Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira fell victim to one of the most brutal submissions ever seen in the Octagon against Frank Mir earlier this month, but it’s a fight he could see easily have won.
‘Big Nog’ had Mir on the verge of unconciousness after rocking him early in the fight and then unloading a barrage of ground and pound strikes on the mat.
The Brazilian’s decision to then attempt to finish him by submission rather than continue to finish him with punches surprised many and proved to be his downfall as Mir escaped and then proceeded to lock on the fight-ending kimura that broke Nogueira’s humerus bone.
Reflecting on his performance with TATAME after having surgery to repair his arm the 34 year-old reveals that it was a referee warning that lead to his decision to switch tactics.
“Last Saturday I fought and lost via submission for the first time in my career, it was a bad feeling, but it’s part of the sport. Everything that happens in a fight is quick and the fighter acts most based on his instincts and reflexes than on his mind. I knew I made a mistake as I tried to submit on a fight where I could have won by KO. But when Frank Mir was practically knocked out I heard the judge as me to stop punching him at the neck and that exactly when I tried to choke him. Mir put himself together and must be congratulated for submitting me. I checked the videos and I wasn’t hitting him on the neck, but on Mir’s side of the head, which is allowed.”
I haven’t gone back to watch the fight, but I vaguely recall the referee Herb Dean giving him that warning. I don’t think Dean was claiming that Nogueira was striking him illegaly though, he was just cautioning him to pick his shots carefully.
I can see how the call could be misinterpreted though so it’s unfortunate that Nogueira misunderstood.
In the end I don’t think it takes away from the remarkable nature of Mir’s comeback though. He was badly hurt yet he still had the presence of mind to escape the revered BJJ practitioner’s guillotine attempt, advance to a superior position and then lock in a submission of his own – impressive stuff.