In the main event of UFC on Fox 4, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua took on Brandon "The Truth" Vera in a fight that both men were hoping would propel them towards a title shot at the winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson. For that to happen, the winner of the fight would need to put on a great performance, especially after the knockout win Lyoto Machida picked up earlier in the night against Ryan Bader. Rua came into the fight with a 2-3 record in his previous five fights, while Vera was 1-2-1NC in his previous four fights.
In the early going, Vera was going for leg kicks, but was caught and taken down by Rua. Rua pushed Vera away from the cage and worked towards getting out of half guard. Rua eventually got out of half guard and went into side control. Vera tried to wall walk and got back to the feet where he dished out two head kicks. Rua went for a takedown, but Vera caught him in a Guillotine Choke. He was unable to get the win. Rua worked towards getting into a better position after getting out of the choke and with about 45 seconds left in the round, he did. He took Vera's back, but was unable to do anything.
My scorecard: Rua 10-9
As soon as the second round began, Rua rocked Vera and had him pushed against the cage. Vera didn't give up and kept throwing punches. Rua sat back, possibly gassing already. Vera landed a nice punch, but Rua bounced back and rocked him and shelled out several knees to the head of Vera. Vera looks like he went through the wood chipper Mike Goldberg was talking about all night, but he wouldn't give up. Vera landed a nice takedown on the tired Rua and slowly began working towards landing strikes on Rua. Referee Herb Dean kept threatening to stand them up, but the round ended with Vera on top.
My scorecard: Vera 10-9
Vera ran straight at Rua and went for a jumping knee. He was caught in the clinch, but got away before Rua could get the takedown. The fight got to the mat and Rua was going for an Anaconda Choke, but was unable to get the choke finished. Vera got back to the feet again and landed a nice combination. He followed it up with another nice combination, but Rua connected with a trip ending the momentum of the Truth. Rua was in half guard and as Vera was looking to get out; Rua adjusted and landed several solid strikes before the round ended.
My scorecard: Rua 10-9
Rua opened the round by pushing Vera against the cage and landed two nice knees. With three minutes left in the round, Vera finally got some separation and began landing some strikes. Rua got inside again and landed a nice elbow. Rua pushed the fight against the cage again and kept the pressure on Vera. When they finally separated, Rua landed a nice punch to the face of Vera, which hurt him. Vera fell to the mat and Rua continued to punch until Dean stepped in and ended the fight.
Official Decision: Mauricio Rua via TKO at 4:09 of the fourth round
After that performance, Machida should be the easy choice to get the next shot at the UFC light heavyweight title. In my best Georges St-Pierre voice, I'll say I wasn't impressed with Rua's performance. He was gassed far too early, especially considering how the fight was scheduled for five rounds. It was a gutsy performance by Vera and one that proved that he can still compete at a high level in the UFC.
Before the end of the telecast, UFC President Dana White announced that it would indeed be Machida competing for the UFC light heavyweight title. He will either rematch with Jon Jones or step into the Octagon to battle the legendary Dan Henderson for his chance to reclaim the world title.
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
More from this contributor:
Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- Mauricio Rua