Shogun Rua's win over Forrest Griffin last Saturday night was violent, definitive, and quick. Not only that, but it has restored the faith of many fans and critics in him, with articles being written for days after about how the dangerous Brazilian striker has returned to his championship form. My big question is this; why?From what I've seen of him since joining the UFC's light heavyweight roster in 2007, shogun wins and loses in very specific ways. If his opponent takes the fight to him, if he retreats using angles when Rua explodes, and if he can drag the fight to the ground and create tiring scrambles, Shogun's questionable cardio begins to surface, his striking technique becomes labored, and he loses.Fairly simple. Pressure him with strikes and very physical grappling, and never fall back in a straight line, and you've solved Shogun. Forrest applied this strategy during their first fight, and so did john Jones when he took the title from Rua. Machida narrowly won his first fight with Shogun by aggressively striking often and falling back at angles when Rua charged in.
For Rua to win, his opponent has to commit one simple mistake; retreat in a straight line as Shogun is charging forward doing the Chute Box Shuffle. we've all seen it. Rua explodes, taking 3-4 massive, thudding steps forward, while pumping straight shots out with each stride. It is one of his most trade mark combinations, and if you decide to backpedal without any side movement as he's doing it, you're going to sleep. His victory over Coleman was due to the poor old man being slightly more exhausted then him, but other than that it is this type of strike that has earned Shogun his victories in the Octagon. Liddell, Machida, and now Forrest have all fallen to it. And that's why his victory this past weekend does nothing to convince me that he is a different man since being rag dolled by Jones.
If Shogun had gone to war with Forrest for 15 minutes, if he had been pushed by Griffin like in their first fight and had still come away with the W, then i would be convinced he's a new and more dangerous man. Last Saturday was impressive, don't get me wrong. but its nothing i haven't seen from mr. Rua.