As was reported in late January, the UFC has been rumored to be working on booking a fight between Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and as for the promotion’s anticipated return to the United Arab Emirates.
Today the UFC made it official, with the announcement that Nelson and Nogueira would square off on April 11th at the UFC Fight Night 39 card, in Abu Dhabi.
The event will air live on “Fight Pass” and will mark the brand’s first foray back into the Middle East since April of 2010, and UFC 112; Silva vs. Maia.
Nelson vs. Nogueira is set to be a five round fight and will act as the night’s headline bout. As both are getting up in years, each turns 38 in April (Nogueira is 18 days Nelson’s senior) and neither has much time left on the clock, the match is somewhat of a ‘put-up-or-shut-up’ fight; at least in terms of maintaining relevance in the heavyweight division. Ranked at numbers ten and thirteen respectively (Nelson / Nogueira), both could use the win.
For his part, Nelson is 6 – 5 in the UFC and riding a two fight losing streak. And where ‘Big Country’ looked great in his three wins previous to the consecutive losses, taking them all by round one T/KOs’, Nelson appeared flat and outclassed in his back-to-back defeats; UFC 161 / 166.
Per Contra, Nogueira is 5 – 4 in the brand and coming off of a loss to Fabricio Werdum. A match in which ‘Vai Cavalo’ did pretty much what he wanted to Nogueira for seven-and-a-half minutes, at which point he submitted him in round two; armbar. Other than his first two fights and wins in the promotion, ‘Minotauro’ has failed to rack up sequential victories and as such, has become a hit and miss fighter.
In terms of what to expect out of this match, fans apt to see a decent fight. They are equally matched in a number of different ways and they are both tough. In their 70 combined fights, the pair has only been T/KO’d three times and submitted twice. In short, they are two very tough, well-rounded veterans and ones that are hard to put away. And what they may lack in terms of speed or dynamism, they more than make up for in experience and willingness to bang.
Beyond the Nelson / Nogueira fight the UFC has announced, as in conjunction with their Middle East partners “FLASH Entertainment” that it will make six ‘event stops’ in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2014, with the Abu Dhabi show being one of the stops trumpeted. Additional events are to be scheduled for 2015.