One of the legends of the sport of MMA, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, stepped into Jeunesse Arena in his home country of Brazil knowing it would be the last time he would fight in the octagon.
For his retirement fight, the former UFC light heavyweight champ and winner of one of the biggest MMA tournaments of all time, the 2005 PRIDE middleweight Grand Prix, fought Ihor Potieria, a Ukranian fighter entering his second fight in the promotion.
The violence of Shogun Rua is legendary but at the age of forty-one it was appropriate that this would be his last fight, with his last win coming back in 2020 against a fellow legend, ‘Big Nog,’ and dropping two fights in the time since. For his part, Ihor Potieria lost his UFC debut by knockout but looked to play spoiler and defeat Rua in front of his home crowd to jumpstart his career.
The start of round one saw a southpaw Potieria patiently bouncing around outside the range of Shogun. Only a few leg kicks were traded in the opening minute. Shogun then landed a big left hook that staggered Ihor. The Ukranian recovered well, though still did not press the attack much. The chants of the Brazilian crowd got so loud by the halfway point in the round that it almost drowned out the commentary booth.
A slip from Rua led to him getting blitzed and hit against the fence. Despite an ensuing welt on his right eye he did not appear hurt. The pace increased after that and Potieria hurt Shogun with a short right hand. Shogun retreated on wobbly legs but Ihor Potieria rushed him, sat him down with a flurry of strikes, and finished the job with ground strikes as Herb Dean stepped in.
The Brazilian crowd yelled their dismay, but it was the right time for Shogun to retire given his age and the damage he has taken through his career. He has accomplished things no one else in the sport has and will go down in history as a legend.
Official Result: Ihor Potieria def. Shogun Rua by TKO (punches), Round 1, 4:05