Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira gained his first win in Brazil, knocking out Brendan Schaub in the first round of their UFC Rio bout.
Nogueira, who hadn’t seen action since early 2010, made sure he didn’t walk away from his first professional fight in Brazil with a loss, upsetting the favored Schaub with strikes on the feet.
The two heavyweights clinched early against the cage. After some strikes by both fighters, the two separated and measured distance until Schaub landed a clean uppercut. Nogueira kept coming forward and Schaub kept landing jabs and right uppercuts.
The punches didn’t stop the Brazilian and he landed a one-two combination that severely hurt Schaub. Nogueira continued throwing strikes and dropped his opponent. Schuab fell face-first to the mat and Nogueira followed with punches from behind. The fight was stopped at 3:09 of the first round.
The Brazilian crowd went nuts when the mixed martial arts legend had his hands raised as the winner.
“For [three-and-a-half months], I trained for this fight,” Nogueira said as the Rio de Janeiro crowd applauded loudly.
“This was my [40th fight], first fight in Brazil. So, I fought for them,”
Nogueira was out 18 months before scoring the knockout win at UFC 134 Rio. Surgeries on his hips and knees slowed his return to the Octagon, but Saturday night was a statement in proving ring rust and injuries do little to stop “Big Nog.”
In defeat, Schaub loses his first fight since being knocked out by Roy Nelson in the Ultimate Fighter Heavyweight Finale in 2009.