Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira left a lot of questions unanswered in the wake of his UFC 92 loss to Frank Mir. After the fight it was revealed that hed suffered from a staph infection during training, severe enough to land him in the hospital for five days. He insisted that the loss was entirely attributable to his illness. At UFC 102 from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, Big Nog made a compelling case that his loss to Mir was a definite aberration. Nogueira dominated a determined Randy Couture over three rounds, en route to a unanimous decision victory over the UFC Hall of Famer.
Nogueira entered the arena first to his usual entrance music of Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. Couture lived in suburban Gresham, Oregon for a number of years and trained at Team Quest before leaving to start Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Hes still a beloved figure in the Portland area, and his wide grin during Bruce Buffers introductions give the impression that he still has a lot of affection for his former hometown.
Despite the lopsided outcome of the fight, The Natural gave his fans plenty to cheer about. Though hes no longer able to outwork opponents and earn victories, hes still an amazing physical specimen for a 46 year old man. Furthermore, he still has the amazing toughness and resilience that made him a legend. He was knocked down twice, and came close to being choked out in each of the three rounds. In the first, he fought off a DArce Choke before Nogueira relented to conserve his energy. In the second, he worked out of a dangerous arm triangle choke and in the final frame withstood a ground and pound beating and a rear naked choke attempt.
Couture in no way embarrassed himself, but he never really threatened Nogueira either. The former PRIDE heavyweight champion looked every bit his old self, displaying a formidable standup game to compliment his top of the food chain groundfighting and submission skills. After the fight Nogueira expressed his respect for Couture and appreciation for the Portland fans before politely calling out current heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
Earlier in the event, Thiago Silva demonstrated why hes considered among the most underrated fighters in the UFC as he dismantled Keith Jardine. Silva perfectly countered one of Jardines kicks with a nasty straight right hand. He followed up with a quick ground punching barrage before the referee called a halt to the fight early in the first round.
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and highly respected authority on sports betting odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and betting odds portal sites. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.