Injury forces ‘Little Nog’ off April card
An injury has forced a change in the main event of the UFC’s Sweden debut next month.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is out of his main event light heavyweight fight against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fuel TV 2. Stepping in to replace him is Thiago Silva, who will fight for the first time in more than a year.
UFC officials announced the switch Tuesday, saying “Lil’ Nog” had suffered a knee injury training for the fight. The new card, expected to be called UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs. Silva, will take place at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Gustafsson is one of the country’s most popular fighters.
Silva (14-2, 1 NC, 5-2 UFC) has been out of action since UFC 125 on Jan. 1, 2011. In that fight, he dominated Brandon Vera for a unanimous decision victory. But after the fight, he tested positive for steroids and was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Silva had been booked for a rematch with Vera on May 15 at a UFC on FX event in Virginia. But an injury forced Vera out of that fight and Silva was left waiting for a replacement fight.
Gustafsson (13-1, 5-1 UFC) is coming off a dominant first-round TKO win over Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC 141. The 6-foot-5-inch 24-year-old has drawn comparisons to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and many believe Gustafsson is only a couple of wins away from a possible title shot. He has finished all five of his UFC wins, including a TKO of Matt Hamill and rear naked choke submissions of James Te Huna and Cyrille Diabate. His only loss came to 205-pound contender Phil Davis at UFC 112, a first-round anacdona choke, which remains his only career setback.
Nogueira (20-5, 3-2 UFC) got back in the win column with a TKO victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 140 in Toronto. That win snapped a two-fight skid for “Lil’ Nog” that saw him lose unanimous decisions to Davis and Ryan Bader. Prior to that, Nogueira won a controversial split decision over Jason Brilz at UFC 114 and scored a TKO in his UFC debut against Luiz Cane. The former Pride star boasts two wins over top heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem and a submission of Dan Henderson on his record.