Mauricio “Shogun” Rua picked up a split decision win over Corey Anderson on Saturday in front of his hometown crowd in Curitiba, Brazil. The 34-year-old former light heavyweight champion hadn’t fought in Curitiba since 2003.
Anderson’s plan was to not stand in front of the Brazilian and was doing a good job of it until the end of the opening round. He looked to be winning the round when Rua landed a left hand that dropped The Ultimate Fighter 19 winner. Rua followed Anderson to the canvas and delivered hammer fists, but the round ended before he could finish the fight.
In the second frame, Anderson worked his wrestling and put Rua on his back several times but was unable to inflict much damage. Rua scrambled to his feet each time and was able to score another knockdown late in the round. He caught a kick by Anderson and delivered a right hand down the middle that put Anderson on his back. It was a round that Anderson had controlled up until the knockdown.
In the final frame, Anderson decided to use his wrestling to stifle Rua’s offense. He put Rua on his back and landed right hands to the body, but Rua battled back to his feet. Anderson was able to take Rua down two more times, but was unable to keep him there. The fight ended with Anderson worked for another takedown.
After fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges scored the bout of Rua by split decision. It was the first time Rua has put together back-to-back wins since 2009.
“I knew that he was going to be a tough opponent. He won The Ultimate Fighter,” said Rua following the hometown win.
Rua, who is in the twilight of his career, said he continues to compete because he loves to fight.
“I’m a very fulfilled man. I was a champion twice. I do this because I love it,” he said.