by Tom Hamlin, MMAWeekly.com
UFC 93: Rua Outlasts Exhausted Coleman by Tom Hamlin

Whether it was the adrenaline dump that comes with a resurgence in the world’s premiere MMA promotion, a twenty five pound weight cut, or simply a seventeen-year age deficit with his opponent, Mark Coleman was not present for his UFC 93 fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

The 44 year-old seemed to expend most of his energy in the first two minutes of the fight, catching a huge knee en route to an early takedown.

What he had in abundance was heart, which he showed by hanging in there when it would have been easy to quit.

Very troubling was Rua’s conditioning, which seemed to fail him midway through the second round. Had a stiff Coleman jab not stifled his attempts to knockout the former UFC heavyweight champ, Rua would have likely ended the fight early.

As it was, the two mostly limped through their 14-some minutes together.

Coleman held top position early in the first, and landed some excellent shots from the top. But as in their first fight, Rua rolled for a kneebar and used the scramble to get to his feet.

In the open, Rua’s striking was not the kind fans have come to expect in his six-year career. Still, with Coleman absent, he was able to tee off on Coleman with his Muay Thai clinch and hooks from up close.

Rua’s leg kicks ensured that Coleman’s shot would be even slower than it already was, but even then, he gave up several takedowns.

Coleman took the shots and kept coming. Whenever Rua had room to let his hands go, he scored frequently.

By the third round, both fighters were running on fumes, with Coleman landing a takedown. Controlling from the top, he landed several punches from the top. For a moment, it looked like the Ohio State wrestler might be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

But when Rua locked in an oma plata shoulder lock from the bottom, and the referee miscalled a subsequent knee to Coleman’s shoulder as an illegal strike, it was open season again.

Rua pushed the action back to the cage, where a flurry of hooks and a right uppercut took the last of Coleman’s facilities from him, prompting a final referee stoppage at 4:36 of the third.

The two embraced after the fight, both exhausted, and appeared to quash a rivalry created by their first Pride meeting.

Afterwards, Coleman asked for a rematch.

“We’re one and one,” the lumped wrestler said. “Shogun, I respect you, but I can beat you.”