The UFC made the official announcement today that MMA legends and former UFC champions Randy “The Natural” Couture will face Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009 in the main event at “UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira.”
The event, which will take place and air live on pay-per-view from the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore., will mark the UFC’s first foray into the Beaver State. Couture spent much of his athletic career in Oregon, helped establish Team Quest in Gresham, and worked as assistant wrestling coach at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
In a press release PRO MMA (promma.info) received today from the UFC, Couture spoke about being matched-up against “Big Nog” who is known for being one of the toughest fighters to finish in the sport, “Nogueira is the type of fighter that is dangerous everywhere. He’s difficult to knock out and he’s a world class jiu-jitsu player. I will have to train very diligently and very specifically for him. Also, the fact that I’m fighting in Oregon makes me want to put on a great show and win for these fans.”
“Minotauro,” the only fighter to ever hold both the PRIDE and UFC Heavyweight Titles, humbly commented on the bout, “I’m honored to face such a great fighter as Randy Couture. I wanted to fight him for some time now and I know to become a legend you have to beat a legend.”
Nogueira (31-5-1) was last inside the Octagon in Dec. 2008 when he lost the UFC Interim Heavyweight Title to Frank Mir (12-3) via 2nd round TKO. He has gone 2-1 since arriving in the UFC in 2007.
Couture (16-9-0) has one of the most misleading records in MMA. Although he has 16 wins and 9 losses, he has held the UFC Interim Light Heavyweight Title, the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, and has won the UFC Heavyweight Title on three separate occasions.
Most recently, Couture, lost the heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar (3-1) with a 2nd round TKO at UFC 91 last October.
UFC President Dana White talked about bringing this historic match-up between two genuine mixed martial arts icons to Oregon, “We’re extremely excited to be heading to Portland. When you get two mixed martial arts legends that are all heart and have wanted to fight each other for years, plus the fact that Randy has roots in Oregon, that tells me that not only will the crowd be electric but it’s also a night where the fighters will be looking to cement their legacies.”
Couture vs. Nogueira will truly mark a historic moment within the sport of MMA. Nogueira, now 33-years-old, is winding down his illustrious career, and Couture, who will be 46 when the bout takes place, most likely will retire once and for all by the end of 2009, or 2010 at latest.
Tickets for UFC 102 will go on sale Saturday, June 20 at 10 a.m. PT and will be priced at $600, $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50. Tickets can be purchased at the Rose Quarter Box Office (M-F 10 a.m.-5 p.m.), all participating Safeway/ TicketsWest outlets, by calling 877.789.ROSE (7673), or at ComcastTIX.com. For more information visit RoseQuarter.com.
The following bouts, though not officially announced by the UFC, are also expected to take place at “UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira:”
Demian Maia vs. Nate Marquardt
Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva
Matt Hamill vs. Brandon Vera
Chris Leben vs. Jake Rosholt
Wilson Gouveia vs. James Irvin
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Chris Tuchscherer
Nick Catone vs. Mark Munoz
Junior dos Santos vs. Justin McCully
Todd Duffee vs. Mike Russow
Evan Dunham vs. Matt Veach
By: Jack Bratcher