Last August at UFC 190 in Rio, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio “Minotouro” Nogueira had a rematch 10-years in the making. The first fight — a classic from the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix — was a tough act to follow. The rematch, however, was much like the original: Shogun coming out on top in a Fight of the Night performance. As enjoyable as the fight was, both men have had a difficult time in the UFC.
While inconsistent performances from the talented duo have frustrated their many fans, they will have the full support of a raucous Brazilian crowd against their American opponents at UFC 198.
“Lil Nog” is up first, as he headlines the Fight Pass portion of the card against Patrick Cummins. Nogueira is staring down the barrel of the first three-fight losing streak of his career. The aforementioned loss to Shogun, combined with an entirely predictable (but no less saddening) knockout at the hands of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has fans wondering how much more time Minotouro has left in his career.
The 39-year old Nogueira would disagree with those suggesting retirement is around the corner, recently stating his plans to fight for 2 more years. A win here against Cummins would help Nogueira make sure any of those future fights he has planned take place inside the Octagon.
Cummins, for his part, has only suffered defeat from the likes of Daniel Cormier, Ovince Saint Preux and Glover Teixeira. The losses to the top end of the UFC light heavyweight have led to Cummins sporting a measly 4-3 record in the Octagon. While he’s lost to the upper tier, he’s beaten the lower tier fighters in his wins. Nogueira would seem to fall somewhere more in the middle of the calibre of opponent Cummins has faced. Unfortunately for the Brazilian crowd, we expect Cummins to have his arm raised despite the hostile crowd.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua appears set to open up the main card as he faces off against a man with one of the, uh…most unique…nicknames in MMA, Corey “Beastin’ 25/8” Anderson. Shogun, coming off his victory over “Lil’ Nog”, is looking to build some momentum after stringing together a pair of 1-2 performances over his prior six fights (dating all the way back to 2012).
Obviously injuries have plagued Rua throughout his up-and-down UFC tenure. The former champion finds himself in a similar position to Nogueira, with fans becoming more vocal with discussions about retirement. It’s not exactly a new topic with the enigmatic Shogun, unfortunately, with his family even pushing him to retire in a 2014 interview. In February, Shogun (who was originally scheduled to face Rashad Evans, which fell through for a second time) had dreams of reaching the top 5 rankings once again.
Shogun is certainly the biggest name opponent Anderson has faced, and the scale of UFC 198 will bring a new level of magnitude for “Beastin 25/8”, which we think will lead to a wild celebration for those in attendance as Shogun puts it together one last time for a vintage performance in front of 40,000 Brazilian fans.