Brock Lesnar appeared in three different versions on Saturday night: Nervous, explosive, and inexperienced. But that is what match-ups are all about, it is what match-ups are supposed to do -- create mismatches. And while this wasn't exactly BJ Penn tapping out a volleyball coach, make no mistake about it: This was a mismatch.
It should have been. Frank Mir was not supposed to find a moment in the fight to swing his hips out from underneath big and burly Lesnar to find an angle for a submission attempt. Heck, no. He was supposed to get taken to his back and stuck there while Lesnar pounded his face into meatloaf on the way to a sloppy stoppage victory.
I knew that Mir had a chance, but that it was going to be dicey, and if there were anyway Mir was going to come out of it victorious, it would have to have been from his back. Not rocket science. However, although Lesnar lost to Mir in pretty much the only way I could've pictured it, he still looked pretty impressive. His inexperience showed as he caught Mir's leg to take him down (is it 1997 all over again?), and obviously by posturing up a little too much prior to the kneebar. But he moved quickly, decisively, and besides the gaff he committed with the rabbit punching, appeared on all levels to be a legitimate MMA fighter.
But the big guy is in a difficult spot. The real only way to grow this man into a star (or champion, depending on what you deem important), he needs more ring time and less show time. It is not likely that Dana White is going to stick him in a dark match against some ham-and-egger to build up some Lesnar capital. Instead, White will try to push him against some medium-level heavies and cross his fingers that Lesnar pulls off a couple of wins in a row. Either way, there'll be more than enough Brock to go around.
Mir made himself a part of the argument again. He may need a little more time, a little more confidence, and to look a bit tighter physically. But either way, Mir seems poised for what could be a rebirth for his career. Mir is an interesting factor in the heavyweight division. Maybe Vera-Mir 2 is not a bad idea. But who knows? Maybe Mir-Nogueira is just as likely, which really isn't all that bad of a thought to creep in. Right now, I suppose it doesn't entirely matter. For the first time in a long time, Frank Mir got to rest contently and proudly as the late night slumber consumed the Vegas air, visions of a better time not seeming so long ago anymore, and perhaps even more, not that far away. All's a fighter wants is a chance. Mir's working on his second, and so far, so good.