‘Minotoro’ on UFC 133 Tightrope Against Franklin

By Marcelo Alonso Jul 5, 2011
Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira calls his UFC 133 bout the most important of his career.



Brazilian veteran Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira has a new emotion with which to wrangle, as he prepares for his showdown with former middleweight champion Rich Franklin in the UFC 133 “Evans vs. Davis” co-main event on Aug. 6 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

After 10 years of fighting, including memorable battles against Kazushi Sakuraba and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua under the Pride Fighting Championships banner, Nogueira finds himself on a two-fight losing streak for the first time in his career. The 35-year-old Brazilian believes his spot in the UFC could be on the line against Franklin.

“It’s the most important fight of my career,” Nogueira told Sherdog.com. “I have to walk through him and always move forward. I can’t accept his game. Franklin is a guy who likes to rush in, and I have to be careful with that. After these two losses, I’ve got to beat him in a good fight. I’ve got to knock him out and look for it from the first round.”

Nogueira has lost consecutive fights to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner Ryan Bader and the undefeated Phil Davis, two decorated amateur wrestlers. After four appearances in the UFC, Nogueira admits he has encountered some difficulty in adapting to the promotion.

“My camps and the way I prepare for fights doesn’t change much,” he said. “What really changed from Pride to the UFC was the style of the fighters, who are better prepared and have more power and physical potential. I think the rules are very different, as well. The UFC allows tighter fights, more ground fights. It’s different, but I’ve got to get used to these rules, or I can’t fight here [in the UFC].”

Minotoro and his twin brother, heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, are two of the greatest fighters in the history of Brazilian mixed martial arts. However, despite with their considerable accomplishments, they have been criticized for failing to evolve with the sport. Minotoro vows to approach his fight with Franklin differently; he wants the fans to believe in him again.

“I expect to have a good fight, so people can expect a more aggressive Rogerio, fighting hard and looking for the knockout from the start,” Nogueira said. “I will always look for it against Franklin. I have one more month of training, and the next 20 days will be the hardest. I will give myself to it entirely and finish my preparation well.”

Colin Foster contributed to this report.

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