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Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs. the UFC

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How do you think Big Nog will do in the UFC?
Just give him the title shot already. 26 41%
He'll need a fight or two to adjust. 33 52%
He's in deep doo-doo. 4 6%
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AchillesHeel

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So... Big Nog...

I have to wonder two things: First, how many UFC fans have never heard of him before, and how will his game translate to the UFC? I'll leave the first question hanging and focus on the second, which is much more interesting to me.

Nogueira has fought 17 consecutive fights in Pride (20 there, altogether), and hasn't had much experience outside that organization since 2001, when he had several fights in Rings events. On the one hand, MMA is MMA and it's not as though his skills will abandon him entirely the moment he steps into the Octagon. But on the other hand, it's not quite the same, either.

Big Nog vs. the UFC rules: 5-minute rounds, no knees to the head, and no stomping won't be a big deal, I don't think. However, I think the elbows could pose a problem. He'll be matched up against another Pride guy, Heath Herring, who might or might not have added elbows to his pull-down menu of GnP options. Personally, if I was Herring, I'd have spent the last two months working on my Tito Ortiz-style hack n' slash. Nogueira is a tough S.O.B. and has never been (T)KO'd or Submitted, but to my knowledge he's never been attacked by a drawer-full of UFC cutlery either; he has to guard against getting a gash over an eye that would prompt the referee or fight doctor to rain on his parade.

Big Nog vs. the Octagon: The ability of UFC fighters to interact with the cage and use it to their advantage will be a whole new dance for Nogueira. The aforementioned Tito Ortiz-style ground-and-pound involves shoving the hapless victim into the corner (the corner where the floor meets the wall, that is) and taking his lunch-money. In Pride, the fight would be repositioned to the center of the ring, where the fighter on the bottom has plenty of room to stretch his legs, literally and figuratively. Again, if I were Herring, I'd make sure Nogueira's shoulders and back have a waffle-iron look about them by the time the fight is over.

Big Nog vs. the UFC judges: I won't bother to explain the details here, but the "10-point must" scoring system is a bit different from what Nogueira is used to. There's a greater emphasis on winning takedowns and positioning, although Tyson Griffin's recent win over Clay Guida may signal a change in thinking there. If Herring can work the system and keep busy with wrestling shoots and GnP from the top position, he could win a Decision. Of course, Nogueira knows a little about this thing called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. An arm-bar or a triangle choke could be in the future of many a UFC heavyweight. Those of you who remember Frank Mir during his heyday can see what I'm getting at, and Nogueira is better at it than Mir was.

Big Nog vs. history: Pride fighters have had some mixed - and surprising - results in the UFC Octagon. Cro Cop's debut was fairly predictable, when he spent just under 5 minutes tracking down Eddie Sanchez. We all know how Cro Cop's 2nd fight went, though. Nogueira's opponent, Heath Herring, found out what it's like to be stuck in quicksand in his 1st UFC match, but turned it around for his 2nd. Prodigal son Jens Pulver stepped on a landmine in his return to the Octagon. Rampage Jackson didn't miss a beat, really, although he looked like he had some butterflies for his rematch with Liddell. Nogueira may have an edge here, since one of his training partners is Anderson Silva, whose three Octagon victories have been assured and decisive. Their fighting styles are nothing alike, but I'm sure Silva is telling Nogueira not to sweat it too much.

Last edited 7/5/07 8:05PM server time by AchillesHeel
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Post #1   7/5/07 8:04:42PM   

jocksmall

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i think your point about the elbows is a good one. with that being said nog ends up on the top position more times than not. his first opponent will want to stand and nog will hold his own and if it goes to the ground well nog is the best hw submission guy i can think of. he is very experienced and i think he will fair well but it is a fight so we will have to watch to see.

Post #2   7/5/07 8:28:30PM   

AchillesHeel

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Posted by jocksmall

i think your point about the elbows is a good one. with that being said nog ends up on the top position more times than not. his first opponent will want to stand and nog will hold his own and if it goes to the ground well nog is the best hw submission guy i can think of. he is very experienced and i think he will fair well but it is a fight so we will have to watch to see.


I agree. If anything, you've undersold his standup skills. He never once tried to take Fabricio Werdum to the mat, for instance, and used his boxing. Of course, maybe out-boxing Werdum isn't such a big deal, having seen him try to slap Arlovski to death.

Post #3   7/5/07 8:37:22PM   

gcraig22

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I'm sure he won't have much trouble with the cage. He has had plenty of time to train in the cage before his first fight, and he will be fighting someone he has beaten 2 times before.

Post #4   7/5/07 9:09:58PM   

cmill21

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The cage seems to help fighters who want to be close to their opponenets. Mirko had trouble because he was taken down and didn't know how to get out from under gonzaga. Big nog is tough, if you stand up he'll take you down or box with you, or if you want to take him down and try to GnP him, he'll find a way to submit you. So I guess I think he'll be fine until he fights the re-vamped Mirko, or The Last Emperor comes.

Post #5   7/5/07 9:57:02PM   

cincyassasin

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I feel he will adjust nicely to the cage atmoshere, like previously stated the cage tends to favor the guy who wants to be inside or on the ground.

Post #6   7/5/07 10:03:26PM   

kerazzle

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i dont think elbows are much of an issue, Nog doesnt cut easy, the guy has some thick skin. I think the cage could help him but the 5 minute round could hurt since he is a bit of a slow starter.

Post #7   7/5/07 10:11:29PM   

DJDark41

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He's gonna take a few fights to get used to the way the Octagon is, and how to avoid getting trapped against it, and the such. The fact that Heath Herring is more familiar with the Octagon may play against Big Nog, but if Herring gets over-confident and gets sloppy, then Big Nog is gonna break something.

Post #8   7/5/07 11:20:38PM   

KYGUY07

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first we need to see how he does with the change.

Post #9   7/6/07 12:45:05AM   

Aether

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hey bas rutten vs kevin randleman is a good argument against the "nog vs the judges" argument. It's not necessarily true that judges favour fighters on the top all of the time. They do award greater credit to fighters on top as it is an inherently more dominant position, but if a fighter knows how to fight effectively from the bottom (which is incredibly rare, truthfully) it's not out of the ordinary for the judges to realize that.

Post #10   7/6/07 3:24:45AM   

Northrend

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Nog will become a better fight with the cage IMO, he will utilize elbows nicely..doesn't have to worry about stomps anymore. Judging is his main weakness in the UFC (he could win a fight but because the UFC is Ultimate Wrestling Championship judging wise..he could actually loose) if you don't believe me rent ufc 48 and watch Hughes vs Charuto...Charuto owned Hughes and Hughes won a UD. Anyways I don't think people will be used to his aggresive BJJ and will get tapped. Can't wait!

Post #11   7/6/07 3:26:47AM   

kimoron

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it will be interesting to see how nog adjust to the cage but the only major adjustment he has to face is being trapped against the cage. when i really think about it though i doubt it will be a problem seeing as how most fighters will do there best to keep it off the ground.

Post #12   7/6/07 3:46:07AM   

DoTheMMAth

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Posted by AchillesHeel

I'd make sure Nogueira's shoulders and back have a waffle-iron look about them by the time the fight is over.



I got a chuckle out of this line hehe. It was a good point too, anything at all Herring can do to take big Nog out of his comfort zone is worth doing.

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Post #13   7/6/07 5:55:12AM   

Mastodon2

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Well, the 3 x 5 minute rounds could cause a problem for Nog; less time for the magician to set a BJJ trap, but at the same time the UFC judging could be just as much of a problem for him, while he might be on his back, waiting for the perfect moment to swing into that armbar, the judges might think he is just doing nothing. Nogueira's style isnt compatible with UFc judging really, Nog never looked for decision wins, he is a guy who was always looking to finish a fight, even if it looked like he was just weathering the storm in someones guard.

However, I think he will adapt, he is imo the joint second best HW in the world, behind Fedor (the obvious no1) and tied with Cro Cop. He is one of the big 3, I think he will adapt well. He has overcome bigger challanges in the past!

Post #14   7/6/07 6:45:38AM   

thepunisher

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I don't see Big Nog spending much time in the cage this weekend he will take HH down and choke him out 2:23 1st round

Post #15   7/6/07 9:19:41AM   
 
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