Brendan Schaub (8-1) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-6-1)
The self-proclaimed “Legend Killer” Schaub wants to add another name to his trophy case, though “Minotauro” still has some fight left in him.
Schaub, 28, reached the finals of the 10th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, losing to experienced veteran Roy Nelson by knockout.
The Grudge Training Center product is riding a four-fight winning streak, including a decision over former heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga and a knockout win over Pride legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
Nogueira, 35, is in the latter stages of a historic career dating back to 1999. One of the most dominant and influential heavyweights of all time, Nogueira achieved his greatest success competing for Pride and winning the organization’s heavyweight title. Along the way, “Minotauro” beat Cro Cop, Mark Coleman, Heath Herring, Bob Sapp, Dan Henderson, Sergei Kharitonov, Ricco Rodriguez, Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett.
Since moving over to the UFC in July 2007, “Minotauro” submitted Tim Sylvia to win the interim heavyweight strap and defeated Randy Couture by decision, while losing to both former champ Frank Mir and current heavyweight king Cain Velasquez by knockout. Before competing for the UFC, Nogueira had never been knocked out.
A sublime submission specialist with dangerous boxing, Nogueira possesses black belts in both judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The former Brazilian Top Team member has formed his own academy, which is home to some of the best Brazilian fighters in the world.
A year and a half has elapsed since Nogueira last fought, but ring rust is unlikely to plague such a savvy veteran. The universally loved Brazilian heavyweight will get a thunderous ovation from the home crowd as he looks to return to the win column and prove he can still be a contender in the rapidly changing heavyweight landscape.
The former NFL player Schaub is a heavy-handed fighter with a solid base in wrestling and good trainers behind him, but Nogueira marks a significant step up in competition.
If Nogueira uses his punches effectively to bust Schaub up while setting up takedowns and working his magic on the mat, Schaub will likely come out on the losing end of a competitive judges’ decision.