Over the first five minutes of the UFC Adelaide co-main event, it felt like we were watching one of those sad tales of a legendary champion who found himself on his career downside.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua absorbed a wicked beating from young Tyson Pedro in their light heavyweight bout Saturday night, seeming to be a punch or two away from a finish one more than one occasion.
But the beloved “Shogun” is a legend of mixed martial arts for a reason, and one of the craftiest fighters in the history of the sport rallied for a memorable victory. The former UFC light heavyweight champion and PRIDE Grand Prix tourney winner earned the TKO win at Adelaide Entertainment Centre at the 43-second mark of the third round.
“Tyson is a great guy and a great fighter, but I had my motivation,” Rua said through an interpreter after his 22nd career stoppage win. “This is what I love to do.”
Pedro was a buzzsaw in the first five minutes, as he landed a wild variety of kicks to the body, head kicks, and brutal uppercuts that blooded “Shogun” and wobbled him backwards. Rua managed to grab Pedro and slow his momentum just long enough to regain his wits and get back into the fight, although Pedro continued landing during a borderline 10-8 round.
In the second, though, Pedro appeared gassed, and did not land a single significant strike. Rua got Pedro to the mat and stifled him from an advantageous position.
Rua continued to pour it on in the third. He connected with a solid right. Pedro didn’t drop from the force of the punch, but rather, his knee buckled and gave way and he hit the mat. Rua pounced from there like a shark sensing blood and poured it on until the bout was waved off.
Rua is now 26-11 and has wins in four of his past five fights. Sydney’s Pedro (7-3) has dropped two straight and three of his past four.