Playing With Fire: Celebrating The Fighters That Go For It (Part 2) In today’s MMA, fighters are often so closely matched in skill that the winner is simply decided by strategy. The athletes speak of identifying and exploiting their opponent’s weaknesses, emphasizing intelligence and a smooth, safe win. But some fighters are different. Some fighters fight to make statements. Instead of avoiding the bear trap, some fighters jump right in and smash it to pieces. The purpose of this series is to celebrate those fighters. They engage their opponents in their strongest areas, risking a rough win or even a loss to stand out in a crowded sport. Or maybe because that’s just the way they are. Last time, we looked back on a couple of gusty performances from Nick Diaz and Alan Belcher. For this installment, we start a few pounds north: the heavyweights. Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – December 10, 2011 – UFC 140 Photo via Yahoo.com Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira have a violent history, to say the least. Long considered among the best submission-based heavyweights in MMA, these two former champions have competed twice in the UFC. Each time, jaws dropped. The first matchup was full of drama and controversy. Mir became the first man to ever stop the Brazilian legend at UFC 92, battering him with punching combinations throughout the contest before stopping him in the second. Many blamed “Big Nog’s” lethargic performance on a staph infection suffered before the bout, while others credited Mir for improved accuracy and power on the feet. Either way, Nogueira was granted a rematch, which eventually came at UFC 140, three years later. Nogueira started off strong. In fact, he beat Mir exactly where he had fallen short before: the standup game. His strikes were crisp and strong, both in close and at range, and he was beating Mir to the punch every time. He knocked Frank to the ground and pounded away, giving some validity to those who claimed he wasn’t his real self at UFC 92. This was the real Nogueira. But then he made a big, big mistake. With a TKO finish within grasp, Nog abandoned striking in favor of a submission finish, snatching onto a guillotine and rolling into top position. He was the better grappler overall, right? But Mir recovered, cleared the cobwebs, and eventually reversed into side control, latching onto a kimura. Moments later, you could almost hear Nogueira’s humerus snap. Mir got up and celebrated with his team while Nogueira lay motionless, staring at his injured arm. Did that really just happen? Submission of the night? No. Submission of the century. Some of the most thrilling three minutes and thirty-eight seconds of fighting you’ll ever see. Read the rest (Couture vs Liddell I) here: http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2013/9/1...elebrating-the-fighters-that-go-for-it-part-2 Read part 1 here: http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2013/9/1...ers-that-go-for-it-volume-1#main_comment_form Thanks for reading!