Tim Sylvia (24-3) and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (30-4-1) will face one another for the “interim” heavyweight title at UFC 81: “Breaking Point”. The event is set to take place on February 2 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fight was confirmed as expected during UFC 79, but in a bit of a surprise move by the UFC, this bout will be for the “interim” heavyweight title not the “vacant” heavyweight title.
This move clearly shows that the UFC is holding out hope that Couture may return to the Octagon at some point, which appears highly unlikely unless the UFC can agree to terms with M-1 to do a cross promotion involving a fight between Couture and Fedor Emelianenko.
As we reported previously (click here), Randy Couture has adamantly asserted his intention to turn down any offers to fight in the UFC whilst waiting out the remainder of his UFC contract (expiring in late 2008) in order to make a fight on his own with the highly regarded Emelianenko. A fight he has stated numerously as the only one he wants.
“I’m not giving up the Fedor fight,” said Couture. “I’m going to find a way to make the Fedor fight happen. I’m going to wait until my contract expires and find a way to make it happen without breaching my contracts.”