As 2012 begins to wind down, more and more bouts are being signed to begin the new year in the UFC. Two men who will be competing once the new year begins will be Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga and "Big" Ben Rothwell.
The Brazilian media site Tatame has the details.
"Agora, o carioca encara o veterano Ben Rothwell, que vem de nocaute sobre Brendan Schaub no UFC 145." (roughly translated, 'Now, the Carpenter sees the veteran Ben Rothwell, who comes from KO about Brendan Schaub on UFC 145.')
Gonzaga had retired from MMA competition after dropping two straight fights to Junior dos Santos and Brendan Schaub in 2010. However, the itch to compete just wouldn't go away, and Gonzaga was back in action in October of 2011.
"Napao" has won two straight, with his last victory coming via tapout at UFC 142 against Ednaldo Oliveira.
Rothwell also had to deal with some struggle in his UFC career after coming over from the Affliction promotion. Rothwell has alternated his wins with losses, but looked absolutely dreadful against Mark Hunt at UFC 135.
However, Rothwell seemed to be an entirely different fighter when he faced Schaub at UFC 145. He appeared lighter on his feet and eventually got the victory via knockout in just over 60 seconds. The win also earned Rothwell Knockout of the Night honors.
An initial preview of this fight is that of a striker vs. grappler. Gonzaga is one of the better Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the heavyweight division and Rothwell is an extremely durable fighter with KO power. Rothwell seems to have rededicated himself to MMA training, which could mean Gonzaga is in for a tough task ahead of him.