UFC: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Eyes Roy Nelson Fight In Octagon Return

By Rick LaFitte
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Tom Szczerbowski USA TODAY Sports

UFC heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is looking to make his return to the Octagon in April of 2014 and has designs on a possible opponent. “Big Nog” is hoping to make his return against no. 10 ranked heavyweight Roy Nelson.

The fight would have the potential for fireworks as both fighters take pride in their striking game. Nogueira has unfortunately been plagued by injuries during his UFC tenure. He’s fought just nine times since joining the organization in 2007 and has amassed a record of 5-4 in the Octagon. Nogueira is looking to return to full-time training in January after his latest injury setback.

The former UFC interim heavyweight champion has struggled lately, losing two of his last three fights by submission. Those defeats were the only two times in Nogueira’s career that he has been submitted. He was forced to verbally tap in round two of his last fight in Brazil against top contender Fabricio Werdum. He sustained extensive ligament damage in that loss and underwent surgery as a result. The pair had coached TUF Brazil Season 2.

He also suffered a gruesome loss to Frank Mir at UFC 140 when he had his arm broken by a kimura in the opening round. The only win for Nogueira in his last three bouts was an armbar finish of Dave Herman. Nogueira’s strength has traditionally been his submission game as he has recorded 21 finishes. He also has 3 KOs to his credit.

Like Nogueira, Nelson is definitely in need of a win as well. “Big Country” has dropped back-to-back decision losses against Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. They were both fights where Nelson was simply outworked by his opponent, and he was unable to land his trademark right hand. Nelson has one-punch knockout power against any fighter, but his accuracy and conditioning have been left wanting in those performances.

He’s compiled a 6-5 career mark in his Octagon career, which began as part of Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. All six of those victories have been by knockout and he’s netted four Knockout of the Night bonuses. It’ll be interesting to see if this is a fight that UFC matchmakers are able to put together, as it’s a bout that would definitely shape up as a crossroads affair for both competitors.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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