Aging legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and light heavyweight staple Gian Villante squared off last night (Sat., Mar. 11, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 106 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. Shogun was ranked No. 6 in the division, while Villante was ranked No. 12. While neither man was in position to challenge for the title, the fight still held significance in deciding the pecking order at 205 pounds, and served as a litmus test for what was left of Shogun’s career.
Shogun adjusted his signature shorts before the fight started. They immediately exchanged shots. Shogun caught a kick, and they traded blows. Shogun landed an overhand that buckled Villante briefly. Villante hit a leg kick. Shogun landed a rear straight to the body. They exchanged again, and Villante hurt Shogun with a hook on the exit. He pressured forward, but Shogun held him off. Shogun timed a nice overhand over the jab, the classic cross counter. Villante shelled up to avoid a combination. Villante ate another right, and this time Shogun dropped him. Villante got back up, but he was clearly hurt. Shogun feinted. Shogun whiffed on a one-two. Villante attempted to counter a Shogun jab with a combination of his own. Shogun kept popping a nice jab in Villante’s face. He opened up with a hard combination to end the round.
Shogun opened up the second round with a nice inside leg kick, and they exchanged again. Both men were popping jabs. Shogun hit his cross counter, and Villante landed a left hook. Villante glanced a head kick off Shogun’s guard. Shogun kept looking for his right hand. Villante checked a kick. Villante ate another cross counter, then pressed forward with a triple hook as Shogun shelled up. Villante landed a body kick but ate a hard counter. He looked for an overhand right of his own, but ate another overhand. Shogun landed another, but ate a left hook afterwards that seemed to wobble the Brazilian briefly. Villante hit a takedown for a second, but Shogun got back up quickly. Shogun landed a combination and Villante slipped, landing on his butt for a second. They circled for a minute, and the action slowed. Shogun hit yet another right overhand with 10 seconds remaining. That punch had been there for him all night.
Shogun opened the third with a jab, then checked a leg kick from Villante. Villante ducked away from an overhand and looked for his left hook. He stepped in with a combination and Shogun countered with a fade-away right straight that wobbled Villante! Shogun unleashed a combination, and Villante stumbled back. Shogun stepped in with a kick and one-two combinations. Shogun pressured relentlessly with hooks and uppercuts, and Villante crumbled along the cage as the referee stepped in for the TKO stoppage. What a win for Mauricio “Shogun” Rua!
Shogun tells Brian Stann in the post-fight interview that every fight is a dream, and he has been privileged to have many dreams in his career. He said that he was a little cautious of the takedown, but gives Villante credit for being tough and standing with him for three rounds. He takes the mic at the very end of the interview and thanks Fortaleza, getting cheers from the happy crowd. That makes three-straight wins for Shogun, no small feat at this stage in his career.
Final result: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Gian Villante (TKO) at .59 of Round 3
For complete UFC Fight Night 106 results and coverage click here.