Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight legends Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira attempted to return to the win column last night (Aug. 1, 2015) at UFC 190 inside HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Like many of the fighters on this card, Rua has been struggling lately. To guarantee himself more fights inside the Octagon, the Brazilian needed this win.
While Nogueira's skid wasn't quite as serious, the talented boxer was coming off lengthy injury layoffs and a brutal knockout loss. Luckily, if he managed to create another legendary war opposite "Shogun," all that would quickly be forgotten.
Gone In 34 Seconds!
Watch Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia full fight video highlights from last night in UFC 190's main event inside HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, featuring the incredible 34-second first round knockout finish.
"Shogun" took the center of the Octagon, looking to slam home kicks and punches. Rua looked quick on his feet to start the bout, and he showcased some nice speed with his punches while looking to counter Nogueira.
For about three minutes, Rua controlled the stand up with speed and heavy kick. However, Nogueira connected with a clean shot at about the 90 second mark and sent Rua stumbling. With his back to the fence, Rua attempted to slip, but he absorbed the bulk of Nogueira's onslaught of punches.
While getting hurt so badly cost him the round, "Shogun" did survive.
Nogueira switched it up by pressuring Rua, but it allowed his opponent to land a quick takedown. After a couple minutes of control and small punches, Nogueira's deep half guard brought the fight back to the feet, where Rua landed a pair of hard body kicks.
For the rest of the round, the exchanges were fairly tepid. Neither man was overly aggressive or landed anything too significant, but Rua controlled the center and landed a bit more volume.
In short, it was all tied up heading into the third round.
"Lil Nog" began to really step up his punching volume and pressure, while Rua countered with heavy body kicks and takedown attempts. After those failed to land, Rua and Nogueira contended themselves to trading in the pocket, and both fighters landed evenly.
With about a minute remaining, Rua shot once more for a double leg, and Nogueira jumped on a guillotine. It looked extremely tight, but Rua managed to endure the hold and escape. However, there wasn't much time left, ending the round without either man holding a definitive edge.
At the end of the night, all three judges awarded Rua the unanimous decision in a very close bout.
And to his credit, this is the very best Rua has looked in years. He didn't try to rush in and trade -- which allowed Ovince St. Preux to knock him out with ease -- and actually maintained his distance, kicking more than he has in years. Plus, he simply looked quicker and revitalized.
There's little doubt Rafael Cordeiro is the cause.
In addition, Rua didn't get tired! There's been plenty of criticism thrown "Shogun's" way for coming into fights out of shape, but he fought hard for three rounds and kept a solid pace without issue. He was even rocked in the first, which definitely takes something out of a fighter, but he didn't let it slow him down.
While Rua's iron chin is likely gone for good, this was still a strong showing by the Brazilian. After this win, a match with an up-and-comer like Patrick Cummins could make sense.
Once again, this was an extremely close fight. And while he'll certainly be overlooked, "Lil Nog" also put forth a very good showing. His boxing was particularly sharp, as he landed some very nice punches throughout the bout. Plus, his jiu-jitsu remains very dangerous, as the trademark Nogueira deep half made its appearance.
And that guillotine was extremely close to ending the fight.
Assuming Nogueira can stay healthy -- which is a dangerous assumption considering his recent history -- than he's still a solid member of the light heavyweight division, which desperately needs competent fighters. With his offensive skill and durability, there are still plenty of entertaining fights left for him, such as Rafael Cavalcante.
Last night, "Shogun" Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira had another excellent war, and Rua again scraped by. Where will the Muay Thai specialist go from here?
For complete UFC 190: "Rousey vs Correia" live results and play-by-play, click HERE!
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