Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira To Face Cain VelasquezIn his toughest test to date, undefeated heavyweight Cain Velasquez may take another big step up in competition at UFC 108 against former UFC Interim and PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira in a rumoured bout with major title implications.

Coming off of his best performance to date against former IFL star “Big” Ben Rothwell at UFC 104, Velasquez will look to keep the momentum going as he aims to remain undefeated against Nogueira, who most recently defeated Randy “The Natural” Couture.

Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC) rebounded from his shocking TKO loss – the first stoppage loss of his career – against Frank Mir at UFC 92 by dominating Couture for three rounds in their featured bout at UFC 102. The win put Nogueira back in contention for UFC gold after injury and illness hindered him greatly in the loss to Mir.

Velasquez (7-0-0) broke into the UFC with a 2-0 record and a massive wave of hype surrounding him and he has not disappointed. Having won all five of his fights inside the Octagon, including a lopsided decision victory over Cheick Kongo and the aforementioned stoppage of Rothwell, Velasquez continues his progressive steps up in competition with the bout against Nogueira.


While many are already discounting Velasquez entirely, even before the fight is made official, he put on an incredible performance against Rothwell and, save for a pair of big right hands that briefly dropped him, handily dispatched of Kongo in his previous outing.

Velasquez’s takedowns and ground control are matched by few and he is one of the most agile heavyweights in the sport. While he gives up a massive amount of experience to the world-travelled Nogueira, Velasquez has the speed and tenacity to pose problems for the Brazilian legend.

Nogueira has slowed down as his career has progressed and his chin may not be able to withstand the ridiculous amounts of punishment that it could in the past, but he proved in his bouts with Heath Herring and Tim Sylvia that he is still fully capable of coming back from the brink of defeat to win. His victory over Couture was a return of the Nogueira that PRIDE fans revered for years.


Velasquez may shed his traditional game plan of taking opponents down and punching them into submission because Nogueira is easily one of the most dangerous competitors in MMA when fighting off of his back. A single mistake from Velasquez will result in him tapping out to an armbar or triangle choke within seconds.

Nogueira must weather the storm of strikes from Velasquez, as well as emphatic slam takedowns if Velasquez does opt to take the fight to the mat. The key to victory for the future Hall of Famer will be to pull guard and lull Velasquez into a fight-ending mistake.

The proposed fight is the epitome of “youth meets experience,” but Nogueira will aim to prove that he still has what it takes to compete against the best at the highest levels.


UFC 108 takes place on January 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.