Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight combatants Mauricio Rua and Corey Anderson dueled last night (Sat., May 14, 2016) at UFC 198 inside Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil.
Video of their 205-pound showdown right here.
Heading into this bout, Rua's fighting future was uncertain. He may have won his last bout, but Rua has lost quite a bit of durability in recent years and isn't getting any younger.
On the other hand, Anderson is a perfect example of the power of youth in MMA. His conditioning and athleticism have led him to win a fair number of fights inside the UFC, and he was looking to score the biggest win of his career opposite "Shogun."
Rua opened the fight with a series of hard low kicks. Anderson was connecting with some jabs, but Rua did a nice job of halting his movement with the low kicks.
At the halfway point in the round, Anderson began to open up, scoring with combinations and hunting for the takedown. As he drew Rua into more of a boxing match, Anderson was far more effective and landed more often thanks to his long limbs.
However, a last second knockdown -- near knockout -- undoubtedly sealed the round for his opponent.
After landing a big combination, Anderson countered his opponent with a brilliant and much-needed reactive takedown. "Shogun" scrambled back to his feet fairly quickly, but Anderson pushed him into the fence and worked from the clinch for a bit.
Anderson failed on his next couple attempts to take his opponent down, but the takedowns helped keep Rua on the defensive. While at range, Anderson was the more active fighter, which also helped keep him ahead opposite the slowing Brazilian. Rua caught a kick and landed a big right at the end of the round.
That last exchange made it closer than necessary, but Anderson still deserved to win the round.
After about a minute of close exchanges, Anderson scored with an important takedown. Rua eventually worked back up to his feet, but Anderson managed to control him and score with some punches before that happened.
In the final frame, Anderson stayed dedicated to his wrestling assault. He had difficulty finishing the takedown and maintaining top position, but his pressure kept Rua pressed against the fence.
It was a clear round for "Beastin' 25/8," but the decision was ultimately decided by the second round.
Two of the three judges awarded the bout to "Shogun" Rua.
While I don't agree with the decision, it was certainly a close bout. Rua did a nice job of fighting his fight. The Brazilian stayed reasonably tight defensively and actively kicked, a pair of important keys to his success.
Additionally, Rua's takedown defense was pretty solid last night. He rarely gave up the double leg takedown, and when he did fall to his opponent's wrestling, he was quick to stand back up.
As for what's next for "Shogun," he's on a two-fight win streak but clearly not a title contender. I think a match up with Rashad Evans would make sense, as that fight somehow never materialized. Plus, both men are in the twilight of their careers.
This will serve as a learning experience for Anderson. So far, his continuing problems have been that he's still hittable on the feet and that he's not yet a dominant wrestler inside the Octagon.
Both of those issues were apparent here, even if probably deserved to win the bout.
Most glaringly, Anderson made a terrible decision at the end of the second. Despite clearing winning most of the round, Anderson chose to throw a lazy low kick, which was of course countered. Without that strike, he likely would've won the decision unanimously.
Still, Anderson is a young prospect already competing with high-level opponents. He did show improvement, and he'll continue to grow following this defeat.
Last night, "Shogun" Rua extended his win streak to two. Where does the Brazilian legend go from here?
For complete UFC 198 "Werdum vs Miocic" results and play-by-play, click HERE!
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