TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 10: (R-L) Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira lands an elbow against Frank Mir during the UFC 140 event at Air Canada Centre on December 10, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Nick Laham/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Many fans (myself included) were frustrated with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140 or giving up an an almost sure TKO stoppage in an attempt to drop down and submit Frank Mir with a guillotine choke. It was clearly the moment that cost Nogueira the victory and now he has talked to Tatame to explain his thinking.
From the article:
"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"
It's an issue that fighters deal with often. Referees are watching and waiting to jump in if repeated blows to the back of the head are utilized but it's hard to finish an opponent at times when they bury their head between their arms and push their face into the mat as it leaves very little "legal area" to strike. This is a good reason why knees to the body need to become more popular in situations where your opponent is turtled and covering up as they open up the head.