by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira recently had to pull out of a scheduled fight against Brandon Vera at UFC 109. Though his ankle injury was severe enough to keep him off the Feb. 6 fight card, don’t be surprised if Nogueira surfaces again sometime in March or April.

Nogueira’s ankle had been giving him some trouble prior to his Nov. 21 fight with Luiz Cane. You’d have never had known it judging by his performance. He took out Cane by TKO inside the first two minutes of the opening round. The victory was Nogueira’s Octagon debut.

“His ankle was swollen for about a week after the fight,” his manager, Ed Soares, told MMAWeekly.com. “We thought it was just a sprain and would get better, but it just kept getting worse.”

Nogueira’s doctor advised him to avoid any strain on the ankle for at least three to four weeks. That would have left him just about three weeks to prepare for Vera, not what his camp deemed an appropriate amount of time for a quality opponent.

“After such a great performance and on the hurt ankle, he wants to heal it up since it is a lot more serious than we all expected,” said Soares, who indicated that Nogueira shouldn’t have to sit on the sideline for long.

Asked if Nogueira could be back in the Octagon as soon as the March 27 event in New Jersey, Soares replied, “We would love for the UFC to offer us something like that.”

His UFC 109 opponent, Brandon Vera, is expected to headline a March 21 event in Denver against Jon Jones, so it is unclear who Nogueira might face upon his return.