Nogueira eyes happy ending with win over Rua in farewell bout - GulfToday

Nogueira eyes happy ending with win over Rua in farewell bout


Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (left) will bring curtain down on his long career after the fight. File

Gulf Today, Staff Reporters


Mauricio Rua will lock horns with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a UFC Fight Night 174 light heavyweight bout in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.


From a fight carrying legitimate championship ramifications to one that tugs on the old nostalgia strings, this light heavyweight affair between long-time Brazilian standouts is also the final bout of Nogueira’s lengthy career, reported UFC.


Rua has been a difficult guy to peg over the last five-plus years, dating back to his first UFC meeting with the man he’ll take on this weekend on Fight Island.


The former champion is 4-1-1 during that span, with wins over Nogueira, Corey Anderson, Gian Villante, and Tyson Pedro, a loss to former title challenger Anthony Smith, and a draw with Paul Craig last time out.


It’s the best six-fight run of his UFC career in terms of wins and losses (and draws), but at the same time, some wonder if Rua is a title contender at this point in his career, UFC elaborated.


Even if you flip the split decision win over Anderson in the other direction, Rua is still 2-1-1 with a pair of stoppages in his last four, which, given his pedigree, seems like it would at least put him in line for a date with another Top 10 opponent if he’s able to secure a victory with a strong performance here.


Nogueira has alternated wins and losses over his last four appearances and has been considering retirement for some time, finally deciding that this is the right moment to step aside.


The outcome of this one will determine whether he leaves the UFC one fight above .500 or one fight below .500 (he’s 6-6 inside the Octagon right now), but his impact isn’t really one that is measured in his results.


“Little Nog” made an immediate splash when he arrived in the UFC by knocking out Luiz Cane at UFC 106 and remained a fixture in the Top 15 pretty much from that point forward.


If he ever fell out of the rankings, it was due to injuries, because he spent the first eight years of his UFC run taking on nothing but contenders, UFC reported further.


While he’s shifted to facing fellow veterans and emerging names over his last couple fights, the Brazilian remains one of the most respected fighters on the roster and a third battle with his countryman on Saturday is a fitting way for him to close out a 20-year MMA career.


Meanwhile, Alex Oliveira will take on Peter Sobotta in a UFC Fight Night 174 welterweight bout on Sunday.


Oliveira  is always entertaining, no matter what. This will be his 18th UFC appearance and I can think of one, maybe two bouts that didn’t register as more than seven on a 10-point excitement scale. The Brazilian ‘Cowboy’ just has a way of bringing out the best in his dance partners and always goes out there looking to entertain.


Sobotta is one of those guys who is infinitely better than people remember or understand; a European veteran who has gone 9-2-1 over his last dozen fights and has steadily improved his striking over the years to go along with his outstanding grappling. This will be his first appearance in more than two years and should provide an indication of where he fits in the current welterweight landscape.


Separately, Paul Craig will face Gadzhimurad Antigulov in another light heavyweight bout.


Both Craig and Antigulov have shown flashes of potential at different points in their respective UFC careers, but as of right now, inconsistency has been an issue and they’re each looking to put that behind them as they face off in their joint 2020 debuts this weekend.


Every time Craig gets a win, his next assignment is tougher, which is kind of what you’d expect, but also a much more challenging ask in the 205-pound ranks. Last time out, the Scotsman went the distance for the first time in his career when he battled “Shogun” Rua to a draw, giving him the first two-fight unbeaten streak of his UFC career.


Antigulov enters on the opposite side of that coin, as the Dagestani veteran has dropped consecutive outings, both by first-round stoppage. After winning his first two UFC appearances by submission, Antigulov has been forced to stand over his last two bouts, resulting in Ion Cutelaba and Michel Oleksiejczuk putting him away with powerful strikes, UFC reported.


On paper, this one shapes up as a potential ground duel between two high-level grapplers representing different disciplines, and I look forward to the attack-and-defend, move-and-counter mat exchanges between these two on Saturday night.

Related articles