A heavyweight bout between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson is being targeted for the UFC's first trip to Abu Dhabi in 4 years. "Big Nog" and "Big Nelson" are both coming off of losses and now it looks like they'll square off in the Middle East in a few months time. Ariel Helwani reported on UFC Tonight that the fight is expected to happen as early as May:
UFC is targeting a fight between Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in Abu Dhabi later this year, possibly as soon as May. #ufctonight— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 30, 2014
Nelson (19-9) sent Cheick Kongo out of the UFC to start off his 2013, but was dominated by Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier to end the year having lost 2 of 3. He's had 11 UFC fights in total, with all 6 wins coming by KO or TKO and all 5 losses coming by unanimous decision, which is fitting for someone with his powerful right hand and granite chin.
Nogueira (34-8-1, 1 NC) fought just once last year as he concentrated on TUF Brazil 2 coaching duties opposite Fabricio Werdum. The two faced off in the season finale with Werdum submitting Nogueira with an armbar, thereby becoming just the 2nd man to submit Nogueira in his decorated MMA career. Since opening up his UFC career 2-0 and with the interim heavyweight belt to his name, he's alternated wins and losses (3-4) for literally the past 5 years.
Abu Dhabi-based Flash Entertainment currently owns a 10% minority stake in Zuffa, a purchase made back in January 2010. The UFC's sole venture to Abu Dhabi was made a few months later, a daytime PPV event headlined by Anderson Silva's dreadful title fight against Demian Maia. Other notable outcomes from that card included Frankie Edgar's upset win against B.J. Penn for the UFC lightweight title, and Matt Hughes' kickboxing excellence against Renzo Gracie that had many fans declaring him "Matt Hoost".
No word on whether or not Big Nog/Nelson is expected to be the main event, but details on the date, venue, and broadcast will be made in the coming weeks.