This is the UFC on ESPN 14 live blog for Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio, the light heavyweight co-headliner for Saturday’s fight card at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
The fight is a trilogy with 15 years of history. The two Brazilians met under the now-defunct PRIDE banner in the quarterfinals of the 2005 middleweight grand prix. Rua won the fight via unanimous decision. They met 10 years later at UFC 190, and Rua again earned a decision. Nogueira has said he’ll retire after the fight.
Check out the UFC on ESPN 14 live blog below.
Round 1: Rua inching slowly forward, rips the leg to open the fight. Nogueira moving laterally, appearing hesitant to engage or perhaps hoping to draw Rua into his power left. Rua continues to snipe at the leg, then shakes out his arms. Suddenly, he charges forward into the clinch, and they tie up against the cage. Rua knees the legs, and Nogueira occasionally taps at the body. Not much doing, and finally, the two break. Nogueira lands a nice straight left, and Rua charges forward with a flurry. No dice, and he resets and goes back to kicks. Another punch clash sparks a brief uptick in offense, but Rua quickly breaks off and starts moving laterally. Nogueira works to corner him, and he begins to have more luck with his punches. Rua pushes forward and locks them up against the cage, but Nogueira pushes off. They go punch for punch, and Rua takes a left full to the face. Suddenly, we’re in a brawl, and Rua is getting the worse of it. So he dives under and gets a takedown, and Round 1 ends with him on top in half-guard.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Nogueira.
Round 2: Rua goes back to his kicks, tagging the body, then rushes forward for another tie-up at the fence. Nogueira breaks off and takes a low kick, and Rua surprises him with a punch combination. Nogueira backs off and gathers himself, and Rua lets go a body kick that nets a counter punch. Back to slugging, and Rua nails the body with a kick. But Nogueira is having more success with his right hand, and Rua topples over after a fast exchange. Ground and pound for Nogueira, and Rua doesn’t look like he’s getting up any time soon. Nogueira’s round to lose as he goes body-body-head. Finally, Rua tries to explode and shrimp away, but Nogueira follows and hangs on. Rua pushes the head and manages to stand. They both sit down on punches, and Rua again shoots. Nogueira sprawls this time. Rua lands a big right and goes low with a kick. Rua explodes forward with more punches, and Nogueira is unable to respond. But he closes in and goes to work with punches. Rua covers up and gets out of there. Nogueira not as accurate this round, and Rua moving a little better. Round ends with Rua in pursuit.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Rua, and it’s even at 19-19.
Round 3: Rua closes early, on the offensive. A low kick almost sweeps Nogueira’s lead leg. He appears to be surging, and Nogueira looks tired. A counter keeps Rua honest, however, and Nogueira tries that straight left again. Rua walks into one, and he goes back to the lead leg of Nogueira. Big punches from Nogueira are blocked by Rua, who’s biding his time. A body kick connects for the ex-champ. Nogueira circling away, and another combo lands for Rua. Nogueira comes back with his own counter, and then puts another left on target. Rua goes back to the leg. Rua charges forward with jabs and then gets a takedown, landing on top in half-guard. He quickly goes to work on top as Nogueira hangs on, tying up and attempting to minimize the damage. Nogueira turns off the cage looking for a sweep, and Rua stays on top, pounding away with hammerfists to close the frame.
MMA Fighting scores the final round 10-9 for Rua, who gets the 29-28 score.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Mauricio Rua def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)