Category Archives: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

The Reign of Minotauro Begins

When Tim Sylvia dropped Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with a hard right hand in the first round of their “interim” heavyweight title bout, it looked Big Tim might be on his way to reclaiming the most recent facsimile of the title.  As “Minotauro” hit the mat, visions of boring title defenses and five-round snoozers must have danced through Dana White’s mind as he watched from ringside.  But it wasn’t to be, as Nogueira showed his resiliency yet again, claiming the belt with a third-round submission victory and possibly saving the UFC’s heavyweight division in the process.

The scouting report on Nogueira tells you everything you need to know about why the outcome of Saturday’s fight went the way it did.  “Minotauro” is no stranger to punishment.  He’s taken the best shots from some of the best fighters in the world, heavy hitters like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and Mark Coleman, to name a few.

And yet, the Brazilian has never been knocked out.  Staggered?  Sure.  Battered and hurt and woozy?  You bet.  But try as they might, no one seems able to push him over that edge.  He hangs on, clears his head, and then the submission you never saw coming is suddenly tightening around your throat.  It happens that easily.  Just ask Tim Sylvia.

Hopefully the UFC realizes what a gem they have in Nogueira.  He’s a heavyweight with the full MMA toolbox, something that doesn’t come along every day.  He can take a punch as well as he can give one, and his submission skills are slick enough that even the fans who boo as soon as a fight hits the mat will get excited to see him work his magic.  Perhaps most importantly, his illustrious record in the sport proves his credibility as a champion.  He is now the only man to hold both the Pride and UFC championship belts, and that could go a long way toward making people forget that his UFC title has the word “interim” in front of it for entirely political reasons.

Beyond that, however, Nogueira is both humble and likable, traits not often applied to Sylvia.  He exudes the aura of a champion, which is exactly what the UFC has been starving for in the heavyweight division.  Had Sylvia won the title, it would have made Couture’s absence all the more noticeable.  It was, after all, “The Natural” who last liberated the heavyweight strap from Big Tim.  Nogueira brings with him the promise of a new era, one that the UFC can build on even if Couture never competes again.

The only question now is who gets the first crack at “Minotauro”.  One thing’s for sure: it won’t be Brock Lesnar.

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Filed under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, MMA, Sports, Tim Sylvia, UFC

The Personality Test That Is UFC 81

It’s difficult to say what the main event of UFC 81 is this Saturday night. A better way of putting it is, the match you choose to think of as the main event says a lot about what kind of person you are. Kind of like a Rorschach test, only with blood inside an octagonal cage. I realize I might be freaking you out right now, so allow me to explain.

The two big fights this Saturday will feature Tim Sylvia taking on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the “interim” heavyweight title, and former WWE star Brock Lesnar facing former UFC champ Frank Mir. Officially, Nogueira (or “Minotauro”, as he is commonly known) and Sylvia are the main event. Their match is, after all, for the title that Randy Couture vacated but which the UFC somehow refuses to strip him of.

And yet, the UFC’s advertising team didn’t get the memo. On billboards and taxi cabs in some areas, they are allegedly hyping the Lesnar-Mir fight instead. The reasoning is fairly simple: people know Brock Lesnar. By people, I mean pro wrestling fans. They are legion and they have money to spend on their various obsessions. MMA promoters have been trying to win them over in earnest for the last few years, and Lesnar is the best bet since Kurt Angle turned out to be more bark than bite.

That’s why this event is as much a personality quiz as anything else. Are you the aficionado who wants to see what will be the more meaningful, though probably also the more boring title fight between Sylvia and “Minotauro”? Or are you the sensationalist who wants to see the fireworks between Lesnar and Mir?

Read the rest of this article at Crave Online

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Filed under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, MMA, Tim Sylvia, UFC 81