The last meeting was a three-round war but Craig had no desire to duplicate that performance after he turned to his grappling in order to dominate the rematch. The multitude of takedowns eventually led to Craig flattening “Shogun” on the mat and just unloading with a series of heavy punches that forced the former light heavyweight champion to tap out with the end coming at 3:36 in the second round.
“It’s taken a year to get this fight,” Craig said following the win. “He’s a legend. We seen that tonight. Tonight was my night.”
BEARJEW @PCraigMMA forces Shogun to tap from strikes in RD 2️⃣.
— UFC (@ufc) November 22, 2020
A few exchanges on the feet eventually led to Craig dumping Rua on the ground several times in the opening round. After looking for a D’arce choke and then transitioning to an anaconda choke, it appeared that Craig might lock up the submission before “Shogun” really had a chance to showcase his striking.
Despite the constant threat from Craig on the ground, Rua just kept finding an escape route as he attempted to fire back with punches whenever there was even the slightest of openings.
As the fight moved forward, Craig made it clear that he wanted to lean on his wrestling and grappling in order to stave off “Shogun” from letting his hands go on the feet. Again and again, Craig found a way to plant Rua on the mat but after the submission weren’t landing, he decided to punch his way to victory instead.
The last exchange on the ground saw Craig take Rua’s back and flatten him out on the mat as he began raining down a heavy barrage of shots. Just when it appeared the referee was about to step in, Rua tapped the canvas to call a stop to the contest.
It was a very strong showing from Craig, who is now 3-0-1 in his past four fights while proving he’s still an incredibly tough out for anyone in the light heavyweight division. Meanwhile, “Shogun” suffers his first loss since falling to Anthony Smith in 2018.
This article was originally published on www.mmafighting.com