Announced on October 30, the head coaching positions for the second season of “TUF: Brazil” have been assigned. Assigned to coach opposite of each other will be former PrideFC & former UFC interim Heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and contender Fabricio Werdum, whom will fight each other in a rematch at an event that has yet to be named. The two first fought each other in July 2006 where they met in the quarterfinals of the PrideFC Openweight grand prix, where Nogueira was the one to leave victorious via Unanimous Decision. This will be Nogueira’s second time coaching on a season of TUF having previously coached opposite of Frank Mir during the show’s eighth season.
The first season of TUF to ever be conducted outside of its home base in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, TUF: Brazil was a hit as it delivered delving into the stories of the all Brazilian cast who hoped to make history. Not only was this the first TUF to be hosted in the sport’s native homeland, but the assigned coaches were also major homeland favorites as former Light Heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort was matched against former PrideFC Middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva. The first season featured two competing weight classes at Featherweight and Middleweight. Though the finals for both weight classes failed to deliver in terms of action as compared to that showcased during the season, the show overall was a success among the native audience in Brazil.
For this upcoming season of TUF: Brazil 2 that will debut in March of next year, the featured weight classes will include the Lightweight and Welterweight divisions. Following the first season that pitted two rivaled veterans against each other for a rematch, this season will honor the country’s prized martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as both coaches are two of the Heavyweight division’s most recognized specialists in this art go head to head as coaches leading up to an eventual rematch between the two.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Record=34-7-1(1) (5-3 UFC), Height-6’3”, Reach-77”, MMA Accomplishment-WEF HW Superfight champion, RINGS King of Kings 2000 Tournament champion, inaugural PrideFC HW champion, former PrideFC interim HW champion, 2004 PrideFC HW grand prix runner-up, 2006 PrideFC Openweight grand prix semifinalist, former UFC interim HW champion.
Fabricio Werdum: Record=16-5-1 (4-2 UFC), Height-6’4”, Reach-77”, MMA Accomplishments-4x Upset of the Year/5x Submission of the Year winner for victory over Fedor Emelianenko, first fighter to earn a decisive stoppage victory over Fedor Emelianenko; BJJ Accomplishments-13x IBJJF medalist (8 gold, 2 sliver, 3 bronze) and 6x ADCC medalist (2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).
Entering their first meeting with an already decorated record of 27-3-1(1), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was already a well known veteran having won the WEF Heavyweight Superfight championship, the RING King of Kings 2000 Tournament and was the inaugural PrideFC Heavyweight champion. Leaving the victor over Werdum, Nogueira went on 1-1 in his next two bouts firs losing to and then defeating former UFC Heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. Signing to the UFC in 2007 he went 2-0 first defeating Heath Herring a second time and next submitting former champion Tim Sylvia to become the interim champion. While one of the best Heavyweights the sport has ever seen, Nogueira unfortunately has gone back and forth between wins and losses. Since December 2008 Nogueira has gone 3-3 firs losing his interim title to former champion Frank Mir who became the first defeat him via (T)KO in Rnd2, defeated former 5x UFC champion Randy Couture via Unanimous Decision, lost to future champion Cain Velasquez who was the second to defeat him via (T)KO in Rnd1, earned a Rnd1 KO over TUF10 finalist Brendan Schaub in surprisingly his first ever fight in his homeland of Brazil, next losing to Mir again this time being submitted for the first time ever in his career, and most recently earned a Rnd2 Submission victory over Dave Herman who believed BJJ was a “myth”. Now matched against an opponent in Werdum whom he has already earned a victory over before and also being able to utilize this extra time as coach during this season of TUF to heal up from recent nagging injuries, Nogueira looks to break the unfortunate rut he has been in while also mentoring potential prospects who aspire earn a reputation that would rival his own.
Entering their first meeting with a young record of 8-1-1 that already included stoppage wins over future big names Gabriel Gonzaga (then a future UFC title challenger) and Alistair Overeem (then future Strikeforce/Dream/K-1 champion), Fabricio Werdum was known more for his decorated background in BJJ competitions that included 13 IBJJF medals (8 gold, 2 sliver, 3 bronze) and 3 ADCC medals (1 silver, 2 bronze). Entering the Nogueira bout on a two fight win streak, his streak was snapped as he left the ring with a second loss added to his record. After defeating Alexander Emelianenko, younger brother to famed Heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, Werdum was also signed to the UFC in 2007. During his first stint with the UFC he went 2-2 debuting against former champion Andrei Arlovski losing via Unanimous Decision, earning TKO stoppages over Gonzaga in a rematch and former WEC champion Brandon Vera, and suffered a devastating Rnd1 KO loss to future champion Junior dos Santos. Released following the loss to Dos Santos, he was next signed with #2 American MMA promotion Strikeforce where he went 3-1. First earning a three fight win streak with a Rnd1 Submission over Mike Kyle, taking a Unanimous Decision over Antonio Silva, and next becoming the first fighter to earn a deceiver victory over Fedor Emelianenko with a Rnd1 Submission that snapped a 29 fight unbeaten streak that spanned from April 2001. Joining the promotion’s first and only Heavyweight grand prix, Werdum lost a controversial Unanimous Decision in the quarterfinals in a rematch with Overeem. Next resigning with the UFC after Strikeforce was bout by Zuffa, Werdum has now gone 2-0 in his second stint with the promotion first earning an impressive Unanimous Decision over TUF10 winner Roy Nelson and snapping an 11 fight win streak for Mike Russow with a Rnd1 TKO stoppage. Now a more recognized name in the sport and an even better well rounded fighter than the Werdum that first fought Nogueira more than six years ago, Werdum looks to build on the growing celebrity status he has developed in his native Brazil coaching on TUF that will be broadcasted widely across his homeland.
Written by @MMAFANHQ