Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
I wonder how Lil Nog must have felt in the co-main event slot underneath Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson. After all, the former PRIDE star has previously defeated both men. Plus, the February win over Evans sees the Brazilian ranked higher than he has ever been.
Originally, "Minotoro" Nogueira was scheduled to meet Shogun Rua at UFC 161. It wasn't until his injury that the notion of Rua vs. Sonnen was on anyone's mind.
With Rua now meeting Sonnen, this rematch between PRIDE stars falls to the wayside. That in itself is a shame, because their fighting styles would have led to an enjoyable slugfest between tremendously dangerous strikers.
No word has come down regarding the severity of Nogueira's back injury. Assuming that he isn't on the disabled list for too long, this matchup could have been rebooked for early fall. With Shogun now competing in mid-August, it is highly unlikely that Rua vs. Lil Nog II could take place in 2013.
Update: There are talks that Shogun could coach The Ultimate Fighter: Brasil 3 opposite Nogueira. However, that fight couldn't take place until 2014, and wouldn't make any sense should Sonnen upset Rua in their August matchup.