Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
The fighters collide in the center of the Octagon and Couture gets the best of a punching exchange. Nogueira attempts a trip and Couture defends well. Nogueira eats a right hand and tries to pull guard. Couture blocks the technique and lets Nogueira stands. Nogueira drops Couture with a right hand. Nogueira transitions to a brabo choke and Couture defends. The hold is tight, but Couture holds on. The next two minutes are an absolute slugfest, resembling Frye vs. Takiyama at times. Both fighters connect with several heavy punches. Nogueira is cut, but he takes the round.
Minotauro clips Couture with a right hook, left hook combo. Nogueira follows by attempting to pull guard with a guillotine, but Couture is game. Couture begins to work from the guard of the Brazilian for the first time tonight. Couture scores with left elbows and short punches. Nogueira sweeps Couture and takes the mount. Couture gets to half guard, a position he’s struggled with from the bottom in the past. Nogueira sets up an arm triangle choke and takes the mount. He lets go of the submission to punch the head with his right hand. Couture gets to half guard and to his feet. Couture lands a body shot and backs away from Nogueira. A counter-left hook scores for Couture. Minotauro answers with a knee to the body.
Couture kicks the lead leg and scores with a right hand. Nogueira flattens Couture with a right hand and he pounces with punches. Referee Mario Yamasaki watches closely as Nogueira tees off on his prey. Couture comes to his senses, but Nogueira has advanced to side control. Minotauro controls his opponent against the fence. The Brazilian has slowed his offensive attack from side control, and it allows the now bleeding Couture to briefly get to half guard. Nogueira takes the hall of famer’s back. After working for a rear-naked choke, Couture escapes danger and takes the top position. From his foe’s closed guard, Couture elbows the head with his left arm. 30 seconds remain. Couture rides out the clock and Nogueira sweeps for the mount at the horn.
Unanimous Decision for Nogueira on all three cards