Of the 22 fighters testing their fates on Saturday night, three of them will be stepping into the Octagon for the first time — but don’t expect these guys to crack under the pressure. Read on to meet the MMA veterans and submission experts who will be trying to make dominant first impressions at "Ortiz vs. Griffin II"…
ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA (LHW)
Experience: 17-3 record, with notable victories over Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem (twice), Kazushi Sakuraba, and Vladimir Matyushenko (in January, which avenged his first career loss). Has won his last five fights, most recently submitting Dion Staring via triangle choke in May.
Will be facing: Luis Cane (10-1 with 1 no-contest, 3-1 UFC)
Lowdown: Whether you know him better as "Minotoro" or "Lil’ Nog," there’s a good chance you’re already aware of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira‘s twin brother. The 33-year-old veteran of PRIDE, Affliction, and Sengoku has had a decorated career dating back to March 2001, and is considered by many to be one of the ten best light-heavyweights in the world right now. Though Antonio Rogerio comes from a BJJ background like his bro (who he trains with at Black House), four of his last six wins have come via TKO, and he won a bronze medal in boxing at the 2007 Pan American Games. Minotoro hasn’t lost a fight since his shock-upset KO defeat against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou at PRIDE 33, nearly three years ago. Says Rogerio of his UFC debut: “For more than three years, UFC was my goal and now I’m just very happy to be here in the best event. The UFC has the best talent in the world, and I feel like now I’m going to be challenged like I’ve never been challenged before in my career…The fans can expect to see a very well-trained and well-prepared athlete who’s very focused and determined to win."
JACOB VOLKMANN (WW)
Experience: 9-0 record, primarily in Midwestern regional leagues. Most recently choked out Kevin Knabjian at Bellator 6 in May.
Will be facing: Paulo Thiago (11-1, 1-1 UFC)
Lowdown: A product of Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, Volkmann has an impressive grappling resume that includes three years as an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and a 2008 World Grappling Championship title at 80kg. Though his opponent Paulo Thiago was originally supposed to face Thiago Alves, Volkmann came in as a replacement when Alves was swapped into a fight against Jon Fitch. He got into MMA after meeting Sean Sherk at the University of Minnesota; Sherk asked Volkmann to help him prepare for his lightweight title defense against Hermes Franca in July 2007, and Volkmann made his professional debut later that year. His nickname, for some reason, is "Christmas." He grew up on a farm, and he’s a licensed chiropractor: "My whole family went to a chiropractor, so that’s how I got interested in it. My neck and back were always messed up from picking rocks, baling hay, moving pigs. I started seeing a chiropractor at six years old."
FABRICIO CAMOES (LW)
Experience: 10-4 record (six wins by first-round submission), with multiple appearances in Meca World Vale Tudo and ShoXC. Most recently submitted Torrance Taylor via rear-naked choke at Strikeforce Challengers Series 1 in May. Once defeated Mauro Chimento Jr., Luciano Azevedo, and Jean Silva in the same night.
Will be facing: Caol Uno (27-12-4, 3-4-1 UFC)
Lowdown: A second-degree BJJ black belt under Royler Gracie, the 30-year-old "Morango" Camoes hails from Rio de Janeiro, but currently trains out of The Arena in San Diego. His nickname, which means "strawberry," came from his childhood love of strawberry yogurt. He’s currently riding a seven-fight win streak. Though it’s not listed on official databases, Camoes claims his pro debut came in a vale tudo tournament where he defeated a fighter named Eliezer Ninja, then ate a 27-minute TKO loss (fatigue) at the hands of Anderson Silva. On his UFC debut, Camoes says: "Fighting a guy like Caol Uno is my chance to put my name on the map and to show everybody my skills, and just show I’m ready to fight against the best fighters in the world…I don’t see [me] losing that fight." Highlights from the early part of Camoes’s career are below.