Two UFC legends in the twilight of their careers will meet in this Light Heavyweight bout Saturday night.
Two UFC legends in the twilight of their careers will meet in this Light Heavyweight bout. 10 years ago, this bout could have been for the Light Heavyweight Championship. Nowadays, both fighters are in the latter stages of their careers, looking to pick up one more win to keep things going. These two have previously fought twice and Rua has won both bouts (in 2015 and 2005). Who has the edge in the third meeting?
Mauricio Rua UFC Fight Island Odds
Rua and Lil Nog have fought two times previously, meeting in the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal in 2005 and at UFC 190, which then earned Fight of the Night honors. Both times, Rua has won by decision, so that has people wondering what is going to change this time around.
Rua is now 38 years old but he’s had a better recent history than Nogueira. Rua never fared all that well in the UFC – even if he was briefly the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion – as he was 16-2 going into it and is 10-9-1 since. He does come into this bout on a 4-1-1 run but he’s fought sparsely as those are his only fights since 2015. He’s also fought lesser competition as his lone quality competition was Anthony Smith, who knocked out Rua in the first round.
This is a more than manageable opponent for Rua, who has already defeated Lil Nog twice. They’re evenly matched and it should be entertaining, but Lil Nog is basically at the end of the line in his MMA career.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira UFC Fight Island Odds
Nobody will ever question the heart of the Nogeuira brothers but Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – aka Big Nog – retired in 2015 while his brother continues to battle on. Things haven’t gone well for Lil Nog of late as he’s coming off a first round knockout loss to Ryan Spann at UFC 237 last May. He’s now lost four of his last six bouts with three of the losses coming via knockout. His first-round knockout win over Patrick Cummins (2016) and second-round knockout over Sam Alvey (2018) are what’s really keeping him in the UFC. Absent of those, he’d probably be encouraged to retire.
At this point, I don’t see much reason to be backing Lil Nog. He’s definitely a legend of the sport and has had some entertaining fights against Rua. However, he’s now 44 years old and is basically at the end of the line. Could he possibly catch Rua off-guard here? Anything is possible. However, history shows us Rua has the edge and I don’t expect a 44-year-old Nogueira to turn the tide against someone who has had his number when he was in better times.
Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Prediction:
Rua via Decision