The UFC on FOX 4 event will be headlined by the light heavyweight bout between former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Brandon “The Truth” Vera. This is a bout with title implications according to UFC President Dana White. Let’s see how this bout between strikers will break down.
Brandon Vera (12-5 1NC) comes into this fight off his unanimous decision win over Eliot Marshall at UFC 137. Vera has seven wins via TKO/KO and one submission win to his credit. Vera prefers to strike with his opponents with his muay thai base despite having a background in amateur wrestling. Vera is also well versed on the ground under the tutelage of Master Llyod Irvin.
Shogun Rua (20-6) comes into this fight off the unanimous decision loss to Dan Henderson in an instant classic at UFC 139. Rua has 17 wins via TKO/KO and one submission win to his credit. Rua is a devastating muay thai based striker with excellent kicks to the legs and body of his opponents. Rua is versed in submissions on the ground and has very good ground and pound skills as well. He does have suspect takedown defense at times.
Our sponsor Top Bet has Rua as the betting favorite at (-360) and Vera as the underdog at (+290).
I have to agree that Rua should be the heavy favorite. He’s been fighting at a much higher level against much tougher competition for as long as Vera has been relevant in MMA.
This fight will come down to Rua’s ability to come forward and apply pressure to Vera. If Rua can keep Vera backing up the entire fight while defending takedowns he will win this fight pretty easily. Vera doesn’t fight well backing up at all. I expect Rua to come forward with combinations that start with his hands and end with leg kicks. He will need to be careful of Vera being able to catch his kicks and transitioning to takedowns. Rua isn’t much of a threat to submit opponents off his back, but does like to go for sweeps to get back to his feet or obtain top position.
Vera will have a slight reach advantage in the contest and will have the advantage in wrestling if he chooses to use it. I think he’ll be concentrating more on being exciting(since the guy that wins most impressively will get the title shot) than just getting the win. That will probably cost him the win as I think he could mix up his takedowns with his striking and possibly steal a decision if he was at his very best.
I expect this fight to play out on the feet for the most part. Expect Rua to be the aggressor and either win a dominant decision or stop Vera via TKO impressively.