Don’t ever count out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira…
In a bout that was expected to bring some clarity to the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, the 36-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist – considered a heavy underdog – earned a unanimous decision victory over former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
Nogueira (21-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) controlled the match with superior striking and wrestling defense, and all three judges scored the bout 29-28.
Nogueira entered the bout after a 14-month layoff, and Evans after a 10-month layoff.
Neither fighter clearly took any round, so the scorecards proved to be a crapshoot. In the end, though, the judges sided with Nogueira via 29-28 scores.
The victory marked Nogueira’s second straight win.
Evans (17-3-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC), meanwhile, suffers the first back-to-back losses of his career and faces a long road back to the title shot.