UFC 140 Fight Card Primer: Frank Mir vs. Minotauro Nogueira

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Heavyweight opponents Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira face off after weighing in during the UFC 140 Official Weigh-in at the Air Canada Centre on December 9, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

At UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-6-1, 1 NC; 4-2 UFC) will face Frank Mir (15-5; 13-5 UFC). This Heavyweight fight is the semi-main event of the evening. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings currently has Minotauro as the #10 Heavyweight in the world and Mir above him at #6. The PPV card begins Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

This match is all about one thing - the rematch. Nogueira and Mir first met 3 years ago at UFC 92 after a coaching stint on season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. At the time, Big Nog was the interim UFC Heavyweight champion and the heavy favorite, as Mir was still somewhat recovering from his lengthy absence. But Mir pulled off the huge upset, using a vastly improved stand-up game to TKO Nogueira in the 2nd round. Post-fight, it was revealed that Nogueira had been very ill from a serious staph infection. Minotauro fans said this invalidated Mir's win. Mir fans (and Mir himself) say he won already and has nothing to prove in the rematch.

How do these two stack up?

Mir: 32 years old | 6'3" | 79" reach
Nogueira: 35 years old | 6'3" | 77" reach

What have these two done recently?

Mir: W - Roy Nelson (UD) | W - Mirko Filipovic (KO) | L - Shane Carwin (KO)
Nogueira: W - Brendan Schaub (KO) | L - Cain Velasquez (KO) | W - Randy Couture (UD)

How did these two get here?

Nogueira was, at one time, one of the definitive best Heavyweight fighters in the world. When Pride folded, he came to the UFC, and was 2-0 in the Octagon when he first met Mir. Since that loss he's gone 2-1, fighting very infrequently. There has been talk of him retiring since about 2006, and that talk heated up earlier this year. But at UFC 134, in front of a hometown Brazilian crowd, he KO'd Brendan Schaub to show that there is still life in the career of this beloved veteran. Big Nog is one of the most resilient, but abused, fighters we have ever seen. How much does he have left to give?

Frank Mir is a former UFC Heavyweight champion, who had the belt taken away when a motorcycle accident nearly ended his career. It looked like he would never recover from that, but the win over Minotauro showed that he was indeed back. He's 3-2 since then, and has been increasingly using his improved striking instead of his traditionally strong jiu jitsu game. Mir desperately wants to regain the title he never rightfully lost, and his quest back towards the top has been fascinating to watch.

Why should you care?

I found the first fight to be an intriguing strategic encounter, and I expect the same here. These are two absolute pros and veterans, who are coming in with a plan. It will be interesting to see how the fight goes, and who can come in and execute the better plan. Plus, it's Big Nog, and who knows how many more times you're going to get to see him fight?

More UFC 140 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.


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