After undergoing surgery on his hip and both of his knees, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira will return to the cage for the first time in eighteen months to face fast-rising heavyweight prospect Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will be the first fight for “Big Nog” since suffering a loss to current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez via first-round knockout at UFC 110 in February of 2010.
Nogueira faces a difficult challenge in Schaub, who has gone on a four-fight winning streak since losing by knockout to Roy Nelson in his UFC debut. Schaub last fought at UFC 128 in March, where he knocked out Pride FC veteran Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in the third round.
The heavyweight scrap may even have title implications, as UFC President Dana White stated at yesterday’s UFC: Rio press conference that the winner of the fight will be “in the mix” of the division.
“This is a big fight in the heavyweight division,” said White. “We just saw what happened last week with Junior dos Santos. He won his fight and will now face Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight championship. The winner of this fight between Big Nog and Brendan Schaub puts one of these guys right in the mix of the heavyweight division.”
UFC Rio will take place on August 27, 2011 from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A UFC middleweight championship fight between reigning king Anderson Silva and top contender Yushin Okami headlines the card. It is the first time that that the organization has hosted an event in Brazil since UFC 17.5: Ultimate Brazil in 1998.