In what was seen as another “changing of the guard” fight at UFC on FOX 5, former 2005 Pride Grand Prix champion and UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua faced off against a very game Alexander Gustafsson. Early in the first round, the tall Swede was almost submitted early on with leg locks, but was able to use strong technique and brute strength to get free of the dangerous holds. The remainder of the round saw the young lion dominate with over 2x as many significant strikes landed.
Shogun came out swinging for the fences in the second, with a big shot that looked as if it temporarily dazed the larger man. Rua then continued the recent streak in his career of pursuing his opponents wildly and engaging in massive brawls. This “run and gun” style led directly to Gustafsson getting takedowns as he ducked big shots; takedowns that ate away at the clock and wore Rua down.
The third round saw Gustafsson take the back of Shogun to no avail. The former champ was able to get back to his feet and returned to trying to land the big overhand knockout blow. The Swede continued to duck, sway and avoid the big punches of Rua and countered with takedowns. A big front kick to the mouth from Gustafsson almost dropped Rua to his knees, but the tough Brazilian was able to make it to the final bell, regardless of the outcome.
With the win, Gustafsson moves to 15-1 overall and 7-1 in UFC. Rua falls to 21-7 and 5-5 since his UFC debut.
Winner: Alexander Gustafsson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)