Brazilian MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira recently spoke with Tatame.com in regards to the upcoming fight between his pupil, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and his former training partner Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort (props to FightersOnly.com for the translation).
“Vitor is a guy with very good striking, good on the floor, good in wrestling, is complete. Anderson is a genius of the sport with rage, heart – a real showman,” Minotauro said.
Nogueira pointed to Silva’s “it-factor” as being what separates him from his opponents and has kept him champion through seven title defenses. “The Spider” has shown time and again that he possesses a deadly combination of creativeness, uncanny fighting ability (both trained and natural) and a willingness to employ out-of-the-box techniques without hesitancy that often leaves his opponents floundering; this is what Nogueira believes gives Silva an edge.
“He can do a little more than the other fighters do and always has a trick in the sleeve and knows how to use it very well,” he said.
Regardless of the eventual outcome of the bout, Nogueira predicts an exciting bout that will leave MMA fans satisfied, but he told Tatame that he is unsurprisingly pulling for a Silva victory.
“The public will enjoy this fight and I will be in the front row,” Nogueira said. “I already was team mate of both but now I am Anderson’s partner and root for him. I came to Brazil to find a way to help his training.”
Silva and Belfort will square off in the main event of UFC 126 this February 5th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.