15 years after their first meeting, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua capped off his trilogy against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira with a split decision win.
Much like their first two fights, Rua and Nogueira brought the best out of each other but ultimately it was “Shogun” who did just enough damage to secure the victory. When the fight ended, the scorecards read 29-28 two times for Rua with the third judge giving Nogueira the nod with a 29-28 score of his own.
“I’m very happy because I win three times with the legend Rogerio Nogueira,” Rua said during his post fight interview. “I am the most happiest man in the world today. Every fight with Nogueira is a war.”
A somewhat slow start eventually gave way to a slugfest between a pair of old school legends after Nogueira tagged “Shogun” with a powerful left hand that put the former light heavyweight champion on wobbly legs. Rua was rocked but he immediately began firing back with punches of his own before rushing forward for a takedown.
The war continued with “Shogun” and Nogueira both swinging for the fences as they engaged in several memorably exchanges. With each passing minute, Nogueira was a little more deliberate with his strikes, which allowed Rua to measure his combinations with better accuracy.
Both fighters were wearing the effects of the fight on their faces by the third round.
For “Shogun,” he was still connecting with the better overall strikes with Nogueira slowing down with time running round. With less than two minutes remaining, “Shogun” secured a takedown combined with some powerful punches on the mat that likely helped him cement the victory.
While his days chasing titles are probably far behind him, Rua is still a force to be reckoned with as the 38-year-old legend moves to 5-1-1 in his past seven fights.
As for Nogueira, he said Saturday night would be the final appearance of his fighting career and he confirmed as much after a three-round battle with Rua.
“I fought very good,” Nogueira said. “I tried to knock him out every time. For me it’s an honor to share the octagon with ‘Shogun.’ To be here 44 years old, I think that’s going to be my last one.”