Shogun Rua turned back the clock on Saturday against Tyson Pedro at UFC Adelaide, proving he remains a danger in the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
2018 has been a weird one for the light heavyweight division. Its champ wandered up to heavyweight, and may not come back. A new contender emerged in former middleweight Anthony Smith. Jon Jones is coming back, yet again, from a scandal. Shogun Rua went from unlikely title contender to back of the pack after a loss to Smith. And Tyson Pedro saw the shine come off his hot prospect status. Rua and Pedro met in the co-main event of UFC Adelaide, and one of them would get back on track.
Pedro stayed on the outside early as the co-main event in Adelaide got underway Saturday. Shogun charged in, closing the distance, but Pedro was nowhere to be found. Pedro then wobbled Shogun with a punch, but Shogun cracked him coming in! Both men had taken some damage. Pedro, with the height and reach advantage, would do well to use his length and avoid those counters. Shogun fired off kicks. Every time Tyson Pedro moved in, he was in danger, but he manged to rock Shogun again! Unfortunately it was an inadvertent clash of heads that did it, but Pedro made the most of it.
Shogun was under fire, covering up by the fence. His legs went out, but Shogun hung on, keeping the ref from calling it off. That was enough for Shogun to get Pedro off of him, and land a punch for good measure. Shogun was hurt, however, and they were fighting in a phone booth by the fence. Pedro was doing considerable damage. At the end of the round, Shogun scored a takedown, dropping a few elbows before the bell.
Shogun landed an overhand right immediately out of the gate that wobbled Pedro to start the second. They’d clinch by the fence, and Shogun, perhaps buoyed by surviving the onslaught in round one, latched on with a body lock, looking to throw Pedro to the ground. He’d get the takedown, while Pedro worked to latch on with a kimura. He tried to utilize the grip to reverse, but the veteran Shogun fought it off, staying in side control. He’d land shoulder strikes, punches, and eat precious time until Pedro finally powered up in the final minute. Still, Shogun was on his back. Soon, Shogun had him down, and was landing ground n’ pound.
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If there was any question that Shogun could hang with the fighters of today, he’d proven it. Then, a crazy turn of events early in the third. Just as the action got underway, Pedro’s leg seemingly gave out for a moment. Shogun appeared sense the opportunity, and moved in for the kill. A big right hand dropped Pedro, and Rua swarmed, landing bomb after bomb until the ref had see enough.
Shogun’s chin had held up. His cardio was there. Fighting twice in a year for the first time since 2014, there were flashes of the Shogun of old.
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua def. Tyson Pedro by TKO, Round 3, 0:43