Heading into UFC 190 this Saturday evening, all anyone can talk about is the main event between UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and undefeated challenger Bethe Correia. But let’s be perfectly honest; the main event is going to be a one-sided beating. The real action of the evening will be featured in the co-main event bout between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Mauricio Rua; a rematch of their 2005 classic that won ‘Fight of the Year’ honors.

Rua and Nogueira are names fight fans know immediately, but both men looked completely overmatched and outclassed in their most recent Octagon performances. Nogueira was decimated by former title challenger Anthony Johnson while Rua was annihilated by up and coming contender Ovince St. Preux.

It’s pretty safe to say that Rua and Nogueira’s best day are behind them, but when matched up with one another, we could just see a glimpse of the good ole’ days. While Rua got the best of him in their first meeting, things might just be different this time around. Looking at their most recent performance,s it appears as if Rua’s decline has been much sharper and this is Nogueira’s opportunity for revenge.

Work the Jab

Rua is a gifted striker, but he is at his best when he is working from the inside. A former Chute Boxe Academy member, Rua’s Muay Thai is deadly. But against more technical strikers, he has struggled in the past. Nogueira is one of the best boxers in the UFC having competed on the international level. Nogueira needs to pump his jab consistently into the face of Rua to keep him on the outside. Everything in boxing is predicated off of the jab, and Nogueira can create a lot of opportunities if he sticks to the basics.

Mix in Grappling

While both men are BJJ black belts, it’s no secret that Nogueira is the better pure grappler of the two. Nogueira doesn’t need to solely attack Rua with his grappling to win this bout, but he does need to threaten with it. Mixing in grappling throughout the bout will keep Rua honest on the feet and will allow Nogueira to be even more effective.

Push the Pace

Nogueira has never been known as a high octane, heavy action fighter, but he needs to press the action against Rua on Saturday. In his last several outings, Rua has looked lethargic and Nogueira needs to capitalize on that. Rua is tough and durable, but he has taken some beatings as of late, and if Nogueira pushes the pace, he could break his cardio early.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.