The next UFC event is set to take place on Saturday, April 11, with the UFC’s first return to Abu Dhabi since their inaugural event there in 2010 at UFC 112. The UFC Fight Night 39 event will be headlined by the heavyweight clash between MMA heavyweight legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and TUF 10 winner Roy Nelson.
The event will air on the UFC Fight Pass subscription service with preliminary fights beginning at 11:50 a.m. ET, and the main card beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Let’s take a look at the three biggest questions heading into the event:
Does Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira call it a career with a loss against Roy Nelson?
Nogueira is one of the best MMA heavyweights of all time and arguably the second best ever behind Fedor Emelianenko. He hasn’t fought since suffering a second round submission loss to Fabricio Werdum in June 2013. Nogueira is (3-3) in the UFC since 2009, and has fought sparingly over the past few years. In fact, the only year he fought more than once since 2009 was 2011 where he fought twice that year. Nogueira has a chance to pull off the upset over Nelson if he can get the fight into the later rounds since Nelson’s cardio is sort of suspect. However, if Nelson lands that huge right hand it could result in the third TKO/KO loss of Nogueira’s long storied career. It probably depends on how he looks during the fight and the method more than anything when it comes to him possibly calling it a career of the UFC sort of forcing him to retire.
Can Tatsuya Kawajiri continue his career rebirth at featherweight with a win over Clay Guida?
Kawajiri made his successful UFC debut in January with a second round submission win over Sean Soriano. It was Kawajiri’s fifth consecutive win since dropping down to the featherweight division, and his fourth submission win over that same time frame. Kawajiri has been one of the best Japanese fighters in the world for a long time, and time could be running short with him turning 36 years old next month. However, Guida has lost three of his last four fights and arguably lost the decision to Hatsu Hioki that was credited as a win during that streak. He hasn’t fought since getting blitzed via TKO against Chad Mendes at UFC 164 which was the first time he had been stopped via TKO in his career. Kawajiri is the slight betting favorite, but Guida always finds a way to make fights razor close because of his fighting style.
Can Jared Rosholt make a name for himself in the heavyweight division with a win over Daniel Omielańczuk?
The former Oklahoma State wrestler made his successful UFC debut in his last outing with a three round unanimous decision win over Walt Harris in November 2013. He was a three time All-American and 2010 national runner-up, and has the size to match most of the heavyweights on the UFC roster. He is the betting favorite over Daniel Omielańczuk, and a win here would certainly put him in the category of someone to keep an eye on since the heavyweight division is so thin when it comes to top talent.
All in all, there will be nine fights for our viewing pleasuring and I think these fights will probably deliver. I wonder what the audience will be like as this will be an outdoor event? The last Abu Dhabi event had just over 11,000 fans there, but that card was stacked with two title fights and a strong supporting cast with Matt Hughes facing Renzo Gracie. Which fight are you most looking forward too?