Nelson in his losing effort against Daniel Cormier. Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Minotauro Nogueira vs. Nelson to Headline UFC’s Return To Abu Dhabi


A pivotal heavyweight clash is slated to headline the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, poised for later this year, though details about an official date and venue are undisclosed. This will mark the UFC’s second trip to the UAE after UFC 112, which was headlined by an unusual bout between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia. The event will be one of many ‘UFC Fight Night’ events set for this year, and continues UFC’s multinational scheme for 2014.

The fight will mark Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira’s first bout since a submission loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC on Fuel 10 in June 2013, while Nelson fought as recently as October in a losing effort against top contender Daniel Cormier. Granted, neither loss is an embarrassing one considering the standard of opponents, but both fighters will be doing all they can to get back on track and into the mix in the heavyweight division.

With a lack of contenders in the division, a win for either fighter could put them right back in the bundle, while a loss would be a real body blow for any future title shot hopes of the two veterans. Both fighters have been unable to get a shot at the title, though Nogueira has fought and won an interim title, though lost the belt to Frank Mir at UFC 92.

Nogueira has alternated wins and losses in his last six, after a three fight winning streak put him on route to a title shot. This inconsistency can be explained by the plethora of top ranked fighters he has fought, but also the setbacks he has had due to injury. A win over Nelson will bring his UFC record to 6-4, but he would still be a few top wins away from being back in the title discussion.

Roy Nelson is currently 6-5 in the UFC, though – like Nogueira – he has fought the creme de la creme of the UFC heavyweight division. With wins over Herman, Mitrione and Kongo, Nelson built some serious momentum and was just a couple of wins away from a shot at UFC gold, but that all changed at UFC 161. ‘Big Country’ accepted a short notice bout against Stipe Miocic, whose bout with Soa Palelei fell out, and lost a one-sided decision which put him back at the bottom of the ladder. After a second loss in a row, Nelson is now ranked #11, and a win over the #13 Nogueira may not be enough to put him in the top 10, but it could lead to another streak that rejuvenates his title hopes.

UFC Fight Night: Abu Dhabi is set for later this year, but details on venue and exact date are yet to be disclosed.

Tags: Abu Dhabi Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Roy Nelson