After making an immediate impression in his debut for the UFC, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira’s next opponent in the light heavyweight division has been an interesting subject for debate in the last couple of weeks.
Today the UFC announced that Nogueira will face Brandon Vera at UFC 109.
Vera fought Randy Couture at UFC 105 last month in his first ever appearance in a main event, and after taking the hall of famer to a decision many people believe that he should have emerged victorious.
In a recent poll on this site we asked you who you’d like to see Rogerio Nogueira face next. Though Brandon Vera was an option on the poll, it wasn’t the most popular choice, gaining only 10% of the vote. The most popular choice on the poll was a match-up with Forrest Griffin which appealed to 44% of voters. Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua also polled above Vera.
Personally I would have liked to see Nogueira facing a fighter coming off a win, so at to further boost his chances of stepping in line for a title shot in 2010.
It seems that Nogueira himself had similar feelings as Fighters Only spoke to his manager who revealed that the fighter had turned down the fight due to Vera losing to Couture, and also because he trained at the same academy. For whatever reason it appears that he has since had a change of heart.
That aside, Vera is a worthy opponent and this is definitely an intriguing fight. Nogueira showed his boxing skills in his victory over another talented striker in Luiz Cane, but Brandon Vera’s longer range kicks and all-round muay thai skills will present a new challenge for the Brazilian.
As with Nogueira’s previous fight, this one may well steal the show at UFC 109.