Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira faces a high-profile rematch of his own in a matter of weeks. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Color Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira impressed.
Vitor Belfort flattened former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold with a spectacular spinning heel kick in the UFC on FX 8 main event on May 18 at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. Before and after the bout, observers of “The Phenom” pointed out his use of testosterone replacement therapy.
Two weeks ahead of his UFC on Fuel TV 10 main event against Fabricio Werdum, Nogueira sat down with Sherdog.com to discuss the controversy surrounding Belfort and the forthcoming UFC 160 bouts for Brazilian countrymen Junior dos Santos and Antonio Silva, as they meet Mark Hunt and Cain Velasquez on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
On Belfort’s use of TRT: “Once the commission has authorized it, each athlete will decide. I personally don’t think about using it, but I will not attack Vitor for having used it because it was something permitted by the athletic commission, which has authorized several other fighters. Congratulations to Vitor. There’s no doubt it was one of the most spectacular knockouts in UFC history.”
On Silva’s path to victory: “I think ‘Bigfoot’ has to keep the fight standing and use speed to frustrate Velasquez’s takedown attempts. I think by connecting with good shots ‘Bigfoot’ can put the champion down and beat him. He comes into the fight in a great place after knocking out two very tough guys. He’s more confident every day. [Vitelmo] ‘Katel’ Kubis [Bandeira] has been working well with his agility and strength. I had the opportunity to train with him the first three weeks of his camp and could watch his development closely. He has a very powerful fight rhythm, and that may be one of the differences. Fans can expect a different fight from their first one, when ‘Bigfoot’ trained for his UFC debut against Roy Nelson for three weeks and the opponent was changed to Velasquez.”
On dos Santos’ best strategy: “I think ‘Cigano’s’ ground game is the big difference in this fight, and he can take it. ‘Cigano’ and Hunt are two great strikers. Hunt has very heavy hands and is a great counterpuncher. ‘Cigano’ has to try to keep the fight at a distance, using his larger size, and go for the takedown when they’re in the clinch. ‘Cigano’ has a great game on the floor. This is his fourth camp with Ramon Lemos, who’s an excellent ground coach. I believe that taking Hunt to the ground is his great advantage in this fight. ‘Cigano’ has the best boxing in MMA, with sharp hands, but Hunt also has good hands. I also believe that if this fight goes past the second round ‘Cigano’ will physically overwhelm him.”