Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at Affliction 1
The phrase “business as usual” became very popular when Zuffa, LLC – the parent company of the UFC – purchased the world recognized number two MMA promotion, Strikeforce, a couple weeks ago.
Not to beat a dead horse, but it appears Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is exercising the meaning of “business as usual” for his fight against Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis. The mixed martial arts veteran views his match-up with Davis in the same way he did his previously scheduled UFC Fight Night opponent, Tito Ortiz.
Essentially, he puts Davis and Ortiz at the same level.
“This fight is just as tough as it would have been with Tito,” Nogueira said early this week. “Any fight is a tough fight. They’re about at the same level right now in the division.”
Nogueira and Ortiz were originally slated to be the main event on the Fight Night card in Seattle, but an injury to Ortiz forced him out, opening up the opportunity for a replacement to obtain main event status.
Enter “Mr. Wonderful.”
Davis stepped in on short notice, signing his sixth professional fight in just over a year – all of which were bouts within the UFC. For Nogueira, the fight with Davis is his third in a row against a fighter with a primary background in wrestling.
In his last outing, “Li’l Nog” faced Ryan Bader and was unable to defend against the takedowns of the Arinzona State wrestler, giving up a decision, marking his first loss in the UFC. Against Davis, Nogueira will have another opponent with excellent takedown skills. Recognizing this, the Brazilian light heavyweight made sure his wrestling was up to par in training.
“He’s a really strong wrestler,” he said. “And that’s something I had to work on in the training.”
Nogueira elaborated on his wrestling training, which he has focused on for over the past year. According to him, his wrestling attributes have advanced by leaps and bounds in the past 12 months.
“(I have) been working a lot,” Nogueira explained. “(I have) been dedicating (myself) to wrestling in the past year or so. (I feel I have) improved a lot and been working a lot on it to face all these wrestling opponents. And (I feel) that I really jumped ahead in (my) wrestling.
Perhaps Nogueira will be a little more prepared for this wrestler than he was for his previous two. The former Pride standout trained with Davis not so long ago. Through training with the young Penn State alumnus, Nogueira learned some things about his pending opponent. The knowledge of his toughness and ground game may give Nogueira a heads up on what to expect Saturday in Seattle.
“We trained not too long ago and I thought he was a very tough guy,” he said about Davis. “He’s very strong in wrestling, very strong ground skills. So, yes, he was overall a pretty strong fighter.”
That strength will get put to the test against a crafty worker in Nogueira. At UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle, the two will collide and continue to work “business as usual.”
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Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for MMAWeekly.com.
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