Former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight ruler Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will return to the Octagon at UFC 149, according to UFC President Dana White, who announced early Wednesday morning that “Minotauro” will square off with Cheick Kongo at the July 21 event.
UFC 149 takes place at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, and also features a welterweight contest between Thiago Alves and Yoshihiro Akiyama. The event was initially expected to be headlined by a Jose Aldo featherweight title defense, but it now appears that “Scarface” may instead defend his belt one month earlier at UFC 147 in Brazil.
Nogueira debuted with the UFC in 2007 following a highly successful stint in Japan, earning a 4-3 Octagon record and winning the Las Vegas-based promotion’s interim heavyweight title in 2008.
The Brazilian was last competed on Dec. 10 in a rematch with Frank Mir at UFC 140. Though the 35-year-old appeared well on his way to avenging his 2008 loss to Mir, the American turned the tables quickly and caught Nogueira in a kimura, breaking his arm just above the elbow. Now recovered from surgery to repair the break, Nogueira meets Kongo in his 43rd career outing.
Kongo, meanwhile, has fought for the UFC 16 times, going 3-1-1 in his last five appearances. The Frenchman fought twice last year, earning a shocking, come-from-behind knockout over Pat Barry in June before outpointing Matt Mitrione in October. Most recently, Kongo was upset by heavy-handed Pride veteran Mark Hunt, who finished Kongo in just 2:11 on Feb. 26 at UFC 144.