Mauricio “Shogun” Rua took home a split decision win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the latter’s final fight of his mixed martial arts career.
The PRIDE era of MMA will always be special to fans who followed the sport in the mid-2000s. Some of the biggest stars mixed martial arts has ever seen emerged from the Japanese promotion. From Fedor Emelianenko to Rampage Jackson, Wanderlei Sivla to the Nogueira brothers, and of course, Shogun Rua. Two of those, in fact, would throw down one last time at UFC Fight Island 3, fifteen or so years from their first meeting, another five from their second.
Shogun Rua had twice defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (once in PRIDE, once in the UFC). Yet he was battling his fellow Brazilian a third time, in Nogueira’s retirement fight no less. The trilogy bout served as the UFC Fight Island 3 co-main event. And it may very well have been one of the last times MMA fans got to see two PRIDE veterans go head-to-head.
Rua opened up the first round with a leg kick. Another leg kick from Rua, who eventually clinched Nogueira up against the cage. The two separated before Nogueira connected with a big straight left hand. Nogueira chased Rua around the Octagon before the pair met inside the pocket and exchanged big shots. Rua pressed Nogueira against the cage again but they separated quickly. A huge pair of left hands from Nogueira back Rua up. Nogueira with another big left hand and Rua responded with a takedown to end the round.
The second round opened up with a body kick from Rua. Rua blitzed to clinch up with Nogueira against the cage, and delivered some knees to the body before Nogueira circled out. A big inside leg kick connected for Rua, and he followed up with a right hand. Nogueira ate a kick to the body but landed an overhand in return. Nogueira’s left hand was really landing, and a shoulder bump from Nogueira took Rua down. Nogueira was in Rua’s guard, after a bit of ground-and-pound, they got back to the feet. Rua went for the takedown but Nogueira stuffed it nicely. A big right hand connected for Rua, and he followed it up with another. Another kick to the body from Rua before the round came to an end.
It was Rua with a big leg kick that opened up the third and final round. Another exchange inside the pocket, and Nogueira pressed forward, looking for the left-hand shot. A nice body kick and right-hand combination from Rua connected. An overhand left landed for Nogueira, but Rua responded with a pair of hooks inside the pocket. Nogueira connected with a clean 1-2, and Rua punched his way inside to get a takedown against the cage. Half guard top position for Rua and Nogueira was throwing shots from his back as the round came to an end. And the fight, which went to the judges. And it was Shogun, earning a third win in the pair’s career series.
Official Result: Mauricio Rua def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)