With two fights left in his storied career, former UFC light heavyweight champion and PRIDE middleweight champion Mauricio Rua probably didn’t want to fight hopeful replacement Paul Craig to a split draw last night (Sat., Nov. 16, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 164 live on ESPN+ from inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but “Shogun” did show up to fight in a solid co-main event affair.
While Rua brought in more experience it was Craig who brought the fire early in the fight. The Scottish fighter ended up landing a barrage of punches along the cage that left Rua breathing heavy and red in the face. But despite Craig throwing everything and the kitchen sunk at Rua, the veteran still hung in tough.
“Bearjew” kept busy on the feet early into the second round but Rua was there to counter with heavy hands before getting the fight to the canvas and landing damaging hammer fists. Craig would survive and defend nicely off his back as “Shogun” tried to time the perfect punch.
The third round saw “Shogun” get top control once again with Craig forced to defend off his back and threaten with submission attempts. Rua wasn’t able to land much over the next two minutes, but clipped Craig when the two returned to the feet with 20 seconds left. Craig came back with power punches of his own, stunning Rua and then taking him down to end the fight.
In the end, the co-main event battle was called a split draw. Not the most popular ending to a fight, but the two light heavyweights did offer some good moments.
Check out the full fight video highlights below courtesy of UFC/ESPN.
For complete UFC Sao Paulo results and coverage click here.