UFC Fight Island: Nogueira determined to bow out on a high
Nogueira hopes to sign off on a winning note
The final showdown of the UFC Fight Island got official status on Friday as the main card fighters made weights and faced off. Spicing things up in the run-up to Sunday's main event, both main card fighters - former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and No. 5 ranked Darren Till - posed inside the octagon placed on the beach.
While the main card is a springboard to the middleweight championship hopes, the co-main event is a non-title affair. But it's going to be an emotionally charged encounter.
Rogerio Nogueira, the former UFC Light heavyweight champion, will enter the steel cage for the last time. The 44-year-old Brazilian will cap his 20-year MMA career with his final attempt to thump fellow countryman and rival, Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua.
The two have met before in 2005 and 2015, with Rua claiming wins via unanimous decisions. The duo have a Fight of the Night to their name and Sunday's co-event is the last one of the trilogy.
Nogueira, the veteran, is confident that both the fighters will live up to the billing.
"This is a special moment. I will be fighting Mauricio for the third time. We fought the best fight in the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. So we are going to do our best to create a good impression like we did in 2005. And in 2015 we made a very good fight too. We have a good chance to show that we are alive. My plan is a good fight. This is a good time to stop. This will be my last one," Nogueira told reporters ahead of the clash.
"I have been thinking about retirement for the last three months. I have three kids. I have struggled in the past few years with injuries and ended up cancelling fights."
Nogueira hopes to sign off on a winning note and improve his 23-9 win-loss record.
Meanwhile, Rua said he respects Nogueira and will put up a tough fight.
"Nogueira is a legend. He is a good fighter and boxer. I know this fight is very important for him. I am excited and motivated. I am focused. I have trained a lot," the 38-year-old said and added that he would retire after 3-4 more fights.
The co-main event has all the right ingredients to produce a melting pot of action inside Flash Forum on Yas Island for the season finale.
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