In the co-main event of this stacked UFC on Fox show in San Jose, CA, Anthony Johnson (17-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) takes on PRIDE legend Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in a light heavyweight bout. "Rumble" has been on a tear since his initial UFC release, and has seemingly found a home at 205 lbs where he can be a fearsome contender. This is Nogueira's first fight since February 2013, with his UFC tenure marred by numerous injuries.
A combination of Johnson's improvement, youth, and Nogueira's injury woes and decline have made Rumble a massive betting favorite heading into tonight's show. The UFC on Fox 12 main card kicks off at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, with four preliminary card bouts also airing on Fox at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT. Think of it as one giant 4 hour Fox show.
How do these two stack up?
Johnson: 30 years old | 6'1" | 78" reach
Nogueira: 38 years old | 6'2" | 75" reach
What have these two done lately?
Johnson: W - Phil Davis (UD) | W - Mike Kyle (KO) | W - Andrei Arlovski (UD)
Nogueira: W - Rashad Evans (UD) | W - Tito Ortiz (TKO) | L - Phil Davis (UD)
How did these two get here?
Anthony Johnson was famously a welterweight who consistently struggled to make the cut, and when he missed he wasn't even close. The UFC gave him the boot after he showed up a dozen pounds over in his planned middleweight debut vs. Vitor Belfort, which ended in a submission loss. The Belfort fight stands as his last defeat, as he's run roughshod over the likes of Jake Rosholt, D.J. Linderman, Mike Kyle, and in his UFC return he took apart Phil Davis. Johnson's striking looks polished, his takedown defense is as sterling as ever, and now that he's not killing himself to make weight, you're looking at a top 10 ranked LHW.
Lil' Nog has been with the UFC since 2009 but has fought all of 6 times. He's become notorious for pulling out of fights due to injury, which is unfortunate because he's actually won his last two bouts, including a surprising (and drab) decision win over Rashad Evans at UFC 156. Nogueira's best offensive weapon is his left hook, and he'll need that to be on the money against Rumble or else he could be in for a rough night.
Why should you care?
Johnson could solidify his case as one of light heavyweight's best with another convincing win. The division is lacking in credible contenders and while Lil' Nog could spoil the party, Johnson's success would certainly benefit the UFC.