It was 2005 when Antonio Rogerio “Minotauro” Nogueira stepped into the ring with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. It was the quarterfinals of the 2005 PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix tournament and both fighters had just come off of the biggest wins of their careers: Shogun defeating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Nogueira beating Dan Henderson.
The match between these two Brazilian warriors was nothing short of breathless. In the end, Rua would end up winning by decision and eventually went on to take the tournament championship. At UFC 161, which happens June 11, these two will step into the octagon.
Since he made his debut in 2009, Nogueira has slowly climbed up the ladder of the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. He has gone 4-2 in his last six fights. In his last two fights, he has defeated two former UFC Light Heavyweight champions: Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz.
There has been speculation from fans and critics that Rua is not the fighter he once was back in his PRIDE days. Although he has gone 3-3 in his last six fights, the former PRIDE champion still has what it takes to put on a good fight. A match with a former opponent like Nogueira could give him the motivation to revert back to the Shogun who tore through PRIDE’s middleweight division.
Both fighters are well versed when it comes to the striking department. Shogun is a berserker who will come at you with kicks, while Minotauro has an extensive boxing background. Nogueira has a slight advantage when it comes to the ground game and conditioning. There has been talk that Shogun seems to gas out during long fights, which could work to Nogueira’s advantage.
If their first match is a precursor to their upcoming rematch, Nogueira and Shogun could earn “Fight of the Night” honors.
Who do you think will win between Nogueira and Shogun? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA.