Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: A Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
UFC on Fox 12 comes to you on Saturday, and a significant light heavyweight bout will help round out the card in the co-main event slot.
No. 5-ranked contender Anthony "Rumble" Johnson takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Nogueira has been out of action for more than a year, but he is still on a two-fight win streak. Johnson is on a seven-fight win streak of his own and picked up a victory in his return to the Octagon over Phil Davis in April. The winner of this fight will put himself in a position to be a serious title contender.
Saturday will see one of them take the next step up the ladder.
Let's get to the breakdown of the light heavyweight tilt.
Nogueira is a skilled boxer. He is definitely more technical striker than his brother Antonio Rodrigo, but Johnson clearly trumps him on the feet.
Johnson is faster, more powerful and more dynamic. He has more to his game than just boxing. He can alter the fight quickly.
Nogueira has been able to stand and exchange with most of his opposition, but do not expect that to stay the same on Saturday. He will not want to have prolonged exchanges against Johnson.
Rumble has always been a skilled striker, but he continues to hone his craft at the Blackzilians camp in Florida. He has become a bit more patient in his striking. He establishes his range and picks his spots well. He can and will do the same against Nogueira.
Johnson is a former junior college wrestling champion, and he can often fall back on his grappling to get the job done.
Nogueira is also decent grappler, but his skill set is only great once the fight hits the canvas. Getting it there will prove to be difficult.
The Brazilian has a 44 percent takedown accuracy percentage, and his takedown defense is just 65 percent, per FightMetric. Rumble tops both of these numbers (57 percent takedown accuracy, 85 percent takedown defense).
Nogueira has been taken down multiple times in nearly all his UFC bouts against good wrestlers. Takedowns could very well be the key to the fight for Johnson.
The submission category is firmly in the camp of Nogueira.
He is a slick grappler with a variety of submissions to his credit. Johnson's last two losses have come by way of submission.
Johnson is decent at defending submissions, but decent will not get it done against Nogueira.
If Nogueira can put this fight on the canvas, he has a very good shot at ending the bout within the 15-minute time frame. However, he has failed to submit any of his UFC opposition. He will need to return to his jiu-jitsu roots this weekend.
Johnson's X-Factor: Speed
Johnson is the quicker fighter between the two. He needs to utilize that edge throughout the bout to beat Nogueira to the punch.
His speed will also help him avoid takedown opportunities against Nogueira. He will be able to circle away quickly.
Rumble should be first all night on Saturday.
Nogueira's X-Factor: Winning the Clinch
Nogueira must close the distance against Johnson, but that will not be enough. He must then win the clinch battle.
Nogueira will have to utilize his dirty boxing and his trips in the clinch. This is where his biggest chance to win comes. If he can win the dirty boxing, then he can accumulate points for the judges. If he can take Johnson down as well, he has a great shot at finishing the fight.
He has to beat Johnson in the clinch if he hopes to win.
This is not a great matchup for Nogueira, and it will show on Saturday.
Nogueira is a very good fighter, but his methods of victory are slim against Johnson. Rumble should be able to dictate not only the pace of the fight but also where it takes place. If the fight hits the mat, he will likely be in top position.
Johnson's speed and power will make a difference early in the contest.
He will land a fight-altering strike midway through the first round, pounce and force the referee to intervene. Johnson moves into a top contender position following Saturday's win.
Prediction: Johnson defeats Nogueira by TKO in the first round
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