Randy CoutureIn a little less than a week, former champions Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will meet in the main event of UFC 81 for the UFC’s interim heavyweight title. And the current title holder’s predicting a victory for the UFC vet.

Our buddy Jose Rodriguez of the Calgary Sun recently spoke to current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture about the upcoming Sylvia-Nogueira fight. Couture resigned from the organization this past October and now finds himself dealing with a lawsuit over the matter, but that didn’t keep him from weighing in on next week’s fight.

UFC 81 takes place Feb. 2 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Couture likes Nogueira’s chances on the ground; he gives Sylvia the nod on their feet. As for a prediction, though, Couture thinks Nogueira’s most recent performance will be the deciding factor.

“I think it’s going to be a good fight,” Couture said. “I’m a fan of the sport first and foremost. I think it’s an interesting match-up. Nogueira’s strength tends to be on the ground and in the submission game, and Tim is just a long, strong, hard-to-take-down guy who’s got great striking abilities. It’s a classic match-up and for the interim title, so they both have a lot on the line.

“I like Tim’s chances in that fight given Nogueira’s performance against Heath Herring in the last fight. I like Sylvia in a stoppage of some kind.”

Sylvia (24-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) has gone to a decision in four of his past five victories. However, his first four UFC wins all came via stoppage — three by knockout.

In addition to the Sylvia-Nogueira fight, Couture spoke to the Calgary Sun about his current legal situation with the UFC. It appears the UFC is now trying to keep Couture from cornering his Xtreme Couture fighters in other fight promotions.

Couture has recently been at HDNet Fights and International Fight League events to corner his guys, and while the UFC is trying to halt him from going to any other event (saying it violates the terms of his contract), he says he’ll be in Canada later this week to corner Mike Pyle at a Hardcore Championship Fighting event.

“There’s no merit in (stopping me),” Couture said. “It’s just a ploy on the UFC’s part to drag me down and force me to spend money and I’m sure they think if they force me to spend enough money, I’ll have to come back and fight. That’s not really the case.”

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