The heavyweights are coming to Brazil. The card that was previously reported to take place January 19th in Brazil will now have a pair of heavyweight stalwarts in Ben Rothwell and Gabriel Gonzaga. Both fighters are coming off injuries, but they are also coming off wins that in a way revitalized their perspective careers. With a win one will continue their climb up the ladder, but with a loss the other will fall off and his career may just about to wind down.
Rothwell was a complete monster back in the IFL days where he rattled off nine straight wins. Unfortunately, a knockout loss to Andrei Arlovski set him back, he lost his first fight in the UFC to a future champion in Cain Velasquez, and was ironically beaten in a battle of endurance with Mark Hunt. That fight and an extended layoff made him revamp his training, and he came back in shape and ready to reattain the career he started in the IFL. He proved he was ready to do so with a knockout over Brendan Schaub in a little over a minute. Rothwell has a chance to keep the momentum going with a win over a former title challenger in Gonzaga.
Gabriel Gonzaga was once considered a true title contender. His great jiu jitsu, proven knockout power with a win over Cro Cop when it mattered, and good endurance for a heavyweight allowed him to fight for the title. That was title fight started a tail spin in his career where he went 3-5 before being let go from the UFC. He professed retirement after being let go, but an arm triangle, a late replacement, and the chance to fight in Brazil lead him back to the company. It has been a year since his return when he earned a first round submission win. He will look to make it two straight in the octagon and in his home country come this January.