Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
In a potential contender's bout, Alexander Gustafsson proved that he's a top Light Heavyweight
In a fight that could potentially determine the next UFC Light Heavyweight contender, Alexander Gustafsson faced off against former champ Mauricio Rua. Shogun had a chance to clinch the contendership in his last fight. However, his fourth round KO of Brandon Vera was overshadowed by Lyoto Machida blasting Ryan Bader.
Gustafsson worked from range early. He caught Shogun off balance and sent him to the mat. Alex jumped in Rua's half guard to land some ground and pound but found himself defending a leg lock. They got back to standing. Shogun hits a takedown and landed a solid knee as Gustafsson returned to his feet. Alex went back to landing from distance on a bloody nosed Shogun. Alex finishes out the round with Rua's back against the fence.
Shogun came out looking to land hard in the second round. Alex ate a couple before pushing Rua against the fence. Gustafsson landed on top after Rua failed a trip attempt. Back on the feet and Shogun landed a couple big shots before getting taken down. Alex hit big knees and punches as Shogun returned to his feet. Rua was competitive in the first two rounds, but Alex's size advantage and power shots wore him down.
Rua probably showed better movement in this fight than he has in either of his last two, but Alex "mauled" him. The crowd still chanted loudly for a busted up Rua in the 3rd round. Alex hurt Rua midway through the round with a big body shot. Rua showed great heart trying to land the big shot til the end. Alexander Gustafsson beat down Shogun Rua en route to a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) victory.