In this article on Sherdog: Maia, Others Refining 'Shogun', Shogun and his trainers briefly touch on their gameplan for Rua's gameplan for the upcoming fight with Chuck Liddell at UFC 97.
I found this tidbit from Rua's BJJ coach, Sergio Cunha, to be of particular interest:
"We’re watching a lot of Liddell’s fights," Cunha said. "Rashad had a good strategy, working on the counterpunching, and Quinton had it completely different, going on top of him, but Mauricio is more versatile and is working everything he can. We’re working on the possibility of taking this fight to the ground and working on the ground-and-pound or jiu-jitsu, since he’s 12 years younger than Liddell."
I think it would be a serious strategic blunder on their part to rely on trying to take Chuck down and pound him out/ submit him. Time and again, it's been shown that Liddell is at his best when he's employing a sprawl and brawl centered offense, especially when his opponent is reluctant to stand with him, and is blitzed with his potent counterpunching (Babalu, Monson, Randy in their 2'nd/ 3'rd fights, etc).
In my opinion, Shogun has to be intelligently agressive, and use his technical kickboxing abilities in a way he never has before- technically. He'll need to emphasize using kicks to the legs and body, as well as sticking and moving so that Chuck can't hit him with one of his homerun right hands. After softening him up with a few good kicks, Shogun would do well to use short, crisp combos in order to work his way to the clinch, where Chuck has never been very effective, and where Mauricio can work clinch knees and dirty boxing to wear Chuck down. If an opportunity for a takedown presents itself, by all means he should take it, but Shogun just isn't a dominant enough wrestler to be able to take Liddell down and keep him there.
Anyone else agree? Disagree? Maybe i'm reading into this too much, but IMO this would be a terrible gameplan.