The passing of the guard is a situation we see in every aspect of our lives. There is a time and season for everything, even if we are not ready for that change or not admitting that change is in the air.
Saturday, August 27 will mark the return of the UFC to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – arguably the birthplace of MMA after Royce Gracie introduced Brazilian jiu jitsu to us all years ago. That changing of the guard will happen once the gate is locked for Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub and Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira.
Entering professional mixed martial arts competition in June 1999, the native Brazilian finished his opponent (David Dodd) in the first round with a kimura submission. Amassing a record of 32-6-1 with 1 no contest since that fight at World Extreme Fighting 6, the man has faced off against the best in the world, finishing a majority by submission and knocking out the others. Able to withstand punishment early, he has proven to come back stronger when beaten and cement his legendary status in the history books.
Only stopped twice in his career (both by champions; Mir and Velasquez) Big Nog has the world class ground game and equally impressive boxing to dictate the pace of the fight wherever it goes. Fighting in front of the home crowd next weekend will also by the biggest test of his career against the youngerColoradofighter. Having his two recent losses being the finishes, the questions sits – is he able to take a powerful shot again without being finished?
Formerly a professional football player for the Buffalo Bills, Schaub entered the ZUFFA compound for season ten of The Ultimate Fighter and did a great job at shattering stereotypes and focused himself into the training and becoming a legitimate fighter. Suffering his only loss, a knockout by Roy Nelson in the Ultimate Fighter finals, he has come back stronger and looking better in each outing.
Recording his biggest win and “knockout of the night” honors against former PRIDE champion, Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 128, he has never finished an opponent on the ground since they have usually fallen from his fists. Going against a veteran like Nougeira will not be an issue for the Grudge MMA fighter but perhaps his ground game will be tested.
A win will increase Schaub’s name and claim for a title shot (a win would be the fifth consecutive) where Big Nog would be answering everyone who has called it done for him, by detracting another young gun on the rise. Post fight reactions should have Shaub fighting for the belt if he can upsetBrazil’s son; Nougeira would need to face against the loser of Velasquez/ Dos Santos before he has gold in his eyesight again.