The UFC's 5 most memorable moments in Brazil
- The UFC has seen some unforgettable moments in Brazil over the years, but these are the 5 most memorable.
#4 Nogueira’s big comeback – UFC 153
October 2012’s UFC 153 was one of those seemingly cursed shows that just wouldn’t go right for the promotion, at least not at first. The initial main event was to see Jose Aldo defend his UFC Featherweight crown against Erik Koch, while the co-main was supposed to be a Light-Heavyweight clash between ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Glover Teixeira.
Both fights fell apart; first Koch withdrew with an injury and was replaced by Frankie Edgar, but soon after Aldo picked up an injury himself, scrapping the main event altogether. Meanwhile, ‘Rampage’ also withdrew, wrecking the co-main event. All seemed lost, until two Brazilian legends stepped in to save the day.
Suddenly, we had a main event of UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva facing veteran Stephan Bonnar in a Light-Heavyweight fight, and in the co-main? Ageing hero Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira made a surprising return to take on journeyman Dave Herman.
Both fighters won, but it was Nogueira’s victory that was more memorable; sure, Herman wasn’t the same caliber of opponent that ‘Minotauro’ had once beaten in PRIDE, but this wasn’t the same Nogueira, either. The former champion was returning from nearly a year on the shelf rehabbing a broken arm suffered at the hands of Frank Mir.
So to see ‘Minotauro’ looking fit and healthy again – taking punches like he’d once been able to before staging a comeback to submit Herman with a second round armbar – was pretty stirring, and when ‘Pee Wee’ finally tapped, the crowd in Rio De Janeiro threatened to blow the roof off the arena.
Little did the fans know that it would turn out to be the final win of Nogueira’s legendary career; ‘Minotauro’ retired in 2015 after 3 more losses, marking out the Herman victory as an even more noteworthy moment.