Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been my favorite mixed martial artist for years and years. I got hooked on the sport with UFC 10 but it was PRIDE that really cemented my love -- strangely, Mark Coleman played a major part in both.
Watching Nogueira's freakish chin, underrated boxing and devastating submission game applied against everyone from legitimate high end fighters to freaks like Bob Sapp (back when Bob Sapp was a thing that was interesting and frightening) was a treat. He also had a tendency to find a way to make every fight a thrill ride.
But years and years of physical abuse in the ring and cage have led us to hear.
Nogueira was knocked down early in his fight against Roy Nelson and never really looked able to recover. He was already a man who walked to the cage with a slight limp, rumored to be mostly blind in one eye, having had his arm savagely broken three fights prior and damaged again one fight again.
We can now add the multiple knockdowns and shocking, body stiffening knockout at the hands of Nelson to the list of trauma just in recent years. All piled on top of wars with Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko Cro Cop and many others.
It's sad to watch, and it's getting scary to think about just how much we're not only watching Nogueira fade and lose fights on his way to retirement, but are watching him physically destroyed.
- Clay Guida's win over Tatsuya Kawajiri was great stuff. Both men were aggressive in their attacks and Guida's style was complimented quite well by Kawajiri's game. I just don't understand the constant calling out of Conor McGregor from seemingly everyone on the roster. Then again, Guida has a bit of a history in derailing hype trains, so maybe there's some interest there.
- Poor John Howard took one of the worst low blows in recent memory and somehow managed to continue on. And all he got for his trouble was Ryan LaFlare winning every round in the fight.
- Has Ramsey Nijem ever looked as good as he did today against Beneil Dariush? Nijem was on him from the start, hurting him on the feet and pounding him out on the ground.
- Jared Rosholt beat Alan Omielanczuk by decision. That's really all that needs to be said about that fight.
- Thales Leites knocking out Trevor Smith was a case of a guy knowing he could do whatever he wanted in a mismatch. I don't know that there are really any major takeaways from the fight, though Leites says it's what you'll get from him going forward.