in his last five fights, says it had nothing to do with any of those reasons. He believes he found the fatal flaw in Nogueira’s game, and that it will continue to be a problem for as long as he keeps on fighting and doesn’t correct the issue.
“Nogueira is still a tough, tough guy. Everybody kept telling me after the Randy Couture fight he showed he had an infection when he fought you, and I’m like guys I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong, but I see the same problem,” said Mir recently. “I see a guy that’s got a lot of heart, a lot of guts, but takes a lot of abuse.”
That abuse has seemingly taken its toll on Nogueira, who prior to being TKO’d by Mir, had never been finished before in his career. The Brazilian just lost his most recent bout against Cain Velasquez at UFC 110 after being blasted with a big punch from the former All-American wrestler.
When Nogueira defeated Randy Couture in 2009, the cries of “he’s back!” saturated the MMA world, but Mir disagrees with that assessment, and says “Minotauro” still has a technique issue to deal with, and it showed in his last fight.
“Even in the fight with Randy when everyone says see, yeah he’s back, he’s back! I’m like, really?” said Mir. “Randy Couture’s 45 years old and he hit him a lot. We look at the punch stats; I think Randy hit him more times than I hit him. The only difference is Randy weighs 220 pounds. Randy can cut to light heavyweight.
“Then we got to see the difference with Cain Velasquez. Cain, I haven’t seen anything in the Octagon that shows a weakness yet. His cardio is unbelievable. He obviously can hit hard. He is resilient. If he does take a shot, we see him in the Cheick Kongo fight, he’s hurt, (but) he’s able to drive forward and improvise.”
The fatal flaw Mir alludes to is Nogueira’s best weapon in years past, taking his opponent’s best punch and still moving forward to finish the fight.
“Nogueira just has kind of a style flaw right now that everybody’s seen, he doesn’t move his head. And in the heavyweight division if you don’t move your head out of the way, I mean you’ve seen Cain Velasquez was slipping punches left and right, and moving his head. That’s kind of how you have to fight nowadays,” said Mir. “With these four-ounce gloves, I’m a firm believer if you just want to sit there and ‘I’ll take one, you take one,’ you better hope the guy you’re fighting doesn’t hit very hard.”
There has been no timetable set for Nogueira’s return to action, but the Brazilian will be training his brother Rogerio for an upcoming fight, and also works with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva who fights in Abu Dhabi next month.