Anthony Johnson looks to continue his rapid rise up the UFC light heavyweight ladder when he battles Antonio Rogerio Nogueira this weekend at UFC on FOX 12. Johnson made a highly impressive Octagon return after a two-year absence when he notched a unanimous decision win over Phil Davis at UFC 172. Meanwhile, “Lil Nog” will be looking to revitalize his injury-stalled career in San Jose in what will be his first bout since February of 2013.
Johnson turned in a tremendous performance in Baltimore against “Mr.Wonderful”. He dominated Davis with his power and athleticism and shocked most observers with his ability to easily brush off the takedown attempts of the decorated NCAA wrestler. The victory catapulted Johnson into the title conversation, and he will be looking to follow up with another strong effort.
“Rumble” is currently riding a seven-fight win streak and has 11 knockouts in his 17 career wins. Many of those KOs have been produced in devastating fashion. He seems a more mature competitor in his latest UFC tenure and appears ready to seize the moment. Johnson prides himself on his striking skills, and Nogueira is the type of opponent who should be tailor-made for producing a stand-up affair.
The Brazilian veteran has gotten lost in the light heavyweight shuffle due to his injury-related inactivity. The 38-year-old hasn’t competed since a win at UFC 156 over former titlist Rashad Evans. Since that time, a nagging back injury scuttled potential clashes for Nogueira against Mauricio Rua and Alexander Gustafsson.
He’s produced a 4-2 record inside the Octagon and is currently on a two-fight win streak. While Nogueira has superior boxing skills, he also possesses a dangerous ground game. He has 12 wins by knockout or submission and would likely seem best suited to somehow get this contest to the ground.
This shapes up as a very intriguing affair in San Jose. Johnson is seemingly on the fast-track to a future title shot if he can deliver another victory, while Nogueira will be looking to prove that despite his injury issues, he remains a top-5 light heavyweight.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports