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Mauricio Rua left no doubt he’s superior to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on Saturday when he made it 3-0 over his longtime rival at UFC on ESPN 14.

After “Shogun” picked up wins in the first two meetings in 2005 and 2015, Rua (27-11-1 MMA, 11-9-1 UFC) made it a clean series sweep over Nogueira (23-10 MMA, 6-7 UFC) with a split decision victory in the trilogy bout with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.

Nogueira was looking to end his MMA career on a high, as he pegged the matchup as his retirement bout. Rua was having none of it, though, and did not allow his fellow Brazilian to go out on a high.

The light heavyweight bout was the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 14, which aired on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+ from Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

Both men were tentative to start the fight, but Rua pressed the action first with a pair of powerful leg kicks. He moved in and pressed Nogueira against the fence, but Nogueira broke free and landed a hard hook. Rua respected the striking and landed kicks to the leg and body of his opponent. The offensive moments started to pick up in the final two minutes, with both men tagging each other with hooks. Nogueira seemed to stagger Rua, who answered by securing a takedown in the final 30 seconds.

Rua came out in the second with more leg kicks of Nogueira, who looked to counter with his punches stepping in. Some more intense exchanges followed, then Nogueira ran into Rua with his body and sent him to the ground. Nogueira started to chip away with ground-and-pound as Rua bided his time to get back up to his feet. He did with about two minutes remaining, then came after Nogueira with a punch and kick combination before shooting for a takedown that was stopped. Rua landed his best right hand of the fight moments later, but Nogueira remained composed. They exchanged over the final two minutes, with both landing some solid strikes.

Nogueira came out looking to press the action in the final round of his career. He pushed forward through Rua’s kicks to the body and head and worked his boxing to the head. The pace slowed through the middle of the round, with both men jabbing away at the face and body of their opponent. Rua landed a tight right hand, but his power seems to be doing little to Nogueira. He landed a couple more after before Nogueira stung him back with the left straight. Rua responded with a flurry of clean punches that set up a takedown attempt. He worked away from half guard over the final minute to close out a third and final tightly contested bout.

After the fight, Nogueira confirmed he would be walking away from the sport.

“I fight very well. I know I can fight very well,” Nogueira said. “But I think it’s time for me to leave this behind.”

Rua, meanwhile, was thrilled to get another win.

“I’m very happy,” Rua said. “I beat the legend Nogueira three times. I’m very happy. Every fight with Nogueira is a war.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN 14 results include:



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