Ortiz-Nogueira in Line for March 2011

By Mike Whitman Nov 12, 2010
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz (Pictured) could meet Pride Fighting Championships veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in March 2011, possibly at UFC 128.

News of the matchup was broken on Thursday by a Tatame.com reporter, who spoke to someone close to the Nogueira camp. MMAJunkie.com on Friday confirmed both the matchup and the time frame with UFC president Dana White. However, Sherdog recently spoke with Ortiz’s manager, who relayed that the proposed fight was still just a rumor. He also made it clear that he and Ortiz had not discussed anything regarding the matchup, as Ortiz is currently in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Nothing is set in stone regarding UFC 128, but it fits the aforementioned March time frame. The event has also been speculated to be held in the United Arab Emirates, though UFC officials declined to comment on that possibility when contacted by Sherdog.

Ortiz has lost four of his last five bouts, most recently dropping a unanimous decision to former “Ultimate Fighter” protégé Matt Hamill. Following the defeat, Ortiz’s future with the promotion was unsteady, as UFC president Dana White was noncommittal in answering questions about his fate. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” won the promotion’s light heavyweight title at UFC 25 in April 2000 and successfully defended it five times over the next two years. The 35-year-old is known as one of the pioneers of the ground-and-pound strategy and remains famous for his pair of championship bouts with Chuck Liddell and his trilogy with Ken Shamrock.

Along with his older brother, Nogueira stood out in the now-defunct Pride organization. While fighting for the Japanese promotion, “Minotoro” notched wins over such impressive competition as Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson and current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. Nogueira signed with the UFC in 2009 and won his first two fights with the promotion, knocking out Luis Arthur Cane and edging out a split decision against heavy underdog Jason Brilz. Nogueira suffered his first UFC defeat in September, as he dropped a unanimous decision to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner Ryan Bader.
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