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A fixture on the mixed martial arts scene for the better part of two decades, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira appears to be nearing the conclusion of his combat sports journey.
Nogueira will return from a two-year layoff — much of it the result of a United States Anti-Doping Agency suspension — when he dukes it out with Sam Alvey in a light heavyweight feature at UFC Fight Night 137 on Saturday at Geraldo Jose de Almeida Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The 42-year-old Brazilian finds himself on shaky ground, as he has not competed since succumbing to punches from Ryan Bader in November 2016. Nogueira owns a 5-5 record in 10 appearances under the Ultimate Fighting Championship banner — a stay that has been marked by injury and inconsistency.
As “Minotouro” approaches his showdown with Alvey, here are five things you should know about him:
1. He has an identical twin who also excelled at mixed martial arts.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira established himself as one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time during a sensational career that started on June 12, 1999 and ended on Aug. 1, 2015. “Minotauro” captured the Pride Fighting Championship heavyweight title, engaged in a trilogy with the great Fedor Emelianenko and defeated a number of his contemporaries, including Mark Coleman, Dan Henderson, Semmy Schilt, Mirko Filipovic, Sergei Kharitonov, Fabricio Werdum, Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture.
2. He is an accomplished boxer.
Nogueira laid claim to a gold medal in boxing at the 2006 South American Games in Buenos Aires and won bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.
3. He discovered martial arts at a young age.
Nogueira started his formal martial arts training in judo at age 6 before moving on to Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other disciplines. He made his professional MMA debut at a Deep event on Aug. 18, 2001 in Yokohama, Japan.
4. Though he prefers to strike, “Minotouro” has put his grappling skills to use on a number of occasions.
The Black House representative has delivered six of his 22 career victories by submission: four by armbar, one by guillotine choke and one by triangle choke. However, Nogueira has not executed a submission since he throttled Dion Staring at a Jungle Fight event in 2009.
5. While not nearly as accomplished as his brother, Nogueira’s resume stands on its own.
Often operating in the shadow of his better-known sibling, “Minotouro” has carved out a legacy others will envy. It includes wins over Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem (twice), Vladimir Matyushenko and a pair of former UFC champions: Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz.