Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was nothing short of spectacular on Saturday night at UFC 102 in Portland, Oregon. The former Pride FC heavyweight champ dominated UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture through the better part of 3Rounds en route to posting an easy unanimous decision W.
Big Nog sent Couture to the canvas early in the 1stRound with a quick three-punch combo, however wasn’t able to finish the dazed Couture when he went in for the kill. Nog immediately transitioned to a d’arce choke attempt, which looked to be synced-in tightly, but Couture managed to wiggle free.
It was a pattern that reigned supreme throughout their entire 15 minute affair – Nog would have Couture in trouble, but was unable to finish due to Couture’s Ultimate Warrior-like relentlessness.
“The Natural” came out fast in the middle round, but wound up eating another barrage of fists for his troubles. Oddly, instead of continuing with his flurry, Nog decided to attempt a high-risk guillotine choke which found Couture landing in top position.
Couture attempted to inflict damage, however the crafty Brazilian was able to sweep and land in a dominant full mount position. After Nog landed a few strikes, Couture once again fought to his feet as the round ended.
The final five minutes were vary similar to the first five as Nogueira put Couture on the canvas again. They swing, clinch and grapple, but the final horn sounded with Big Nog raising his hands in victory and Couture looking down in the dumps.
It was one of the most highly anticipated matches in MMA history, one that would have been sick four years ago, however certainly didn’t disappoint anyone. Sure Nog posted a convincing 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision, but the fight was much closer and a lot more exciting than the scorecards indicated.
Most likely, it won’t be the last time we see Couture fighting professionally, however it may be getting really close to the time the 46-year-old loses his bout with Father Time.
But then again, that’s what we said about Couture after he lost to former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell more than three years ago, only to see him come back and capture the heavyweight crown.