by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who on Aug. 29 headlines UFC 102 against Randy Couture in Portland, Ore., says his twin brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, will soon step into the Octagon.
During a media teleconference call promoting the bout, Nogueira said talks had already taken place between UFC officials and Antonio Rogerio.
“They’ve already talked to him, they’re dealing with my brother,” said Antonio Rodrigo. “For sure he’s coming to the UFC.”
The fate of Antonio Rogerio, a light heavyweight, had been undetermined following the sudden end of Affliction Entertainment. In January, he defeated former UFC contender Vladimir Matyushenko at Affliction “Day of Reckoning,” the second fight of a three-fight obligation. In his debut, he defeated “Ultimate Fighter” season four alum Edwin Dewees by TKO at last July’s “Banned.”
In late July, the UFC struck a deal with Affliction to cease promoting events in exchange for a sponsorship deal that reversed a ban on UFC fighters wearing Affliction apparel. As part of the deal, several Affliction fighters’ contracts were transferred to the UFC, including Vitor Belfort, Ben Rothwell, Chase Gormley, and Gilbert Yvel, among others, though a complete roster of the transfers was never disclosed officially.
On Monday, Strikeforce Director of Communications Mike Afromowitz told MMAWeekly.com that Antonio Rogerio had not been signed to his promotion, and believed he was UFC bound.
Antonio Rodrigo expected his brother to make his UFC debut by the end of the year, and expected an announcement from the promotion shortly.
MMAWeekly.com was later able to reach the Nogueira brothers’ manager, Ed Soares, who fell short of saying that Antonio Rogerio would fight in the UFC, but did say, “We’re in positive negotiations (with them).”
He also confirmed that a planned bout against Alex Stiebling on the Sept. 12 Bitetti Combat event in Brazil had been cancelled.
(Updated 8/18/09 at 1:30 p.m. PT – Added comments from Nogueira brothers’ manager.)