Heavyweights Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum have been officially announced as head coaches for the second season of the reality show The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, and the date for the showdown between the two stars has been set: June 8, somewhere in Brazil. Shooting of the show will likely only begin after January.
Minotauro, a native of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia but sponsored by Southern Brazilian team Internacional, spoke about his scheduled tussle with Werdum, a southerner who happens to cheer for the crosstown rivals, Gremio. According to Minotauro, it would be a dream come true if the TUF Brazil 2 final were to be held at Fonte Nova arena, in Bahia, his birth state.
“Rio is my lucky arena, isn’t it? Having the crowd and Team Nogueira there helps,” the onetime heavyweight champion says on the blog that he keeps on MSN website.
In his post, he praises his opponent:
“Werdum has improved a lot,” he says, adding: “He beat Roy Nelson and Mike Russow, two meaningful wins in the UFC, and the fact that he’s a fighter coming up the ranks just motivates me more for this fight.”
The two stars have already faced off once before, at now-defunct Japanese event Pride FC in 2006, on which occasion Rodrigo won a unanimous decision based on solid, hard-hitting boxing. Werdum managed to land some well-timed takedowns and even tried some submissions, but Mino, who was on top for most of the time, punished him from within his guard.
Minotauro didn’t want to address tactics, but he did bring up the first encounter:
“I’m going to watch some tape on him, so the team and I can look at a strategy,” says the MMA legend. “Our fight [at Pride FC] was a long time ago. I did better standing, since I’d started boxing a lot earlier than he did. Later on, he went to train at Chute Boxe and got a lot better. But on the ground we were even. He has really good Jiu-Jitsu, so I’m going to train a lot of grappling with my team, Ramon Lemos and Everaldo Penco,” Rodrigo adds.
He also reveals the names of some of the trainers who may help him prepare the up-and-coming welterweights he will be guiding as coach, a role he says he wants to excel at: Eric Albarracin, Everaldo Penco, Ramon Lemos, Erivan Conceição and Luiz Carlos Dórea.
What do you say, gentle Jiu-Jitsu lover? What do you expect from Minotauro vs. Werdum part 2? Lots of standup or mostly Jiu-Jitsu?