Thursday, May 19, 2011

Antonio Minotauro Nogueira likely returning at UFC 134 in Brazil, could meet Brendan Schaub

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

It appears Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira's long-awaited return will indeed come in his home country of Brazil.

After telling several Brazilian media outlets over the weekend that he had a booking on the card, others stated that he and Brendan Schaub had verbally agreed to a bout on the card. That's not quite the case, however, as Schaub's camp says they have not yet been approached about the fight.

That doesn't mean the fight is not in the works, however, as reports that the UFC is "leaning" towards that booking, and Schaub's camp told over the weekend that it is a fight that Schaub would absolutely take if offered.

It's a fight that Schaub has wanted to get for awhile now, and after his win over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 128 in March he again stated that he wanted that fight, and was willing to go to Brazil to get it. Now it appears that is likely the fight to happen, and it would make for a big heavyweight fight on an already packed UFC 134 card in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The fight would be Nogueira's first since a knockout loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 110 in February of 2010 in Australia. A series of knee and hip injuries has kept him out of action since that fight, but he has been heavily rehabbing and is now ready to return.

Penick's Analysis: If Nogueira's ready to return for this card then this is the fight to make, as Schaub has made himself into a definite force in the division. Although he has the knockout loss to Roy Nelson still in fairly recent memory, he's since won four fights in the UFC, and off wins over former top fighters in the division in Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Cro Cop, he'll have a chance to pick up a win over another former top fighter in Nogueira. For Minotauro, this is a fight against another young gun looking to make their name on his, and a win over Schaub would be huge for him in trying to get back to his former stature in the division.

[Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira art by Cory Gould (c)]


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