Two titles changed hands at UFC 92, with Rashad Evans defeating Forrest Griffin by TKO to win the light heavyweight title and Frank Mir knocking out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to claim the UFC interim heavyweight title.
While nominally taking subordinate status to the Evans/Griffin main event the most shocking result by far was Frank Mir’s second round TKO stoppage of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nogueira was the overwhelming favorite coming into the fight and had never been stopped inside the distance during a career where hed faced the best of the best: Fedor Emelianenko (three times), Josh Barnett (twice), Semmy Schilt and Mirko Cro Cop among many others.
Mir, meanwhile, had been on the verge of a full time move to the broadcast booth before his victory over WWE superstar turned MMA fighter Brock Lesnar. The conventional wisdom concerning Mir was that hed never fully recovered from a serious motorcycle accident in 2004 and that he was essentially a shot fighter physically, emotionally and psychologically. He eventually returned to the octagon, and after two TKO losses in his first three comeback fights began to consider the possibility that he just didnt have it any more.
Always a quick witted and highly cerebral fighter, Mir had been very impressive with his commentary work on WEC broadcasts. A highly respected BJJ black belt, his knowledge of submission technique was legendary but in his broadcast role also displayed not only tremendous poise behind the mic but the sort of innate ability to see the fight several moves ahead of the competitors”the same ability displayed by the legendary Bas Rutten in his broadcasting work. When the fight against Brock Lesnar was signed, the perception among most fans was that Mir was a high profile setup for the former WWE champ”a big name on the downside of his career that would be physically overwhelmed by the strength and athleticism of his opponent. The expectation was that after a one-sided loss to Lesnar that Mir would transition into the next phase of his career as a broadcaster.
Lesnar manhandled Mir from the opening horn, taking him down and landing punishing hammer fists on the ground. That was rendered irrelevant, however, when Lesnar made a rookie mistake and dangled his leg in easy reach of the BJJ blackbelt. Even with the submission victory, however, the perception was that Mir had gotten lucky when Lesnar made a rookie mistake.
There would be no such reprieve against Nogueira, according to many pundits, as he was too experienced and too good of a BJJ player in his own right to give Mir any such opportunities for a fluke submission. Mir entered the UFC 92 fight as decided underdog, meaning that oddsmakers and the betting public agreed that he had little chance to prevail in this matchup.
The fight was certainly one-sided, but it was Mir who was in control throughout. From the opening horn he demonstrated surprisingly sharp striking skills, and knocked Nogueira down twice in the first round. Not expecting a solid standup offense, Nogueira looked downright lost in the later stages of the first round as Mir doubled and tripled up his jab and threw impressive punching combinations to go with low kicks and occasional takedown attempts.
After a low kick attempt by Nogueira, Mirs counter tagged his opponent and he followed up with a big right hook that sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas. Herb Dean jumped in to stop the fight almost immediately, awarding Mir an improbable TKO victory at 1:54 seconds of round #2.
In the light heavyweight championship match, Forrest Griffin got off to a good start in his title defense by using his superior height and reach and an impressive array of kicks to keep Rashad Evans just out of range for two full rounds. That changed dramatically in the third, as Evans ended the fight with a punishing punching attack.
The most highly anticipated match on the undercard also featured a lopsided TKO finish as Quinton Rampage Jackson dominated Wanderlei Silva in the third fight between the two men. It was Jacksons first fight since his well publicized hit and run incident in Orange County, California and he looked very sharp throughout before bringing the contest to a close with a perfectly placed left hook to the cheekbone.
Ross Everett is a widely published widely published freelance sports writer and respected authority on sports betting odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.