In the main event at UFC on Fox 4, Shogun Rua (20-6 MMA; 4-4 UFC) takes on Brandon Vera (12-5(1) MMA; 8-5(1) UFC). This Light Heavyweight fight is the last of four main card fights to air on Fox. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings currently have Shogun as the #4 Light Heavyweight in the world, while Vera just sneaks in to the rankings at #25. UFC on Fox 4 airs live on Fox Saturday night August 4 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Along with the Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader semi-main event, this is a fight that may determine the next UFC Light Heavyweight title challenger. Dana White has stated that, between these four men, the one who finishes most impressively will be next up for the winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson. That's a tough sell for this fight, as both Shogun and Vera were completely ineffective in their previous fights with Jones. Of course, should Shogun and Henderson win, a rematch of their epic 2011 battle sounds like a fantastic idea. Lots of things to consider heading into this one.
How do these two stack up?
Shogun: 30 years old | 6'0" | 76" reach
Vera: 34 years old | 6'3" | 78" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Mauricio Shogun Rua was, at one time, widely considered the #1 Light Heavyweight in the world. He was a whirling machine of destruction in Pride, and his 2007 Octagon debut was much anticipated. But his UFC career has been an interesting mixture of highs and lows. After his debut loss to Forrest Griffin and poor showing against Mark Coleman, he looked like a Pride washout. He turned that around with a pair of masterful performances against Lyoto Machida to claim the UFC Light Heavyweight title, only to be annihilated by Jon Jones in his first defense. With 10 tough years under his belt and a long history of knee problems, it's hard to say just what the future holds for Shogun.
Brandon "The Truth" Vera also was a much hyped name once. Going 8-0 at Heavyweight, he looked poised for superstardom, but an ill-fated contract dispute in 2006/2007 cost him a year of his career and killed his momentum dead. After that hot start, he's just 4-5(1) since missing that year. As of late, Vera has become increasingly hesitant in his performances. He's also been largely absent from the Octagon - this is just his third fight since losing to Jones over two years ago. He still has good Muay Thai and a strong all around game, but he struggles to use it effectively. Despite this, he's been given a huge gift with this fight, and it will be interesting to see how he uses it.
Why should you care?
This could determine the next challenger, but more importantly, it also could be a fun Muay Thai battle, particularly if Shogun is aggressive. There's a definite danger of a 5 round sparring match taking place though, so keep your fingers crossed for some violence.
More UFC on Fox 4 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.