by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com
Unarguably one of the busiest men in the business, Los Angeles’ own Ed Soares manages a who’s who of MMA talent. Some of the most recognized fighters of our era call Soares manager and friend.
After a short-lived stint with the WEC, former middleweight champion Paulo Filho has been out of action since his lone loss to current UFC fighter Chael Sonnen, in what was mired in confusion, as Filho appeared to be talking to himself within the Octagon during the fight.
Now after having overcome his demons and back on track, the still valued middleweight fighter is set to make his return soon, but where? “Right now we’re in negotiations with some different organizations, but I believe he’ll be fighting by summertime somewhere,” explained Soares.
Previously reported to be in negotiations with the new Bellator Fighting Championships organization, it appears the possibility of Filho fighting there is a no go. “The contract (Bellator) was offering was too restrictive. It was unreasonable.”
Seemingly destined to join the UFC ranks once the WEC did away with its shallow middleweight and light heavyweight classes, Filho was not picked by the promotion after his last performance. Soares, however, chooses to remain confident in the decisions made by the UFC brass and looks forward to future endeavors with his client. “It’s very clear that Zuffa and the UFC, they’re the guys. Whoever says they aren’t, are in denial. Of course we would like to be back there, but right now we take it one fight at a time.”
Former Pride and UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira is returning Aug. 29 against Randy Couture. As of now, the fight is UFC 102’s main event, likely to be held in Portland, Ore. After suffering his lone TKO loss to current interim champ Frank Mir this past December, Nogueira has undergone surgery and appears to be back in good spirits.
“He’s started training. His knee feels great, better than before,” said Soares. “He had knee surgery and it’s recovered well. He’ll be up in Canada with Anderson (Silva at UFC 97) and then everyone is coming back at L.A. because we just opened up a training facility called Black House.”
Twin brother Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has been successful as of late, riding a four-fight win streak, his last performance being against the first man to defeat him in Vladimir Matyushenko at Affliction: Day of Reckoning this past January. Though still waiting on an opponent to be announced for his next fight under the Affliction banner, Rogerio appears to have some room to field some offers. “He fought for Sengoku too, so we’re hoping an opportunity comes up soon, but we’re in talks with a few people also.”
One of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport today, Anderson Silva has garnered his fair share of criticism as of late. Though most fans were critical of his last performance at UFC 90 this past October against hard nosed Canadian Patrick Cote, Soares believes that fans tend to favor knockouts rather than technique and the intricacies of MMA.
“People are expecting him to come in and knock people’s heads off in the first round. So now all of the sudden people are questioning who Anderson Silva is, because he went to the third round? It’s a five-round fight. He hasn’t even went half the fight in the UFC. Not even half the time allowed,” explained Silva’s’ manager.
With the past behind him, Silva has completed his training camp, winding down in preparation for his fifth title defense, against fellow Brazilian Thales Leites at UFC 97. All the hard training is done, and the prize is the fight inside the Octagon. “The training is done. There’s nothing that’s going to be figured out in this last week that he hasn’t already prepared himself. Now it’s just relax, let the body recuperate, and be ready to put on a world class performance like he always does on April 18.”