Can Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Avoid Brendan Schaub’s Bombs For Three Rounds At UFC 134?

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My series “A Closer Look At UFC 134” continues with its in-depth coverage of all the major fights from the UFC’s latest mega-card, “UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami”. With the last entry we officially passed the half-way mark, now it’s time to focus on the three major match-ups that truly anchor this card. Here’s the latest recap for any of you who’ve missed out: To see part 1, click here. Part 2 is available here, Part 3 is right here, and Part 4 is here. Now it’s time to focus on a major Heavyweight showdown with serious title implications. It’s Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and this is “A Closer Look At UFC 134”.

Brendan Schaub entered the landmark tenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” a perfect 4-0 prospect, with all four wins by first-round TKO and none of those fights making it to the 1:30 mark. In a season built around the surprise involvement of veteran and former champion Roy Nelson as well as former Elite XC main event star and YouTube sensation Kimbo Slice, Schaub fought his way to the finals with a series of great performances in a season that was dominated by some truly atrocious fights. In the season finale, Schaub would end up suffering his first loss when Roy Nelson KO’d him.

Since then, Schaub has been a man possessed. It all started with a first-round, 47-second TKO win over Chase Gormley. After that came a first-round, 1:07 TKO win against Chris Tuchscherer. He then went three rounds with Gabriel Gonzaga and beat him, sending Gonzaga out of the UFC. And in his most-recent performance, Schaub KO’d aging legend Mirko Filipovic in the third round.

His opponent, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, needs little introduction. “Big Nog” is best known for his many, many brilliant fights in the PRIDE FC organization. At a time where PRIDE was the be-all and end-all, “Big Nog” took on all the best Heavyweights and beat quite a lot of them thanks to his unbreakable chin, iron will, and one of the best submission games ever. To date, Nogueira is the only man to have ever held both PRIDE FC and UFC titles.

Like many of the fighters from PRIDE, advancing age and changing circumstances have been hard on Nogueira. Currently, he’s only won one time in three fights, although that victory was against UFC Hall of Fame member Randy Couture. Even worse, both of Nogueira’s losses have been (T)KO losses, showing that his once-unbreakable chin can now be blown apart.

To be brutally honest, I think that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira stands a high chance of getting KO’d again at UFC 134. As much as I like “Big Nog”, and I like him a lot, I just can’t look past the striking power of Brendan Schaub. Schaub is one of those “new breed” fighters everyone keeps talking about: he’s good at practically everything, he’s very muscular but he has a lot of talent and cardio, and he has the strength and skill to keep this fight where he wants it to be. We know that Schaub can stop people in the first round or even the third round. So for three rounds, I’ll be hoping that the hammer doesn’t fall on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

I just don’t know how Nogueira wins this fight, but then again, Nogueira has been in this situation before. I’ll never doubt Nogueira’s ability to pull back from the brink and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, he’s done that enough times in his career to earn my respect. As a veteran talent and one of my favorite fighters, I sincerely hope “Big Nog” wins this one. As a realist and with full knowledge of Nogueira’s advancing age and weakening chin as well as full knowledge of Brendan Schaub’s punching power”¦ I just don’t see how “Big Nog” wins this one.


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