Click below for UFC RIO main card results...
He waited nearly four years to get another shot at the man who spoiled his UFC debut, and Saturday night at the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua evened the score with Forrest Griffin, knocking out his rival in less than two minutes in the UFC RIO co-main event. See post-fight interview
In September of 2007, the two future light heavyweight champions met at UFC 76, with Griffin submitting the former PRIDE star in the third round.
The striking was sloppy as the bout opened, with both fighters looking to find their range. But a minute in, a hard right uppercut from Rua changed all that, and from that point on, “Shogun” looked like a man on a mission as he pursued Griffin. A right hand grazed Griffin and forced him to the mat, and once Rua had Griffin down, a barrage of hammerfists stunned and then knocked Griffin out, with referee Marc Goddard stepping in to call a halt to the bout at the 1:53 mark.
“Forrest is a good fighter, but I trained hard every day for this fight,” said Rua, who improved to 20-5 in his first bout since losing his light heavyweight title to Jon Jones in March. Griffin, who was coming off back-to-back wins over Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin, falls to 18-7.
NOGUEIRA vs. SCHAUB
Finally healthy after multiple surgeries and
fighting in his home country for the first time in his legendary career,
former UFC / PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro”
Nogueira showed that there’s still some gas in his tank as he scored a
stirring and emotional first round knockout of rising star Brendan
Schaub. See post-fight interview
Schaub and Nogueira took turns muscling each other to the
fence in the early going, but when trading at long range, the edge went
to the faster and younger Schaub. While standing, Nogueira took the
role of aggressor, and was able to land a solid 1-2, but Schaub held the
edge when he planted his feet and let his fists fly. But just when you
though Nogueira was about to find himself in permanent trouble, another
1-2 hurt Schaub and Nogueira kept coming. A left put Schaub down on his
face, and after one more left on the downed American, referee Herb Dean
stopped the fight at 3:09 of the opening round.
With the win - later announced as Knockout of the Night -
Nogueira, who had been sidelined since a February 2010 loss to Cain
Velasquez, improves to 33-6-1 with 1 NC. Schaub falls to 9-2.
BARBOZA vs. PEARSON
Brazilian lightweight prospect Edson Barboza kept his unbeaten record intact the hard way, surviving a grueling three round battle with England’s Ross Pearson to pull out a three round split decision. See post-fight interview
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Barboza, who improves to 9-0.
Pearson (14-5) got right in the face of Barboza to open the bout, nullifying his reach and leg kicks effectively. But after catching a few punches upstairs, Barboza settled in and began landing his own shots while also tossing in the occasional front kick and spinning back kick to keep the Brit honest. Pearson was on top of his game though, and his confidence was evident throughout the opening frame.
A flush overhand right from Barboza dropped Pearson as the second round opened, but “The Real Deal” shot back up immediately and resumed his forward moving attack. The right was beginning to find a home more frequently though, becoming a key weapon for the Rio native. Pearson’s pressure was paying off though, as he was getting his licks in, taking Barboza’s best, and tiring his foe in the process.
Energized by the between rounds rest, Barboza’s strikes were fired off in a crisp and accurate fashion as Pearson trudged forward. With two minutes gone, Pearson landed a solid combination before pinning Barboza to the fence, but Barboza pushed off and got back to picking away from long range as Pearson’s face continued to show the marks of battle. With under a minute left, both fighters began emptying their clips in an effort to leave an impression with the judges. The fans were certainly appreciative of the efforts of both lightweights, as were Zuffa officials, who awarded both men $100,000 Fight of the Night bonuses.
NEDKOV vs. CANE
It took a while, but after a series of postponed bouts, unbeaten Bulgarian light heavyweight Stanislav Nedkov finally made his UFC debut and he didn’t disappoint, stunning favored Sao Paulo native Luiz Cane via first round TKO. See post-fight interview
Cane stalked the smaller Nedkov to begin the bout, but he was selective with his shots as he moved in. Nedkov was wilder in his return volleys, using his striking to get close enough to score the takedown. As the round progressed, both had success with their diverse strategies, but Cane pulled into the lead when he jarred Nedkov with an uppercut that bloodied his nose. But out of nowhere, Nedkov’s wild right hand hit the mark and a follow-up left stunned Cane. Cane, on rubbery legs, tried to get out of trouble, but Nedkov wouldn’t let him, and a barrage of strikes finished matters, with referee Mario Yamasaki calling a stop to the bout at the 4:13 mark.
With the win, Nedkov improves to 12-0; Cane falls to 12-4 with 1 NC.