The fight that Rampage doesn't want to give to the fans. Graphic via UR Dirt
From Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer (subscription required):
UFC 119 on 9/25 in Indianapolis will have the Nogueira Brothers in the double main event. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira faces Frank Mir in a rematch of their 2008 match, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira faces Ryan Bader. I'm just looking for the finish where Mir is beating the crap out of Rodrigo, Ed Soares distracts the ref and Rogerio runs in and guillotines him. Also interesting because Rodrigo Nogueira was Bader's coach on TUF and the two remained pretty close after the show.
The original idea for this show was to headline with Lyoto Machida vs. Quinton Jackson and Rogerio Nogueira vs. Rashad Evans, but both Jackson and Evans turned down the fight.
Jackson was wanting Rogerio Nogueira, but I guess they are still working on getting him against Machida. Machida was wanting Evans and manager Ed Soares asked for it to be an interim title match since Shogun Rua won't be back until March. Evans doesn't want to fight until March.
There is talk now of matching Jackson with Forrest Griffin when Griffin fully recovers from shoulder surgery. Rodrigo Nogueira has been wanting Mir again since he was in poor shape due to a knee injury and a staph infection in the first fight that Mir beat an almost zombie-like Nogueira.
This news is a little old, but I wanted to get to it because it outlines what a difficult job Joe Silva really has. They had a great idea for a no-title UFC: feature the two guys who just headlined UFC 114, the biggest no-title PPV in company history.
Unfortunately, Rashad Evans is going to camp out until he gets a title shot. And given the precarious state of champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's knees, that could be a long long while. Which is too bad because Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogueira stands an excellent chance of beating Rashad and earning a rematch against Shogun. For those who don't know, the 2005 Shogun vs Little Nog fight is one of the all time classics of MMA history. Not to mention that Rashad's wrestling + unconventional striking attack against Nog's BJJ + disciplined southpaw boxing game would be a very compelling tactical chess match.
Instead Nog gets a very very tough test against up and coming wrestler Ryan Bader. While I'm looking forward to this fight as a fan, only the Nogueira warrior spirit has him taking that match. It's a very tough fight against a guy who's not yet a big name in the sport.
But at least he's getting a fight. Former UFC champ Lyoto Machida is straight-up stuck on the shelf. Rampage is tied up with additional A-Team promotional duties, but it's also no surprise that he's not interested in a fight against the elusive Machida. He's gone on the record in the past saying that Machida was "too boring" for him to promote.
This goes to show that, despite the fantasies of fans, the UFC's near-monopoly on the sport does NOT guarantee fans the fights they want to see.
As ever, life is more complicated than that.