UFC on FUEL TV 10 preview: Four burning questions going into ‘Nogueira vs. Werdum 2' in Brazil

Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting

Every time UFC puts on an event, speculation, questions and theories emerge about which fighters will perform ... or underperform. Will new contenders emerge? Will established ones fall? Where will the winners go? Which losers will still have a job on Monday? Who is healthy? Who is fighting injured? Anytime UFC athletes are set to enter the Octagon, questions swirl.

This Saturday night (June 8, 2013), the Octagon returns to Brazil for the second time in four weeks as UFC on FUEL TV 10: "Nogueira vs. Werdum 2" goes down from Ginasio Paulo Sarasate in Fortaleza, Ceara -- a city the organization will travel to for the first time.

An all-Brazilian Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight affair receives top billing at the international mixed martial arts (MMA) event, as former Pride and interim UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira meet opposing coach The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil 2 Fabricio Werdum for the second time in a rematch of a 2006 contest that "Minotauro" won by decision.

Although the event features one of the weaker fight cards of the year on paper outside of the main event, there are still several intriguing storylines to follow going into and coming out of the UFC's eighth show on Brazilian soil.

That being said, here are four burning questions going into UFC on FUEL TV 10: "Nogueira vs. Werdum" this weekend:

4. How Will Erick Silva Rebound From His First True UFC Defeat?
Even though Erick Silva officially has two losses on his UFC record, anyone who follows the sport knows his disqualification to Carlo Prater at UFC 142 was due to an incompetent decision by the referee and the Brazilian's first true UFC defeat came last October when he dropped a decision to now ex-UFC Welterweight contender Jon Fitch.

The fight with Fitch was a thrilling three-round battle that earned "Fight of the Night" honors for UFC 153. However, it was also an extremely grueling contest unlike anything Silva had gone through up to that point in his career.

Losing a war like that, especially considering how badly he was beat up in the third round, can change a fighter. For some the change is for the better -- others it's for worse. And when "Indio" steps in the cage against Jason High, we'll find out which way the loss to Fitch sent him.

Will the 28-year-old come out of the gate like a bat out of hell and try to erase the memories of his last fight? Or will he be cautious in fear of having two consecutive losses on his official record?

3. Can Rafael Cavalcante Make The Best Of His Fresh Start?
Looking over the UFC on FUEL TV 10 fight card there are a number of UFC newcomers and unfamiliar names. The UFC rookie with the highest profile bout on the card, though, is a man name Rafael Cavalcante, who meets Thiago Silva in the co-main event of the evening.

If you follow the sport closely, you will recognize Cavalcante as the man who fought seven times under the Strikeforce banner, highlighted by a knock out of Muhammed Lawal to win the now-defunct organization's Light Heavyweight title that he eventually lost to Dan Henderson.

A failed drug test in his and suspension stemming from his last fight against Mike Kyle has prevented the 32-year-old from making his UFC debut until now, however at UFC on FUEL TV 10, the Brazilian will finally get his chance to show what he's capable of.

Cavalcante is a 15-fight veteran of the sport who has finished his opponent in all 11 of his career victories. The native of Sao Paulo has tremendous knockout power with submission skills to boot. One year is a long time without a fight, but if Cavalcante used his layoff to improve his skills he could be even more dangerous than before.

If "Feijao" is able to return to active competition in top form, there could be a new name to take notice of in the light heavyweight division.

2. Is This Thiago Silva's Last Chance?
It wasn't all that long ago when Thiago Silva was viewed as one of the rising contenders in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. The Brazilian opened his UFC career with a 5-1 record, which all featured (technical) knockout or submission victories over the likes of Houston Alexander and Keith Jardine.

Silva's first four UFC fights showed he is a well-rounded fighter and a force to be reckoned with. Since then, though, Thiago has cooled off and his career has hit a decline. The 30-year-old is winless in his last four bouts, including two overturned wins as a result of positive tests for banned substances.

The Brazilian has been out of action since Nov. 2012 serving a suspension for a positive marijuana test following his UFC on FUEL TV 6 fight with Stanislav Nedkov and has only fought four times dating back to Jan. 2010.

When he's on his game, Silva possesses heavy hands and slick jiu-jitsu skills, and at UFC on FUEL TV 10 will have the chance to prove he still has what it takes to be one of the best 205-pound fighters in the world when he takes on former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante.

The bout with Cavalcante is a crossroads fight for Silva. Some say the UFC has already given him one too many chances, and if he loses it would be a five-fight winless drought, which would certainly be the kiss of death. On the flip side, as we've seen countless times before, it only takes one impressive performance to revive a fighter's career, and Silva has the chance to do that against a game opponent in "Feijao."

1. Which Veteran Heavyweight Will Take The Rematch?
An opportunity to become one of the top contenders in the UFC Heavyweight division is on the line in the main event when two of the world's top big men and opposing coaching on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil 2 square off for the second battle of their respective careers.

Former Pride and interim UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is scheduled to meet Fabricio Werdum in a five-round contest that will serve as a rematch to a 2006 Pride bout -- a contest Nogueira took by unanimous decision.

Much has changed since the first meeting between the two beloved Brazilians. At the time Nogueira was arguably at the height of his career while Werdum was still primarily a jiu-jitsu fighter looking to find his footing in MMA.
Fast-forward to 2013 and both men's careers have changed significantly.

Nogueira is on the tail end of his MMA career and at this point any fight could be his last while Werdum appears to finally be putting it all together and is viewed as a legitimate threat to current heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez due to his improved stand-up and world-class grappling skills.

Nogueira won the first fight fairly handily and after seven years it will be interesting to see how far each man has come and if the fight will play out in a similar fashion or differently from the first.

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