by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The list of UFC heavyweight title contenders may get a little shorter come Jan. 2… IF a bout between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cain Velasquez comes together. The fight is being worked on for UFC 108 in Las Vegas.
MMAWeekly.com sources on Wednesday initially confirmed that the bout, reported by Tatame.com as confirmed by “Nogueira’s manager” to SportTV, had been agreed to. Following our initial report, however, additional sources injected some skepticism into the situation.
It appears that certain parties involved want the bout to happen, while others do not, leaving its current status up in the air.
If it does take place, the winner between Nogueira and Velasquez would likely get the next shot at the UFC heavyweight championship.
After losing the interim UFC heavyweight title to Frank Mir at UFC 92, Nogueira (32-5-1) returned with an impressive victory over UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 102 in August. The win immediately put his name back in the hat of contenders to the belt currently held by Brock Lesnar.
Velasquez (7-0) is coming off a dominating TKO stoppage of Ben Rothwell at UFC 104. Three years into the sport, Velasquez has made a quick rise to the top of the heavyweight division with five of his victories taking place in the Octagon and only one having gone to a decision. Like Nogueira, he has also been mentioned as a contender.
Lesnar was scheduled to face Shane Carwin on Nov. 21 at UFC 106, but had to withdraw due to illness. Rescheduling the bout has been proposed for UFC 108, but apparently still suffering from flu-like symptoms, it is not yet clear if Lesnar will have enough time to prepare for a Jan. 2 date.
(UPDATE / 5:45 p.m. PT, Nov. 4 – Added new information that put the bout’s initial confirmation in doubt.)