It's not every UFC, fortunately, that someone gets their arm broken. Normally fighters tap well before their bones are put in danger. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is not a normal fighter and neither is Frank Mir. Nogueira's legend rests on his incredible ability to absorb punishment before getting the win, usually via a last-minute submission. Mir's the only heavyweight whose submission resume even compares to Nogueira -- with one caveat, he's known for breaking bones in the Octagon.
Their karmas collided in an odd reversal at UFC 140 when Nogueira used his boxing advantage to beat up Mir on the feet before ultimately falling to a bone-breaking submission from Mir. Nogueira fans will be able to take some satisfaction from the Brazilian's clear, if not emphatic, advantage on the feet in this fight. Big Nog has long claimed that only a bad staph infection and an unrepaired hip joint in need of surgery allowed Mir to beat him up on the feet in their first bout at UFC 92 in 2008. Of course, Nogueira partisans will have a much harder time swallowing this loss since the great Big Nog just plain got himself out-grappled.
Bloody Elbow's Ben Thapa does some grappling himself and broke down exactly how Mir got Nog into such a bad spot. We'll skip ahead to the money shot, Mir has escaped an ill-advised guillotine choke attempt by Nog and gotten into side control:
Thapa: "Once in side control, Mir has the correct angles to get Big Nog's arm into the right positions. He has his left hand pinning Nogueira's right wrist to the ground and his right hand snaking underneath Big Nog's upper arm and locked onto his own left wrist. This is the classic figure four double wristlock that judokas call the reverse ude garami and BJJ players the "kimura". The submission is essentially set now. Mir steps over the head - or at least tries to - and smashes his chest downwards as Nog looks like he knows exactly what is coming and wants no part of it. At this point, Frank's massive static strength is starting to take over. Big Nog's right arm is being dragged into the classic right angle required for the reverse ude garami. The pressure of Mir's bodyweight is considerable, yet the location of his body allows Nogueira to upend him in an attempt to alleviate the increasing torque on the arm. Big Nog wants to straighten that arm out and shake loose from the double wristlocks grips, but it does not work."
Thapa: "Mir keeps his grips tightly secured and continues to extend the arm behind Nogueira's back. Even when Big Nog is briefly on top, the torque of the kimura is sufficient that the only thing Big Nog can do to not tap out right there and then is to continue rolling and hope something shakes loose. No such luck happened. Once atop Big Nog again, Mir drags the right wrist along the ground and pulls the entire arm towards him. Within a second, that arm is bending in a way that the human body cannot tolerate and SNAP!"
There you have it. The painful details of an all-too-painful submission.Ben breaks the sequence down in full at Bloody Elbow.
In the video below, Ryron and Rener Gracie analyze Mir's armlock in detail: