When a fight was announced between Antônio Rogério Nogueira and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua earlier this year, it was met with little fanfare. Few fans seemed interested in the throwback bout between these two legends of the sport of MMA.
Maybe it is the fact that we have seen this fight twice already with the same outcome; Shogun being up two fights to Lil Nog’s zero. Or maybe it could be the fact that these two relics have reached a certain age that does not seem to excite the fans like they once did, way back in 2005 during the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal.
As soon as this fight was announced, I could not help but be excited and filled to the brim with nostalgia. These two men have given everything to the sport of mixed martial arts and it is odd to see the comments on social media that this fight could potentially be boring. They might be aged veterans, but the fighting spirit is ingrained into their DNA.
For Lil Nog this might be his potential swan song from the sport, as he has indicated in multiple interviews leading up to the fight — and what a way to go out, with a win over an opponent that holds that elusive victory over him. On Fight Island of all places. It would be such a perfect scenario for any legend to ride off into the sunset with a victory in their last fight.
Now, on the flip side you have Shogun Rua, who seemed to have a resurgence in the light heavyweight division right up until Anthony “Lionheart” Smith came along and put a halt to his momentum. Like any gritty veteran, Shogun bounced back with a very impressive KO of a highly touted prospect, Tyson Pedro. Shogun was a +415 Heavy Underdog coming into that fight but that is the beauty of this sport — sometimes those betting numbers mean absolutely nothing. In his next outing against Paul Craig, he went the distance and did enough to secure a split draw from the judges.
Who Knows How This Fight Will Play Out
Who knows how this fight will play out on this pretty stacked fight card — but these two legends will give everything they have. And fans will have a chance to reminisce over MMA’s much-lauded past, even if critics see Antônio Rogério Nogueira and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in the twilight of their career.
Who has your pick for this co-main event fight? Let us know in the comments below.