Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Round 1: They immediately start to measure each other up, but it’s quickly apparent the great reach advantage that Gustafsson has with his size. He quickly drops Shogun to the mat, but Shogun answers by securing leg lock. Gustafsson escapes to his feet, but Shogun stays on him, landing some punches before they separate. Gustafsson fakes a jab, and instead takes Shogun to the mat, but quickly allows him up. Shogun catches a kick, drives forward with a counter right hand, planting Gustafsson on the mat. Gustafsson regains his feet, but Shogun has a body lock on and is peppering him with knees to the legs and punches to the head. Gustafsson breaks free and answers with a knee to the face. Shogun moves in, but eats another knee to the body for his efforts. Shogun blasts forward with a left-right combo that lands., doing a good job fighting through the reach advantage of the lanky Swede. Gustafsson shoots, but Shogun fends it off, nearly catching Gustafsson in a guillotine. 30 seconds left in the round and Gustafsson presses Shogun up against the cage, where they end the round. MMAWeekly.com scores the round 10-9 for Shogun.
Round 2: Shogun comes out firing and lands a couple big shots on Gustafsson, staggering him a bit. He soon follows with another big right hand, and another, and then a combination. Gustafsson appears a little frustrated by Shogun’s attack, out of his rhythm. Shogun is using a lot of movement around the cage to try and keep Gustafsson off balance, but the Swede catches up to him and presses him to the fence. The ref separates them and Gustafsson lands a low kick, but Shogun counters with a punch combination. Shogun body locks him, but Gustafsson reverses position on the way to the mat, planting Shogun on his back, but backs out and allows the Brazilian to regain his feet. Gustafsson lands a big shot, but Shogun answers with some staggering punches of his own. Gustafsson, however, lands another takedown, but Shogun quickly stands it back up, pressing Gustafsson to the fence. Gustafsson reverses position and peppers Shogun with punches to the body before tripping him to the mat. Gustafsson hammers Shogun with punches and knees as Shogun gets back to his feet, and follows a short time later with a knee to the chin that rocks Shogun’s head back. Gustafsson really turned it on for the latter half of the round, starting to find a lot of success. MMAWeekly.com scores round two 10-9 for Gustafsson.
Round 3: Both men throwing some heavy leather to open the round, but Gustafsson then goes to the takedown and gets him to the mat. they get back to their feet, Shogun swinging with the big overhand right, but having a little more difficulty landing now. Gustafsson lands the jab and uppercut, clinches and drives the knee to the body and then once again takes Shogun to the mat, which may prove to be a big difference maker to the judges, as Gustafsson has been fairly successful with his takedowns. He once again allows Shogun up, delivering a kick to the body that seemed to take all the steam out of Shogun, who appears to e hurting. Gustafsson drives him to the fence with a right hand followed by a knee, but then backs off. He’s being very cautious to not get caught with Shogun’s big right hand, but is still outstriking the former Pride and UFC champion. Gustafsson presses Shogun to the fence and they get restarted, Gustafsson just really outworking Shogun now, amassing 4, 5, 6 strikes to every one of Shogun’s. Big left hand by Shogun followed by a knee to the body as the round winds down, but Gustafsson presses him to the cage again and trips him to the mat just before the horn to end the fight. MMAWeekly.com scores round three 10-9 and the fight 29-28 for Gustafsson.
Alexander Gustafsson def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26), R3