It appears Gabriel Gonzaga will be fighting in his home country after all.
At UFC 153 this past October, Gonzaga was supposed to square off with fellow countryman, Geronimo "Mondragon" Dos Santos. Unfortunately, that fight fell through when Dos Santos had to pull out due to injury, leaving "Napao's" appearance on the Brazilian card in question.
Gonzaga did not get a fight at the event, but has instead received a fresh booking for a Brazilian show this January. It was reported by MMA Weekly that he will be battling Ben Rothwell in a heavyweight contest at the event set for January 19th.
Gabriel Gonzaga, a high-level jiu jitsu fighter, has had a very up and down mixed martial arts career. He burst onto the scene in 2007 with a shocking head kick knockout of the head kicker Mirko Cro Cop, which was good enough to earn him a UFC title shot against then-champion Randy Couture. After that loss, Gonzaga's career spiraled, never again being able to put together more than two wins in a row, and finally culminating with a cut from the UFC in 2010.
Since his release, Gonzaga went on to defeat Parker Porter by arm triangle, which was enough to get him back in the promotion's good graces. In his return fight at UFC 134, "Napao" dispatched Ednaldo Oliveira with relative ease, earning a first round submission victory over the debutee. With a win in his next bout, Gonzaga will have put together his first three fight winning streak since 2007.
Ben Rothwell has fought many notable heavyweights throughout his lengthy career, including Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Ricco Rodriguez, Cain Velasquez, and Mark Hunt. He's also fought in a wide variety promotions like the IFL, Affliction, and King of the Cage before his current UFC run.
Rothwell has fought professionally for over 11 years, and even contemplated retirement following an embarrassing loss to Mark Hunt, but after his amazing come-from-behind knockout victory over Brendan Schaub at UFC 145, he revealed that the fans are what has kept him in the sport. He'll be looking to keep up his current momentum against the battle-tested Gonzaga in January.
Who's your early favorite, Maniacs?