In a spectacular upset, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira defeated Rashad Evans via unanimous decision at UFC 156 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Nogueira came into the fight as a heavy underdog with Evans but impressed the judges with his boxing and takedown defense to win a narrow decision. The fight was much lighter on action than anticipated but Nogueira ultimately did more to win the fight with his effective counter-punching.
Despite losing to the merciless Jon Jones via unanimous decision in April, Evans was a heavy favorite headed into the fight on Saturday against Nogueira.
That's because the 33-year-old New Yorker figured to pose problems for the Brazilian, both standing up and on the ground. Evans' combination of speed and agility had many believing he would conquer Nogueira.
There was also the fact that, despite scoring a TKO against the overmatched Tito Ortiz in UFC 140, Nogueira hadn't fought in over a year's time. And despite the 36-year-old's confidence in his wrestling abilities, he had simply been outwrestled in previous losses to Phil Davis and Ryan Bader.
Before his loss to Jones in April, Evans had won four straight fights. He also had posted a 17-2-1 mixed martial arts record (12-2-1 UFC) before the loss on Saturday to Nogueira, using an impressive blend of takedowns and takedown defense to do most of the damage.
As for the Brazilian, he had a 20-5 MMA record, but had only gone 3-2 in the UFC.
One thing's for sure: Nogueira showed that he was underrated on Saturday, backing up a convincing victory over Ortiz with a sensational display against Evans. Despite Evans being a heavy favorite in Vegas, Nogueira apparently didn't get the memo.
Evans came into the fight on Saturday with serious title aspirations, whether it be at light heavyweight or middleweight. But after Nogueira's surprising performance, Evans is still wondering where it all went wrong.