Nog vs. Couture Confirmed, "Brazil vs. USA" Theme for UFC 102
Despite Losses, "Dream Match" Still Has Loads of Potential
While losses to UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir may have dampened the mystique of a match pitting Randy Couture against Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, many fight fans still salivate at the thought of the two legendary fighters stepping inside the Octagon against one another.
After months of speculation and rumor, today the UFC made Couture vs. Nogueira the official main event of UFC 102, which takes place at The Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, August 29.
Many fans pegged this as the final match of the UFC’s mini-tournament to crown an undisputed Heavyweight Champion from almost the second the tournament was announced. Lesnar and Mir had other ideas, and now the legends will meet without titles. But meet they will, giving fight fans a dream match that has been years in the making.
Will Randy stay on the feet and try the striking game with Big Nog, or will he take his chances on the ground? If Nogueira gets Couture in a bad spot, can he keep him there? Will Couture’s fists be able to crack Nog’s famously-thick skull, or are we in for another near-finish followed by a brilliant comeback and a flawless submission?
As a Couture fan, as a Minotauro fan, and as a fight fan in general…I can’t wait to get an answer to those questions.
For those wondering what else is in store for 102, here’s the expected lineup.
265 lbs.: Randy Couture (16-9) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-5-1)
205 lbs.: Keith Jardine (14-5-1) vs. Thiago Silva (13-1)*
185 lbs.: Nate Marquardt (28-8-2) vs. Demian Maia (10-0)*
185 lbs.: Chris Leben (18-6) vs. Jake Rosholt (5-1)*
265 lbs.: Junior dos Santos (8-1) vs. Justin McCully (9-4-2)*
185 lbs.: James Irvin (14-5) vs. Wilson Gouveia (12-6)*
*Fight not yet official by UFC.com.
Jardine/Silva has a lot of potential to be an epic slugfest, since both men are known for their hard punches. And with both men coming off of a loss, expect them to be hungry for a brawl and looking to finish. Maia/Marquardt is also an important match, since a victory would move either man one step closer to a match with long-reigning UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. A big win or dominating performance could even springboard either man into #1 Contender status.
Another important aspect to note about UFC 102 is that a majority of the fights feature American fighters going up against Brazilian fighters- Couture/Nogueira, Jardine/Silva, Marquardt/Maia, and Santos/McCully. Bragging rights are a powerful thing, especially when it’s country versus country, so look for all involved to come in with their A-Game.
Stay tuned to MMAFigs.com for more UFC 102 news and developments as they happen.