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December 20, 2014

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Couture, Nogueira official for UFC 102 in August

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Steve Marcus

UFC heavyweights Randy Couture, left, and Brock Lesnar put up their dukes during a news conference Thursday at the MGM Grand. Their title bout today is a clash of fighters in different career phases, with Couture, 45, a three-time heavyweight champ and an icon of the sport and Lesnar, 31, a relative newcomer to mixed martial arts and the UFC.

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Antonio Nogueira walks toward the Octagon on Saturday night for his interim heavyweight title fight with Frank Mir at UFC 92.

The long-rumored homecoming for Randy “The Natural” Couture was made official by the UFC on Monday.

The 45-year-old former heavyweight and light heavyweight champ will take on Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira at UFC 102 on Aug. 29 in Portland, Ore.

“We’re extremely excited to be heading to Portland,” said UFC president Dana White, of the UFC’s first promotion to the Pacific Northwest.

“When you get two mixed martial arts legends that are all heart and have wanted to fight each other for years, plus the fact that Randy has roots in Oregon, that tells me that not only will the crowd be electric but it’s also a night where the fighters will be looking to cement their legacies.”

Indeed, both UFC superstars are coming off tough losses, but the event will be extra special for Couture, a native of Everett, Wash. — who also coached wrestling at Oregon State.

“Nogueira is the type of fighter that is dangerous everywhere,” said Couture, who lost his heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 in November.

“He’s difficult to knock out and he’s a world class jiu-jitsu player. I will have to train very diligently and very specifically for him. Also, the fact that I’m fighting in Oregon makes me want to put on a great show and win for these fans.”

Nogueira, the only man to hold the PRIDE and UFC heavyweight belts, is also on the rebound, suffering his first career knockout via the hands of Las Vegas native Frank Mir at UFC 92 in December.

“I’m honored to face such a great fighter as Randy Couture,” Nogueira said. “I wanted to fight him for some time now and I know to become a legend you have to beat a legend.”

Tickets for UFC 102 will go on sale Saturday, June 20, at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at the Rose Quarter Box Office (M-F 10 a.m.-5 p.m at 877.789.ROSE (7673) or at rosequarter.com.

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