Nogueira-Velasquez Headlines UFC 108

By Brian Knapp Nov 10, 2009
Brazilian legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will meet the unbeaten Cain Velasquez in the UFC 108 headliner on Jan. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The UFC on Tuesday announced the showdown, which will determine a future challenger for the promotion’s heavyweight crown.

One of the sport’s most decorated and respected superstars, Nogueira has won eight of his past 10 fights, including a unanimous decision victory over UFC hall of famer Randy Couture in August. The 33-year-old remains the only man to hold the heavyweight title in both Pride Fighting Championships and the UFC. Nogueira has defeated five former UFC champions -- Couture, Mark Coleman, Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez -- and holds other notable victories against 2006 Pride open weight grand prix winner Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and two-time Olympian Dan Henderson.

Velasquez, arguably the fastest-rising star in mixed martial arts, blew out one-time International Fight League strongman Ben Rothwell in the UFC 104 co-main event in October. Based at the American Kickboxing Academy, he has finished six of his first seven opponents. Velasquez was a two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State University.

The Nogueira-Velasquez victor will likely meet the winner of the upcoming bout between UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. That fight has been postponed twice, as Lesnar recovers from mononucleosis.

A light heavyweight matchup pairing former champion Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva was also announced for UFC 108.

Evans, a coach on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, has not competed since he surrendered his title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 in May. Silva, meanwhile, will enter the pivotal 205-pound tilt off his technical knockout victory over Evans’ teammate, Keith Jardine, at UFC 102.
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