UFC 198's PPV main card kicked off with highly touted prospect Warlley Alves taking on Bryan Barberena, a big underdog even after his upset win over Sage Northcutt. Following that up was a light heavyweight tilt between the legendary Shogun Rua and Corey Anderson.
Mauricio Rua def. Corey Anderson (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) - Light Heavyweights
Shogun led the early exchanges, as Anderson mounted little offense and Rua was scoring with leg kicks and left hands. Anderson opened up a little bit more and landed his own lefts and leg kicks. A left hook dropped Anderson in the closing seconds of the 1st, and Shogun nearly finished him but ran out of time. Anderson seemed to recover well enough in the 2nd, and he took Shogun down emphatically. Shogun scrambled back up to his feet momentarily after he was put on his back. Anderson was a little more comfortable on the feet and pressed the action, but Shogun's takedown defense was up to par, and he connected with a few strikes in the clinch. Shogun was briefly taken down a 2nd time, but popped back up right away. He ended the round catching a kick and planting Anderson on the mat with a right, and again Anderson saw out the round. Anderson was all about the takedown in round 3, completing 2 of them and otherwise preventing Shogun from getting off any sort of meaningful attack. It was far from exciting, but it was effective enough for Anderson to get a round in his favor, just not to win him the fight. Shogun has won consecutive fights for the first time since 2009.
Alves jumped for a guillotine choke within 20 seconds, but Barberena was okay and he got back to his feet a minute later. The fight turned into a bit of a brawl, with Alves ripping Barberena to the body and with uppercuts to the head. Barberena found a home for some inside leg kicks, sending Alves off balance on one occasion. Alves continued to attack the body with his hard kicks in the 2nd, but was noticeably fading. Barberena maintained a steady workrate and fired away his own body shots. Quality combinations had Alves backing up. Warlley went all-out to start round 3, throwing huge shots that didn't faze Barberena. As the round wore on, Barberena was landing the better, more accurate combinations. It was a really grueling contest with some back-and-forth action, but Barberena had more left in the gas tank. Big upset win for Barberena yet again, while Alves loses for the first time in his career.