Former UFC interim heavyweight champion and mixed martial arts legend, Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira, is expected take on undefeated rising star Cain Velasquez at UFC 110, which is slated for the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 21, 2010.
While both parties were considering a UFC 109 bout for Feb. 6, the offer to receive top billing in the promotion's debut "down under" was ultimately more appealing and thus the deciding factor in agreeing to the new date of Feb. 21.
In fact, Nogueira and and Velasquez were originally going to hook 'em up as early as the UFC 108 main event on Jan. 2, 2010; however; "Big Nog" came down with a serious case of staph infection, which forced him to withdraw from the bout.
He clearly did not want to make the same mistake twice in a high profile and very important bout -- Nogueira revealed after his lopsided technical knockout loss to Frank Mir that he had been hospitalized several days prior to fight night with a severe staph infection.
It would be a huge mistake to take on a grinder like Velasquez at less than 100 percent ... especially when a potential number one division contender slot is up for grabs.
Here's what UFC President Dana White recently said about the importance of this match up:
"Nogueira vs. Velasquez is a great matchup between the present and the future of the heavyweight division. Nogueira showed in the Couture fight that he still has plenty left to offer at the top level of the game, and Velasquez was devastating in his win over Ben Rothwell, so with both guys in top form, we’re definitely going to see a number one contender emerge from this fight to take on the winner of the Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin title fight."
Nogueira is coming off a thrilling three-round unanimous decision victory over Randy Couture in the UFC 102 main event on Aug. 29. Velasquez most recently smashed Ben Rothwell via second round technical knockout at UFC 104 on Oct. 24.
UFC 110 is expected to feature a middleweight brawl between Michael Bisping and Wanderlei Silva in a bout that may have future title implications (especially with Dan Henderson being MIA). Welterweight scrappers Chris Lytle and Dong Hyun Kim are also scheduled to hook 'em up.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more updates on this still-developing fight card.
***Updated to reflect the new agreement of UFC 110 on Feb. 21 for the proposed bout.