By the Numbers
Cutting weight has never been Anthony Johnson's strong point. When Anthony Johnson agrees to fight at a given weight, he's usually a baby or two over when it comes time. Now that he has gained the motivation necessary to improve his self-discipline, his skillset has grown tremendously. With 11 wins by knockout and a powerful wrestling base, Johnson is looking to be the second person to put Nogueira to sleep.
Nogueira has been out since his February 2013 upset over Rashad Evans. At 21-5, Lil' Nog has had numerous opportunities to make a big splash in the light heavyweight division, but injuries have kept him out of the key matches. Nogueira brings 6 wins by KO and 6 by sub.
What's at Stake
Antonio Nogueira is a +454 underdog going into this fight. In other words, the general perception at present standing is that he's food for the rising contender. This is seen as such a freebie that Johnson has to win it. Nogueira doesn't even need a win here, he just needs to not be destroyed. If Nogueira does pull the upset, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a rematch against Gus depending on what happens with his injury and the title.
Road to Victory
Johnson's striking has improved since his first run in the UFC, but it might not be enough to go against a boxer of Nogueira's caliber. If Nog gets comfortable, in a rhythm, and successfully use the jab to keep Johnson from pressing too close, he might be able to pick him apart like he he did Rashad Evans. That's a big if, though. Johnson will be attacking and looking to stay in Nogueira's face. Johnson has a very good chance at winning this one on the ground, but he's also most susceptible here. Three of four of Johnson's losses come in the form of rear naked chokes, and Nogueira's BJJ is legendary. His is slightly less legendary than his brother's, but he can still wrap you up like a golden fleece.