Tonight at UFC Fight Night 24: "Nogueira vs. Davis" (10 p.m. ET to be exact), former Pride FC standout Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will take on four-time All-American wrestler Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis in the main event.
All the hype has centered around Davis getting the job done and being an eventual contender for light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, with "Lil Nog's" abilities not getting much attention during the pre-fight promotion for the Spike TV event.
Nogueira has seen his highs and lows in the sport of mixed martial arts as a veteran of the game for a decade now. And even though Nogueira -- who has more than 20 professional MMA fights -- tasted defeat in his last bout against Ryan Bader, he has toppled several of the best light heavyweights on the planet throughout his career.
As for the former All-American, Davis has been perfect in his young MMA career thus far. The young, 27-year-old fighter has finished five of his eight opponents. And in his last fight, he captured "Submission of the Night" honors over Tim Boetsch at UFC 123.
Can Nogueira get his MMA career back on track? Or will "Mr. Wonderful" get the victory and take the first step toward building himself as the next great 205-pound contender?
Let's find out after the jump:
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Record: 19-4, 2-1 in the UFC
How he got here: The former Pride star and twin brother of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has amassed an impressive resume in both MMA and in amateur boxing. Back in 2007, the Brazilian placed third at the Pan American Games in the Sweet Science. In the 34-year-old's MMA career he has defeated the likes of Guy Mezger, Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson and Kazushi Sakuraba. In Nogueira's last fight, he dropped a unanimous decision to The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 8 light heavyweight winner, Ryan Bader.
How he gets it done: Known for being a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on top of having sharp boxing skills, some may think it will be a pick your poison for Davis. However, Nogueira's biggest weakness (wrestling) is Davis' biggest strength. Noguiera fights his best when he is striking with his opponents. The Brazilian, therefore, must keep the fight standing and sharpen his takedown defense, as he does not want to let Davis try to grind out a decision.
Record: 8-0 overall, 4-0 in the UFC
Key Losses: None
How he got here: The Chula Vista, Calif., native Phil Davis entered the MMA world being a four-time NCAA Division I All-American and having won the NCAA championship in 2008 at 197 pounds. "Mr. Wonderful" made his debut in the Octagon back at UFC 109 and dominated former WEC light heavyweight champion Brian Stann. From there, Davis kept his perfect record intact and earned three more victories in a row, including a "Submission of the Night" bonus in his last fight against Tim Boetsch.
How he gets it done: With a tremendous background in amateur wrestling, it'd be a shame for Davis to waste it, especially when his opponent Nogueira has shown problems with strong wrestlers. For Davis to win, he's going to have to takedown Nogueira early and often and make it ugly for Nogueira once he's on top. The former All-American wrestler cannot let Nogueira find his rhythm and will have to posture in Nogueira's guard and rain down punches.
Fight "X Factor:" I believe Nogueira's big fight experience is this fight's "X Factor." Davis just hasn't fought the same level of competition that Nogueira has yet, and Nogueira has dealt with powerful wrestlers before. Davis, meanwhile, has yet to fight anyone as well rounded as Nogueira and has yet to deal with anyone who is both proficient in boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Bottom Line: MMA pundits are putting a lot of stock in Davis and believe he's already going to be one of the next challengers for Jon Jones. However, as much promise as Davis has shown, I'm not sure if Davis is even close to ready for that. Nogueira is more than a formidable opponent for Davis, and I believe that Nogueira will shock the world and get back on track with a win. It's not going to be easy for the former Pride standout, but I believe that Nogueira will catch Davis with his superior boxing and Davis will score a takedown and leave himself vulnerable to Nogueira's dangerous guard.
Who will emerge victorious at UFC Fight Night 24? Let us know Maniacs!