Besides the loser facing retirement questions, the biggest storyline coming from the Nogueira/Couture match up revolves around the method that each fighter will use to win. Couture is known as a fighter with great Greco-Roman wrestling, while Nogueira is known for his vaunted submission game. Of course both fighters could just come out and box the whole time, and both have talked about their boxing acumen in the build up for the fight. However, I just can't fathom this fight not hitting the ground at some point which brings us to the question. Can Randy Couture avoid Nogueira's submission game?
A lot of fans will look at this from two perspectives. Couture has never faced someone with Nogueira's submission acumen, or Couture has only been subbed 3 times in his career with all of those coming very early on. Some would point out that Couture was able to avoid being submitted by "Jacare", but that was a submission grappling match so that's comparing apples to oranges since this will be an MMA fight. "Jacare" also fights as a middleweight in MMA, while Couture is a small HW.
Nogueira favors the armbar with over half of his submission wins via that method. He has won other fights via RNC, kimura, arm/triangle choke, anaconda choke, guillotine choke, keylock, and the triangle choke. Of course Nogueira knows more submission than this, but these are submissions he has been able to apply in MMA competition. The odds are that if this fight goes to the ground, Randy Couture will have the top position. I doubt that Nogueira will be able to sweep Couture due to his experience and wrestling base. So that leaves Nogueira with trying to submit Couture from his back, which leaves basically two submissions. The armbar(his bread and butter), and the triangle choke. Randy Couture is comfortable working in his opponents guard, but prefers to work in his opponent's half-guard to inflict damage. If Couture is able to achieve this position, he'll negate the triangle choke as well as the armbar. I suppose Nogueira would have the guillotine choke as an option, but I doubt he would be able to finish that maneuver against Couture.
So with that said, Couture will probably win this fight via decision or he may be able to finish Nogueira late in the fight. I think the odds of Nogueira submitting Couture are relatively low, but if anybody can prove me wrong it would be Nogueira. What say you?