The co-main event at UFC 156 takes place in the Light Heavyweight division. Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (17-2-1 MMA; 12-2-1 UFC) faces Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5 MMA; 3-2 UFC). This is the fourth of five PPV main card fights. UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday night, February 2, with the PPV main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.
This is an interesting fight, though perhaps more intellectually than in actual practice. These are two very technically skilled, intelligent fighters. Both are capable of winning the fight in different ways, and have faced the sport's elite. Expect them to show off those technical skills in a classic MMA human chess match style of fight. The question is - how fast paced and exciting will that chess match be? For that answer, we'll have to wait until Saturday night.
How do these two stack up?
Evans: 33 years old | 5'11" | 75" reach
Nogueira: 36 years old | 6'2" | 75" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Suga Rashad Evans had a tremendous rise through the UFC ranks, winning the Light Heavyweight title as an undefeated fighter in 2008. But since losing the belt to Lyoto Machida, he has had a weird road, definied primarily by feuds with Jon Jones and Rampage Jackson, and serious periods of inactivity. Evans sat out the majority of 2009, had a layoff of over a year from mid 2010 to mid 2011, and is now coming in off yet another 9 month gap. He's still one of the best in the world, but seems lost right now, with all of the momentum from his title run vanished. There's talk of him dropping down to 185 to face Anderson Silva - it will be worth watching to see if that comes up tonight.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, or Lil' Nog as he has long been known to hardcore fans, is a decorated Pride veteran. Like his twin brother Minotauro Nogueira, Rogerio is a jiu jitsu expert, though he has also developed a strong boxing centric stand-up game. His UFC run has been largely uneventful, with a decent but overall forgettable 3-2 run that has been primarily defined by his losses to a younger generation of wrestler. His last fight was a win over Tito Ortiz in December 2011. Nogueira is a great fighter, but how much longer will he keep on?
Why should you care?
I'm interested to see how this one plays out, but admittedly, it will likely be a more technical battle, and could end up being a bit more dull, especially compared to some of the other fights on this main card. Still, I'm interested to see how Rashad does, and what Nog has left in the tank.