After years of being considered one of the top 205-pound talents outside the UFC, Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira will make his debut against fellow Brazilian light heavyweight Luis Arthur Cane.
From here on out, the Noguiera's will be referred to by their middle names, Rodrigo and Rogerio. It's just easier that way, especially when they have the same nickname.
While his debut is hotly anticipated, this matchup is certainly not a showcase fight, as Luiz Cane has been dominating fights and putting on impressive performance after impressive performance since joining the UFC in 2007.
Both men have a lot to prove with this fight, as one will climb higher up the ladder, while the other will be forced to regroup.
Luis Arthur "Banha" Cane (10-1-0) vs. Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira (17-3-0)
It's not often that the breakdown of training camps results in a push, but what other decision can be rendered when one fight trains with the vaunted Black House team and the other spends his days in Coconut Creek with American Top Team?
Both have great partners and great teachers, meaning both will have great game plans and be in optimal shape coming into this fight. This is a clear cut push.
Experience and strength of schedule goes to Nogueira, as in addition to having nearly twice as many fights as his younger counterpart, Rogerio holds wins over Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem and "The Gracie Killer" Kazushi Sakuraba to name a few.
Despite looking strong in wins over Sokoudjou and Steve Cantwell, Cane cannot hold a candle to the number of rounds Nogueira has logged inside the ring and under the bright lights of the Pride stage.
Interestingly enough, these two fighters share an opponent, the aforementioned Thierry Sokoudjou.
While Cane dominated "The African Assassin," earning a stoppage victory at UFC 89, Sokoudjou's 23-second victory over Nogueira served as the first of his back-to-back upset wins that put him on the map and propelled him to serious prospect status following the fall of Pride.
Stylistically, this has the potential to be an interesting bout, as Nogueira isn't one to shy away from a boxing match and Cane has shown strong stand-up skills of his own, as well as a good chin.
However, if this fight goes to the floor, Nogueira has a serious advantage, as just like his brother, Rogerio is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with an ability to snatch the minute you leave it exposed for too long.
Just ask Dan Henderson.
One of these fighters will push their name forward into the title discussion after this bout, while the other will have to take a step back before trying to advance again.
Both want to keep climbing the ladder, so expect one hell of a fight come Saturday night.
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