MMA Review: #516: UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia

-The lone PPV in Brazil in 2015 turned into quite the big deal – probably the biggest UFC show in Brazil since the return there in 2011 in fact, as Ronda Rousey *really* took off as a mainstream star after her win over Cat Zingano in February to the point where the show somehow ended up outselling the monster UFC 189 a month beforehand. Rousey’s latest title defense – against unbeaten Brazilian Bethe Correia – was anchoring a card that in all honesty wasn’t that deep, particularly when the two TUF Brazil 4 finals were bolted onto the main card following their cancellation at Fight Night 70 in June. Still, it was Brazil and when are Brazil shows not fun?

UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Women’s Strawweight Fight: Claudia Gadelha vs Jessica Aguilar

Super-intriguing fight to start us off and I was glad UFC kept this on the main card when the TUF fights were added. Gadelha hadn’t fought since December 2014, but that fight was of course a tight decision loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk that a lot of people thought Claudia won, and well, look at what Joanna’s done since. Opponent Aguilar was a recent signing by the UFC but prior to them bringing the Strawweight division in, she was widely recognised as the top fighter in the weight class, with wins over Carla Esparza and Japanese legend Megumi Fujii to back up that claim. The winner of this fight was pretty much pencilled in for the next title shot, and it was a tight pick but I was going with Aguilar’s experience and toughness.

Cool entrance for Jag as she walks out to some traditional mariachi music wearing a luchador mask. They really ought to get her on the next Mexico show!

First round gets underway and wow these girls are quick. Aguilar shows some fast hands and comes out throwing combos, but she doesn’t land cleanly and Gadelha nails her with a nice knee from the plum. Jab and a one-two follow. Claudia is a huge Strawweight. Trade sees both girls land and Aguilar follows with a leg kick. Exchange continues and these two seem content to trade from the pocket. Gadelha seems to be getting the better of it thus far. Big left hand and a follow-up combination land for her. Body kick from Gadelha replies to a combo. Nasty combination lands for the Brazilian in a trade. Aguilar seems really nervy and stiff. Couple of really good jabs land for Claudia. Beautiful counter uppercut lands for Claudia as Aguilar steps in. Aguilar is getting lit up here. She does land a pair of good leg kicks but she’s eating much more punches and has a bloody nose. BIG TAKEDOWN from Gadelha follows and she takes the back as Aguilar kneels up. That was brutal. One hook in for Gadelha and it looks like she might have the second one in too. Aguilar defends the choke though and the round ends before Claudia can really capitalise. 10-9 Gadelha.

Second round and Claudia opens with a hard left hook and a one-two. Brutal right uppercut stuns Aguilar and puts her way on the retreat, and Claudia closes her down with some more shots that lead to a clinch. Knees to the body land for Aguilar but Gadelha muscles her to the ground again. That was another brutal takedown, like Matt Hughes in his prime or something. Aguilar rolls but gives her back in the process. She manages to stand though and wow, her nose is busted up BADLY. Claudia stays on her with a rear waistlock, but Aguilar does well to turn into her. Lot of knees to the body and legs from Aguilar, but Gadelha switches her around and lands her own knee before breaking off. Stiff jab from Gadelha. Claudia continues to tag Aguilar with punches, before Jessica shoots. Gadelha stuffs it easily and holy shit the crowd are loud. More combinations from Claudia but Aguilar comes back with a hard leg kick. She’s eating so many punches here though. Big right hand from Aguilar but Claudia counters and catches her with another right. Uppercut sets up another combo from the Brazilian and Aguilar is really bloodied up, cut around her eyes now too. More leg kicks from Aguilar set up a combination and with seconds to go she’s backing Claudia up a little. Nasty counter right lands for the Brazilian again though. Big charging takedown from Gadelha ends the round. Another one in the books for her.

Third round and Gadelha opens again with a pair of heavy combinations. Big knee from Claudia sets up a right hook but Jessica is hanging tough and she lands a couple of leg kicks. Aguilar’s leg kicks are working well actually but she needs a finish to win. Uppercut lands for Gadelha. Big right hook wobbles Jessica for a second but she manages to recover well and swings back with some hard punches of her own. Takedown attempt from Aguilar but Gadelha shows excellent defense and stays on her feet. Left elbow and a right hand break the clinch for Claudia. Aguilar’s face is a real mess. She’s got a ton of heart though as she’s still firing off from the pocket. Body kick from Gadelha and she stuffs another takedown attempt. More leg kicks from Aguilar and one sets up a decent combination. Right into a left land hard for Gadelha. They continue to exchange as Joe Rogan’s getting a bit frustrating now, overselling the leg kicks from Jessica and underselling Gadelha’s heavy punches. One minute to go and Gadelha’s still tagging her with punches, before landing a huge takedown with seconds to go. She settles into Aguilar’s guard and avoids a big upkick before taking the back to end the fight. 30-27 shutout for Claudia Gadelha.

Official scores are 30-27 all round for Claudia Gadelha. This was a really impressive showing for her as not only did she consistently beat Aguilar to the punch with faster and sharper hands, but she also looked much bigger and stronger too, slamming her all over the place from the clinch and from outside with double legs. Sure she took some leg kicks but otherwise it was a flawless performance against a really top level fighter. The inevitable rematch against Jedrzejczyk should be VERY interesting. As for Aguilar I think she probably had a bit of Octagon shock but in general she was beaten by a better fighter. Despite that I think she has a lot of success going forward anyway and I’d like to see her in there with any of the other established Strawweights as there’s so many fun fights to make – Tecia Torres, PVZ, Joanne Calderwood, Rose Namajunas and so on. Excellent opener.

Heavyweight Fight: Antonio Silva vs Soa Palelei

Two BIG DUDES right here. This looked pretty much like the last chance saloon for Bigfoot, not that I think the UFC would cut him outright because he’s quite popular and has a decent following, but more that with another KO loss you’d have to think Dana White would try to push him into retirement. He’s the one guy who I feel bad for with the whole TRT ban as I’ve said it before but with his disease (acromegaly) he actually needs the treatment. Whether or not he should be trying to beat guys up for a living while on the treatment is another debate I guess. Anyway Palelei looked like a winnable fight for Bigfoot – he’s a big, slow guy who’s never really shown KO power standing, but with Bigfoot’s chin the way it is then this was anyone’s fight.

Round One and Bigfoot stalks forward and lands a big knee, but Palelei catches it and tries to take him down. Silva defends and they end up against the fence in a clinch, where Palelei continues to look for the takedown. Good defense from Bigfoot but Palelei keeps him pressed tightly into the fence. Bigfoot breaks free and takes a couple of jabs, before blocking a rush from the Aussie. Front kick glances for Palelei. Another jab from Palelei but Bigfoot counters with a short uppercut that stuns the Aussie, and Bigfoot comes forward with a knee to the chest that leads to the clinch. They muscle for position inside the clinch with Bigfoot trying to get Soa down, but the Aussie defends well. Some mild booing comes from the crowd now due to all the clinching. Slick trip takedown from Palelei puts him on top in half-guard. That was a really nice takedown actually. He looks to posture up to deliver some shots, but Bigfoot begins to work for a sweep. He gives up on that to defend the punches, but takes some heavy hammer fists and punches from the Aussie before getting to full guard. Palelei postures up to attempt to pass the guard, moving into half-guard, and from there he lands some strong punches as the round ends. 10-9 Palelei.

Round Two and Bigfoot backs Palelei up and catches him with a nice short uppercut. He shoves the big Aussie back into the fence and lands another uppercut and a BIG KNEE and suddenly Palelei is in trouble! Another knee from Bigfoot and he opens up with some more SLEDGEHAMMER UPPERCUTS and Palelei WILTS UNDER THE POWER until Big John McCarthy stops it!

Really surprising finish there as Palelei had Bigfoot in trouble at the end of the first round but just seemed like he came into the 2nd with nothing, and as soon as Bigfoot caught him with that uppercut he was practically done. I guess even as his chin and athleticism has waned, he’s still got that brutal punching power that he always had. This pretty much saved Bigfoot’s career – his first knockout since Alistair Overeem and his best showing since the Mark Hunt war – while *Palelei* actually ended up retiring in order to spend more time with his family and help MMA to grow in Australia. Hey, he’s 38 and always came off as a really nice guy so good luck to him.

Heavyweight Fight: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Stefan Struve

Speaking of retirements, I was surprised to see Nogueira come out for another fight following his loss in 2014 to Roy Nelson, a fight that had seen him suffer one of the worst knockouts I’d seen in a long time. The rumor after that was that he was partially blind in one eye, really disturbing stuff. At least he’d had over a year away I guess, but even then he’d apparently had various surgeries and operations. Struve was coming off a knockout loss of his own – to Alistair Overeem – but as he wasn’t anywhere near as banged up as Nogueira he looked like the smart pick here. Sad really because in his prime I think Nogueira would’ve eaten a guy like Struve for breakfast.

Round One and Nogueira comes out with a combo, cracks Struve with a left hook and forces the Dutchman into the fence. Crowd are wildly behind Nog as you’d expect. Double underhooks for Nogueira and he tries to muscle Struve down, but the big man remains on his feet. Nogueira ducks down for a double leg and then switches to a single, but he still can’t get Struve down. Struve manages to separate and he lands with a BIG RIGHT HAND that buckles Nogueira’s legs! Nog manages to clinch again, slowing Struve down, but he got hurt there. Struve breaks off again and cracks Nogueira with the right hand again, but the legend’s chin holds up and he manages to clinch and force Struve back to the fence again. Nice trip from Nogueira but Struve proves to be too strong and he reverses to his feet, forcing Nog to get back up and he does it SLOWLY like an old man, ugh. Head kick glances for Struve and he nails Nogueira with a stiff jab. Combo follows and he shrugs off a clinch. Hard leg kick from Struve. Wild trade follows and now Struve gets hurt by some punches, but they clinch up again and Struve manages to recover and shrug him off. Wild punches from Nogueira but Struve takes them and returns fire with a knee. Few kicks from Struve from the outside including a hard front kick. Both men land with right hands and Struve adds another leg kick. Stiff jab into a front kick from Struve. Nogueira manages to clinch again and nails him with a left on the way out, but Struve ends the round with a leg kick and a big combo that wobbles Nog’s legs. 10-9 Struve for the more significant offense.

Round Two and Struve opens with a really heavy leg kick. Nogueira tries to walk him down but he takes another one from the Skyscraper. Big flurry from Nog allows him to clinch, but Struve seems okay and he immediately forces the Brazilian into the fence. They jockey for position along the fence and Nog manages to take the back standing and drag Struve down, getting one hook in. Crowd go INSANE as it looks like he might have the choke sunk, but Struve manages to avoid and spins, only to find himself mounted. He bucks his hips though and goes for a leglock, but Nogueira pulls free and they stand back up. Couple of good punches from Nogueira but Struve manages to tag him with a left and follows with a knee and an uppercut. He’s still allowing Nogueira to come inside though and the Brazilian wades into the clinch with punches and goes for a single leg. Struve stuffs it and nails him with a front kick to the body and a long straight left. Another kick follows. Again though Nogueira wades through into the clinch and goes for the takedown. He gets the rear waistlock again, but this time Struve spins free and nails him with a hard uppercut that wobbles him. Big knee follows but Nogueira shrugs off an attempted plum clinch. More kicks from Struve keep Nogueira at distance, before a wild trade sees both men narrowly miss with haymakers. Struve is doing a really good job with his kicks in this round. Nasty knee lands for him too and he avoids a flurry and hurts Nog with a right hand. Clinch again from Nogueira and he forces Struve back, but can’t get him down as the round ends. 10-9 Struve again.

Round Three and Nogueira looks pretty rough. He gets hurt by a front kick to the body and another right hand, but he still manages to clinch and trips Struve down to a big pop. Crowd die though as Struve immediately reverses to his feet. He separates too and now both guys look tired, throwing really laboured punches. Good combination from Struve forces Nogueira backwards. Right hand answers for Nog. Front kick to the body again from Struve and he’s still using the leg kicks well too. Straight left connects for Nogueira but he’s taking more kicks to the body. More kicks follow but again Nogueira manages to cut off the cage and clinch, forcing Struve into the fence. Struve breaks off and continues where he left off by working his kicks. BRUTAL head kick connects for Struve but somehow Nogueira takes it, zombie-like, and wades into the clinch again. Nog still can’t get the big man down and they break off again. Heavy leg kick from Struve. Right hand follows and lands flush. Nogueira comes back with a right of his own as Struve’s defense is still negligent. Good jab from him though. They trade some punches and somehow Nogueira keeps on pressing forward. Big combo from Struve hurts him but he won’t stop pushing. He’s walking into punch after punch now though. Struve hurts him with another combo on the buzzer. I’ve got this 30-27 Struve but could see 29-28 if you gave Nog the first round.

And it’s a unanimous decision for Stefan Struve, 30-27 all round. Crowd aren’t happy with that but Struve shows a ton of respect to Nogueira and that seems to gain him some popularity back in a bit of an emotional scene. Probably Struve’s biggest career win in terms of name value (although you could argue Stipe Miocic is his most relevant one) but in all honesty I didn’t think he looked that great, as while he beat Nogueira up with his kicks and wobbled him a few times, he never really kept the Brazilian at the end of his strikes and consistently allowed Nogueira to land flurries and close the distance on him. Nogueira showed a ton of heart – did you ever expect anything different? – but he was definitely beaten well in this one and looked like a broken shell of his past, great self, and so I’m glad he’s chosen to retire and take a behind-the-scenes role with Zuffa as carrying on would’ve been horrendous for his health. I fully expect him to end up in the UFC Hall of Fame too, probably next July in fact at UFC 200. It’s hard to rank these fighters now due to stuff like Fabricio Werdum’s sudden surge of greatness, but I think it’d still be fair to call Nogueira the second-best HW of all time behind Fedor. He’s just had an amazing career and if you haven’t seen his PRIDE back catalogue then you’re doing yourself an injustice as it’s fantastic. This fight on the other hand wasn’t really all that but I’d rather this than a repeat of the Nelson KO for Nog.

TUF Brazil IV: Bantamweight Finals: Reginaldo Vieira vs Dileno Lopes

This was the first of the TUF finals and in my eyes it featured the best prospect on this season in Dileno Lopes, a natural Flyweight admittedly but an absolutely sick grappler and well-rounded fighter out of the Nova Uniao camp. I’d compare him to a younger Jussier Formiga but with better striking, basically. He’d beaten Bruno Silva and Matheus Nicolau to make the finals. Vieira had the big comeback story of the season though as he’d been eliminated in the quarter-finals by Nicolau before being brought back to replace the injured Giovanni Santos, and from there he defeated Matheus Mattos and Bruno Mesquita to book his spot. Despite the cool story, however, I thought Lopes would tap him in a round or two.

Fight begins and they trade some pretty wild shots into the clinch where Lopes goes to town with uppercuts. They separate and trade wildly again before finally backing up a bit. Crazy beginning. Nice right hook from Lopes as Vieira comes forward. They clinch and Lopes goes for a takedown, but Vieira locks up a guillotine and jumps to guard. Lopes tackles him down and looks to escape, but Vieira’s still got a deep choke from half-guard. Lopes skips into side mount though to alleviate it and manages to free himself. Now HE goes for a guillotine and jumps to guard and this looks close. Vieira’s in big trouble. Lopes keeps cranking but somehow Vieira frees himself and lands a big knee, and they TRADE WILDLY before Lopes drops him to his knees with a right! He shoots, but Lopes clamps onto another guillotine and pulls guard again. This one looks even tighter, and Lopes absolutely STRAINS on it like David Terrell on Evan Tanner. Vieira hangs tough and escapes, and they pop to their feet where Lopes desperately tries to drag him back down. Lopes forces him into the fence but Vieira goes for a guillotine, but this time Dileno frees his head before Vieira can pull guard. One minute to go and they trade some more strikes with Vieira answering a big body kick with a hard right hand. Hard body kick lands for Vieira. These guys are really swinging. Wild right hook lands for Vieira but Lopes swings right back and stuns him with a left. Round ends there. Close round to score; probably Vieira’s by a hair.

Into the 2nd and Lopes’s left eye is in bad shape. Nice right hand from Vieira forces him backwards. Winging flurry misses for Lopes. Good leg kick from Vieira. Action’s really slowed down in this round. Maybe they gassed themselves in that wild opening round. Hard body kick lands for Lopes and almost leads to another wild trade, but this time they both back out. Nice counter left to the body from Lopes as Vieira pushes forward. Vieira comes back with an inside leg kick. Overhand right into a left hook from Lopes. Action slows up a little as both men seem a bit tentative now. Counter left hand lands again for Lopes. Body kick into a left hand follow and Vieira’s hurt. He swings right back with a right hand though and we get another brief shootout with both men landing hard punches. Clinch from Vieira and he lands with a knee but Lopes shrugs him off. Wild swings glance for Lopes. Good duck-under from Lopes and he hits a single leg to guard. Vieira ties him up but still takes some shots to the body and head. Referee stands them up with literally seconds remaining, and Lopes ends it with a body kick. His face is busted up badly, but I think he did enough to take the round. 10-9 Lopes to even it up.

Third and final round and Vieira opens with a nasty low kick. Lopes fires back with one of his own with less impact. Both men land some punches and then Vieira chambers off the leg kick again. Head kick from Vieira but Lopes fires back with a quick combo. Lopes is definitely wearing the damage the worse of the two. He tries to clinch but Vieira shrugs it off. Nice left hook from Lopes and a follow-up combo has Vieira on the retreat. Takedown follows and he’s got Vieira down in guard. Vieira ties him up to prevent much damage, and the crowd begin to boo slightly as he passes into half-guard. Vieira reverses but Lopes goes for the guillotine again and pulls guard. This looks pretty tight actually and Vieira is in trouble, but he manages to hold on, despite bleeding badly from somewhere as there’s a ton of blood all over the side of Lopes. He manages to slip his head free eventually – probably aided by all the blood – but Lopes goes to work with some elbows from the bottom. Vieira replies with some hard hammer fists from the top, busting Lopes up some more. Seconds to go and they continue to exchange on the ground, and the round ends with both men going wild with strikes in Lopes’s guard. Another tight round – I’d go 10-9 Lopes by a hair, giving him the win 29-28, but it could go either way.

Judges have it 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27…..for Reginaldo Vieira. Wow. Can’t agree with that 30-27 score although I wouldn’t say Lopes was robbed, given all three rounds were very close. Fight had a few slow points after that frantic opening round but for the most part it was a lot of fun, as you can’t knock either man as they came out and left everything they had in the cage. I still think Lopes has the brighter future – he’ll probably drop to 125lbs for his next fight – while Vieira will do well not to become the Brazilian Court McGee – the last guy to come back in TUF and end up winning the tournament – but regardless, this was a solid fight that didn’t let the card down at all.

TUF Brazil IV: Lightweight Finals: Glaico Franca vs Fernando Bruno

The other TUF final was in my opinion a trickier one to pick, as both men had looked pretty smooth on the show – Franca had tapped out both Nikolas Motta and Joaquim Silva, and while ‘Acougueiro’ had gone to a decision in both of his fights, he’d looked excellent in both, beating the hilariously nicknamed ‘Jack Godzilla’ and then the most experienced fighter in the cast in Nazareno Malegarie. Despite Franca having a bit of a size advantage, as Acougueiro is more of a natural 145lber, I was going for the superior experience of Bruno to pull out the win, especially as he trains with a top team in Nova Uniao to boot.

Round One begins and Franca opens with a pair of hard leg kicks. He’s huge for a 155lber. Bruno comes in with a right hand and looks for a flurry, but Franca avoids the majority of it. These guys look separated by two weight classes. Bruno looks for a flurry and ends up forcing Franca into the fence where he shoots, but Franca defends and takes the back for a second. Acougueiro reverses and pops back up, where he goes for the takedown again, and eventually he gets the bigger man off his feet. Franca immediately works to his feet though and they wind up clinched on the fence. Nice knee to the body from Bruno and he continues to work hard to try to get Franca down. Switch of position sees Franca drop for a takedown of his own, and he manages to get it, ripping Bruno’s legs from under him. Bruno scrambles right away but he can’t escape to his feet and Franca takes top position in a loose butterfly guard. Bruno tries to escape, but he gives his back in the process of standing and Franca drags him back down and gets one hook in. Bruno manages to stand again and now the crowd boo as they continue to grapple for position. Another takedown from Franca follows and this time he almost gets both hooks in, but ends up clamped on with one hook as Bruno stands. Franca tries to drag him back down, and the round ends with him in sort-of back control. 10-9 Franca.

Round Two and Franca opens with a pair of hard leg kicks and then a glancing head kick. Clinch from Bruno but Franca muscles him back into the fence. They muscle for position again and Bruno trips him down for a second, but Franca pops right back up. This is a pretty dull fight. Bruno keeps trying to get him down, but Franca seems too big and strong for him to handle. Takedown from Franca leads to a rear waistlock as Bruno stands, and he drags him back down only for Bruno to spin into the guard and take top position. Bruno tries to advance position, but he’s not doing any damage at all here. Crowd are openly booing now. Elbows from the bottom from Franca and he explodes up as Bruno tries to stand over him. Kick to the body from Franca and they clinch before Bruno hits a NICE outside trip, but loses position and Franca ends up on top and takes the back with both hooks! That was a slick move from Franca. Bruno tries to stand up as Franca looks to lock the choke in, and neither man is successful. Franca switches to a body triangle and keeps trying to sink the choke in, but Bruno defends well and the round ends with Franca in firm control. 10-9 Franca.

Round Three and again Franca opens with some kicks. This time Bruno senses some desperation and swarms on him with punches, but he can’t land anything cleanly and Franca clinches. Bruno forces him into the fence, and eventually works to trip Franca down. He takes the back and gets both hooks in, but Franca slips his head free of a choke attempt and then spins, taking Bruno’s back in the process. That was some excellent grappling from Franca. Bruno stands though and breaks the clinch, and suddenly he lands some big shots that seem to have Franca hurt! He drops for a takedown and it looks like Franca’s gassed. Bruno takes the back again but Franca shrugs him off and stands. They stay clinched and Franca sticks him with a knee to the body, but apparently it landed low and referee Herb Dean has to call time to let Bruno recover. They restart and Franca lands with a body kick and a knee before stuffing a takedown. Bruno stuffs one from him before dodging a head kick, and he lands a left hand. Franca suddenly looks gassed, but brute force allows him to drive Bruno into the fence again. Takedown follows and Franca works with some elbows inside the guard before looking to take the back as Bruno turns again. Both hooks in for Franca again and with just under a minute to go he locks up the rear naked choke and this time gets it in properly for the tapout.

Not the greatest fight of all time outside of the odd bright spot but it wasn’t horrible or anything like the TUF-hating crowd made out at the time. Story of the fight was basically that Franca’s massive size and strength advantage made it hard for Bruno to get his grappling game going, and in the end he ran out of steam trying and it allowed Franca to sink the choke and seal the deal. Going forward I think Franca could definitely have some success if he can continue to develop, as he’s only young (23) and has such a massive advantage with that size at 155lbs. His build is reminiscent of Tony Ferguson actually and while he’s a totally different fighter, look at how well Tony has done with that size. As for Acougueiro, I expect him to drop to 145lbs next time around but I don’t know how well he’ll do there with his grappling-heavy style with a lack of wrestling and top-level striking. Most likely I think he ends up as a lesser version of Hacran Dias, which isn’t terrible, but might not keep him around for all that long.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs Mauricio Rua

This was of course the rematch of the 2005 FOTYC between the two Brazilians in the PRIDE Grand Prix that year and man, that does NOT feel like ten years ago. Anyway, while the original meeting had been one of the best fights in PRIDE history I honestly didn’t think this one would live up to the original as both guys have slowed down a lot since then, understandable given all the wars they’ve been in since. My pick was Lil’ Nog mainly because he didn’t seem quite as banged up as Shogun despite suffering a horrific knockout loss to Anthony Johnson in his last fight. No shame in losing to a monster like Rumble after all.

Round One begins and it’s Shogun pushing forward as Nogueira circles on the outside. Not much action going on in the first thirty seconds actually as both seem tentative. Body kick lands for Shogun and he blocks a counter left hand. One-two connects for Nogueira and he avoids the response from Shogun. Brief clinch is broken by a Nogueira left hand. Good right hand from Shogun and they trade briefly before Shogun also lands an inside leg kick. Into the clinch and Nogueira muscles Rua into the fence. They break off quickly and then trade some punches with both men missing haymakers. Decent left hand counter lands for Nog. Another exchange of punches sees both men miss. Good right hand from Shogun and he follows with a front kick and a NASTY body kick. Short right hand from Shogun but he takes a left hand counter and suddenly his legs are wobbly! Nogueira closes him down and looks to swarm him, and a right uppercut buckles his legs again! He’s in deep trouble. Shogun tries to reply but he’s eating clean punches from Nogueira and only just deflecting a lot of them. Shogun is out on his feet, wow. He stumbles along the fence, but somehow Nogueira gets caught with something and wobbles back himself. Looked more like a trip though and he opens up with punches again. Shogun tries to grab hold of him in a clinch, but Nogueira lands another clean combo on him and ends the round with a nice knee. Shogun is cut around his left eye. 10-9 Nogueira.

Round Two and Shogun opens with a hard leg kick. Takedown attempt from Shogun and he gets Nog down with a single leg. Nogueira gets half-guard and then full butterfly guard, but he takes a couple of chopping lefts from Shogun. Crowd boo pretty quickly as Shogun passes into half-guard. To be fair the action has slowed a lot. Shogun tries to pass the half-guard, but Nogueira as you’d expect prevents that and then manages to hit a sweep and get back to his feet. That was nice. Body kick lands for Shogun. Another one follows. Nogueira looks a bit tired to me. Looks like he might be busted up around the right eye too. Into the clinch and Shogun forces him into the fence and lands a couple of knees to the legs. Crowd boo the inactivity and referee Mario Yamasaki has to call a clean break. 1:20 to go and Shogun misses a right hand haymaker. Body kick glances for Nogueira. Nice left hand from Nogueira. Body kick answers for Shogun. Good leg kick from Nog. Left hook from Shogun connects and leads to a brief trade and Shogun follows up with another hard body kick. Round ends with a heavy leg kick from Shogun. 10-9 Shogun to even things up; not nearly as exciting as the first round though.

Round Three and Shogun opens with the body kick again. He’s really landing them well. Left hand from Nogueira backs him up a bit and he lands the best shot in an exchange too with a left. Brief clinch is shrugged off and Shogun lands with another brutal body kick, but Nogueira comes back with a combo and a knee to the body. Trip attempt from Shogun but Nogueira blocks it and they end up clinched. Impatient crowd as they begin to boo again. They break off of their own accord this time and again Shogun connects on the body kick. Nogueira comes back with a combo though and forces Shogun on the retreat. Leg kick from Shogun but Nogueira follows with a combo and lands a really hard straight left. Right hook answers for Shogun and they exchange before the former champ looks for a single leg. Nogueira stuffs it and it’s back to the clinch. Exchange on the break sees Nogueira land with the left hand again. Leg kick answers for Shogun and he circles out. Nice counter right from Shogun. Both men connect in an exchange but Shogun’s body kick lands the hardest. Both men look unbelievably slow now, sadly. Exchange continues and Shogun again lands with the body kick. Double leg attempt from Shogun but Nogueira works to stuff it and then jumps for a guillotine. He really wrenches on it and it looks tight, but Shogun guts it out and frees his head. Crowd pop big for that. Seconds remaining now and Shogun ends the round on top with some elbows. I’d call that 10-9 Shogun – largely for the body kicks – and give him a 29-28 comeback win.

All three judges have it 29-28 for Shogun, giving him the win again just as it was in PRIDE. Crowd seem to boo the decision but I don’t get that at all. It seemed like a lot of writers online gave it to Nogueira as well but I disagree – he was just too inactive in the second round and then I thought Shogun eked out the third too. Fight was okay I suppose – it didn’t come close to the original but it was never going to – but it just looked like both guys were really slow and beaten down and I just think it’s probably time for both men to hang it up. You just can’t go through the wars that these guys have been through and be capable of much after you’ve been fighting for over ten years. I fully expect to see them continue though probably until Dana White tries to stop them as he did with Big Nog.

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title: Ronda Rousey vs Bethe Correia

So much to discuss with this one! Firstly, if we’re frank this wasn’t Ronda’s best challenger – Correia was unbeaten and 3-0 in the UFC, but her best win was the past-her-prime Shayna Baszler and the two reasons she’d been given a shot at Ronda were one, she’d beaten two of Ronda’s ‘Four Horsewomen’ in Baszler and Jessamyn Duke, and two, Ronda had basically cleaned out the rest of the contenders at this point outside of girls like Holly Holm and Julianna Pena who were still making their way up. Despite the lame-duck feel of the challenger though, things were made more interesting when the fight was announced as being in Correia’s native Brazil and also when Correia got personal with the trash talk, bringing up Ronda’s father’s suicide and all sorts of nasty shit. Not that it would’ve mattered had Correia remained silent to be honest – this was the height of the Ronda-mania that followed her win over Cat Zingano, and somehow she was being cheered in Brazil over Correia! Like the majority of fans I was giving Correia a puncher’s chance here and barely that to be honest as I didn’t think she was anywhere near as good as Ronda’s past opponents – Zingano, Miesha Tate, Alexis Davis et al – let alone Ronda herself.

Fight begins and holy shit the crowd heat is OFF THE CHARTS. Ronda comes right forward and attacks and she’s getting tagged by a couple of left hands but walking right through them. Clinch from Rousey allows her to deliver a trio of uppercuts and she forces Correia backwards. She shoves the challenger down but Correia pops right back up, and they TRADE WILDLY with Ronda NAILING Correia with a left hand that clearly stuns her! Big knee and another left hand follow before a THUMPING RIGHT HAND lands cleanly to the temple and switches Correia’s lights out. She goes down face-first and that’s it. Whole fight lasted 35 seconds, the third title defense in a row for Ronda lasting under a minute which is unbelievable.

Crazy stuff. If I were reviewing this show like the day or week after I’d say this pushed Ronda into the Mike Tyson territory of people just tuning in to see how quickly she can beat an opponent – and they did, of course, pushing this show close to a million buys! – but of course since UFC 193’s happened we all know that Ronda in the Tyson territory lasted for an even shorter time than Tyson in the Tyson territory did. Looking back it’d be easy too to say we should’ve seen it coming – sure, Ronda scored a clean knockout in under a minute here, but she was also wildly brawling with Correia and got hit quite a few times too, it was just that Correia never really had the punching power or skill to catch her properly before she got caught herself. So in hindsight for a lifelong technical striker like Holly Holm to take advantage of that isn’t as surprising as it seemed. But then I said the same about Cat Zingano being able to take advantage of Ronda’s inner Diego Sanchez brawler and she got tapped in seconds. So yeah, it’s very easy to say that we should’ve seen Ronda’s downfall coming, but I mean, everyone – including myself – was caught up in the hype and she was wiping the floor with everyone she faced just like she did here. Hindsight is hindsight, you know? And we’ll talk more about this when I get round to UFC 193. Back to this fight, it was a squash but definitely a memorable one and it was also an ultra-rare clean knockout in women’s MMA. Definitely the best thing about this show.

-Show ends as Goldie and especially Rogan wax lyrical about Ronda, then we hit the highlight reel.

Final Thoughts….

Looking back without the Ronda-mania surrounding it I thought this was a bit of a disappointing show in terms of fight quality. Gadelha/Aguilar and Lopes/Vieira were both really good, Nogueira/Shogun was about as good as we could’ve expected from those two in 2015 and of course Ronda’s big knockout was a memorable one and put a real cap on the show, but then we also had a bit of a stinker in Bruno/Franca; Nogueira/Struve was pretty dull and so was Bigfoot/Palelei before the knockout. You’ve probably all seen Ronda/Correia by now so I’d say track down the other women’s fight and the rest is probably not worth a look. It’s a thumbs in the middle, leaning slightly down for UFC 190.

Best Fight: Lopes vs. Vieira
Worst Fight: Franca vs. Bruno

Overall Rating: **1/4

Until next time,

Scott Newman: