Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Alexander Gustafsson faced off in a light heavyweight title eliminator at UFC on Fox 5 in Seattle.
After a competitive 15 minutes of action, it was "The Mauler" with his hand raised, all three judges giving him the nod.
What we'll remember about this fight
The fight signified a changing of the guard—Rua, perhaps the greatest 205-pound fighter of all time, now owns losses to the division's top two young guns. Though he's clearly still competing at a high level, Saturday night's result infers that he's no longer the factor he once was.
Gustafsson, on the other hand, earned a signature win by defeating Rua and cemented his position at the top of the divisional ladder.
What we learned about Gustafsson
He's the real deal. He has looked good before, but Shogun was by far his stiffest test to date, and he passed. Convincingly.
"The Mauler" seems to improve every time he competes and might now be the most viable contender to Jon Jones' title.
What we learned about Shogun
With losses to the two flag-bearers of the next generation of light heavyweight fighters, Shogun is officially in the division's second tier. Or at least the back of its first tier.
He's still a dangerous fighter—in fact, he's still one of the top 205-pounders on the planet—but all the knee surgeries, epic battles and, of course, aging, have culminated to tell a story of decline.
What's next for Gustafsson
I'd say a title shot, but if he doesn't want to sit on the sidelines for too long, a fight with the winner of Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida is really the only logical alternative.
What's next for Shogun
Perhaps the loser of Henderson vs. Machida.
Who would oppose to seeing another chapter written in either saga?
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