UFC champions Nogueira, Silva partnering on fight academy in downtown Miami

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UFC champions Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira and Anderson "Spider" Silva of Brazil have moved to South Florida to open a mixed martial arts academy in downtown Miami.

Nogueira and Silva Mixed Martial Arts Academy is the first academy headed by two current UFC champions. The pair plan on training together, giving seminars and teaching adults and children of all ages and ability levels.

Like they do in Brazil, the academy's pro fighters will also work with underprivileged children, ages 4-14. In Brazil, Nogueira works with 160 kids, he said.

Nogueira, 31, is the only man to hold the UFC and PRIDE Fighting heavyweight titles simultaneously. At UFC 81 he knocked off 6-foot-8, 260-pound slugger Tim Sylvia for the title. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt took Sylvia down and moments later forced him to submit using a deep guillotine anaconda choke.

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Silva has beaten everyone in the UFC middleweight division. Silva, a dangerous striker, showed off his jiu-jitsu at UFC 82, submitting former PRIDE middleweight champion Dan Henderson with a rear naked choke in the second round. It was Silva's third defense of his UFC belt. Silva hasn't been forced to a third round since 2004.

The longtime friends and training partners, who already have academies in Brazil and Dallas, said the timing is right to come to South Florida.

"The sport is growing here now and is a hotbed for mixed martial arts. … Big things are growing here," Nogueira said. "This has been a dream to open an academy together here.

"This is a good area and the weather is very good. In Miami, you can walk in the street and see people. It's like Brazil. This is the right time and right place. This is the biggest time right now, in America, for this sport."

The 15,000 square-foot academy includes a training cage and is located inside Johnny Rock Fitness at 90 SW 8th St., off Brickell Avenue. Nogueira, whose mother and sister live in Pompano Beach, will call Miami his second home. He plans on buying a condo close to the academy where he also plans to train for his fights.

Nogueira said his next fight may be in August against an opponent still to be determined.

The academy's grand opening and open house is set for May 16. Nogueira, Silva and other instructors will conduct a seminar, What It Takes To Be A Champion on May 17 at 2 p.m.

South American champion Daniel Valverde, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo will also be part of the coaching staff. Valverde has been working with Nogueira at The Fight Club. Nogueira's twin brother, Antonio Rogerio, is expected to join him next summer. For information call Juliana Nogueira at 305-200-2789.

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UPCOMING LOCAL MIXED MARTIAL ARTS EVENTS
MAY 17: Nogueira and Silva Mixed Martial Arts Academy Seminar, 90 SW 8th St., Miami, 2 p.m.

MAY 24: Warriors Collide 5, War Memorial Auditorium, Fort Lauderdale, 6 p.m.

JUNE 7-8: NAGA International Grappling Championships, FAU, 10:30 a.m.



TV HIGHLIGHTS
WEDNESDAY: UFC Unleashed, 9 p.m. and The Ultimate Fighter, 10 p.m., Spike

THURSDAY: The Ultimate Fighter, 11 p.m., Spike

FRIDAY: Ultimate Knockouts 2, 9 p.m., Spike; Ultimate Knockouts 4, 10 p.m., Spike; Iron Ring, 10:30 p.m., BET

SATURDAY: Ultimate Knockouts, 3 p.m., Spike; Ultimate Knockouts 4, 4 p.m., Spike; Ultimate Fighter Marathon, 5 p.m., Spike; Strikeforce On NBC, 2 a.m.

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