Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Upsets Randy Couture at UFC 102

UFC fans gave Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira a 27% chance to win Saturday night. The former champ shocked the world! Minotauro put on an outstanding performance at UFC 102. Nogueira won a un animous decision over UFC future Hall of Fame fighter, Randy “The Natural” Couture. Let the Nogueira vs. Brock Lesnar talk begin.

I had my doubts about Nogueira going into UFC 102. Nogueira has not looked at all since coming over from Pride to UFC. Frank Mir dominated Nogueira at UFC 92. There were fan reports that Nogueira was limping around at the UFC 100 Fan Expo. All I know is that the Nogueira that beat Couture Saturday night looked like he was back to Pride FC form.

Nogueira showed a ton of resilience in the win Saturday night. He had Couture finished several times in the fight, yet could not pull off the submission or TKO. Some fighters may have gotten frustrated, yet Nogueira showed a lot of patience in the fight. Nogueira also absorbed some heavy blows from Couture, including one that opened up a cut.

The obvious question here is what is next for Nogueira. Nogueira is a former UFC heavyweight champion. By all rights, beating Couture should have nailed him a UFC title fight with Brock Lesnar. UFC officials jumped the gun and scheduled Lesnar’s next fight for November. This means that a potential fight won’t happen for at least another five months. Should Nogueira wait or roll the dice and take a fight before then?

The second obvious choice here would be a Nogueira vs. Frank Mir rematch. Unfortunately, it looks like Mir already has a fight scheduled with Cheick Kongo in December. UFC officials changed things around last minute to make Shane Carwin vs. Brock Lesnar happen. It is not completely out of the question to think that UFC may do the same and schedule Mir vs. Nogueira II in December.

As it stands right now, Nogueira is Lesnar’s toughest competition. The biggest factor in the equation would be Nogueira himself and his health. At close to 100%, he is going to be extremely dangerous in a five-round fight. Fedor Emelianenko in his prime couldn’t finish Nogueira in two Pride FC matches. Is Brock Lesnar 2009 better than Fedor 2003? Nogueira is no joke and is a serious threat here to Lesnar.

I would recommend that Nogueira sits out and waits for Lesnar in February, unless he can get a fight with Mir in December. Nogueira is not the flashiest fighter in UFC, but he is one of the best at 100%. Nogueira by all rights should get the next UFC heavyweight title fight. Either way, Pride Fighting fans can rejoice that the Minotauro Nogueira they remember is finally back!

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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