Mauricio Rua faces Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for the third time at UFC on ESPN 14 this weekend at the Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

Rua and Nogueira first faced each other at the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix quarterfinals. Shogun won that bout via unanimous decision. The two squared off again at UFC 190 in August 2015. Once again Rua won the match via unanimous decision in a Fight of the Night winner. Both fighters are way past their prime but given their history, this one should be an entertaining match between two veteran Brazilian fighters.

Rua enters the bout as a -185 favorite. This is the second straight bout where Shogun has been favored to win. He closed as a -265 favorite in his last fight against Paul Craig. Prior to that, he was the underdog against Anthony Smith and Tyson Pedro. As for Little Nog, he has been the underdog in his last eight bouts. The last time Nogueira was favored was when he fought Tito Ortiz at UFC 140 in 2011.

Let’s take a look at how these two fighters matchup:

“Fighting" Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Mauricio Rua is the former UFC light heavyweight champion who was also the PRIDE 2005 middleweight Grand Prix champion. The38-year old from Curitiba in Brazil has been fighting professionally since 2002. Rua won the UFC belt at UFC 113 but lost to Jon Jones in his first title defense at UFC 128.

Shogun is 6-1 tall with a reach of 76 inches and is an orthodox fighter. He has a record of 26-11 with 21 knockouts and one win via submission. After going 2-4 from 2012 to 2014, Rua has lost just once in his last six UFC bouts, with four wins during that span. In his last bout, Rua figured in a split draw against Paul Craig last November 2019.

Rua lands an average of 3.63 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy of 50%. Shogun gets hit by an average of 2.68 significant strikes per minute and he has a striking defense of 55%. On the mat, Rua completes an average of 2.17 takedowns per 15 minutes and he has a takedowns accuracy of 48% wit a takedown defense of 47%.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 07/23/2020

“Fighting" Antonio Rogerio “Little Nog” Nogueira

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is the twin brother of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira who is popularly known as Minotauro or Big Nog. Rogerio is dubbed as Little Nog in the MMA community and he has been fighting since 2001. This 44-year old from Bahia, Brazil was an amateur boxer who won the bronze medal at the 2007 Pan-American Games and the 2006 & 2007 Brazilian Super Heavyweight champion.

Little Nog stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 75 inches while fighting out of the southpaw stance. He has a record of 23-9 with 8 knockouts and six wins via submission. He is 4-7 in his last 11 UFC bouts and has lost four out of his last six Octagon appearances including three knockout losses during that four-match span. He was knocked out by Ryan Spann at UFC 237.

Nogueira connects on an average of 2.39 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 34%. Little Nog has a striking defense of 60% and he absorbs an average of 2.27 significant strikes per minute. Nogueira is also averaging 0.67 takedowns per 15 minutes with an accuracy of 44% and a takedown defense of 62%.

“Fighting" Who Wins?

Rua is a well-rounded fighter who has heavy hands and has 21 knockouts in his 26 wins. Aside from that, he completes an average of over two takedowns per 15 minutes. He doesn’t mind getting into a brawl but is vulnerable when he fights toe to toe because he doesn’t have enough head movement and is flat-footed. Little Nog fights out of the southpaw stance and like Rua, he likes to brawl. He is also flat-footed and is willing to eat punches in order to land his big shots. Between the two though, Rua is the more durable fighter and that could play a big factor here.

This will be Rua’s 21st UFC bout. He has an octagon record of 10-9-1 and he is 1-1-1 in his last three bouts. On the other hand, Little Nog has struggled since joining the UFC in 2009. He is just 6-6 overall and 2-4 in his last six bouts. Nogueira has been outstruck by four out of his last six opponents and he hasn’t landed a takedown in a decade. Those should be a problem against Rua who not only has a good takedown game but is also a prolific striker.

This is the third fight between these two. Rua won both of their previous bouts by decision. Both fighters are way past their primes and you can argue that both shouldn’t be in the UFC right now, given their age. However, the difference between these two is that Rua has been more active as of late and he seems to be the fighter who has a little more left in the tank. Little Nog is 44 years old and he has been stopped in recent bouts. This isn’t one of the best fights in the event but Shogun wins again and makes it 3-0 against Little Nog.

Prediction: Mauricio Rua

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