UFC 93 Preview
Mark Coleman and Mauricio Rua will meet for a rematch at UFC 93 on Jan. 17. Their first encounter—at Pride 31 on Feb. 26, 2006—ended with a TKO victory for Coleman via a dislocated elbow. Tempers erupted after the injury, as Coleman threw the referee aside and the ring quickly filled with fighters, trainers, and Pride officials. Will we see such fireworks at UFC 93?
Tale of the Tape
Columbus, Ohio, USA
There is much bad blood between the two fighters, and some fans hope for a stand-up slugfest. However, looking at their past performances, both fighters will most likely stick to their respective bread and butter, Coleman to the "Ground and Pound," and Rua to kicks and full-guard.
Rua has a great stand-up game, and he is well versed in head-kicks, which I suspect he will attempt early on in Round 1. However, Coleman will most likely shoot a double leg within the first 30 seconds and take the fight to the ground. Coleman has repeatedly gone to an early takedown game-plan, using it against Fedor Emelianenko (April '04 and October '06), Rua (February '06), and Mirko Filipović (February '05).
Another reason why this fight will go to the ground is that Rua does not sprawl. Rua pulls guard immediately after a shot is attempted. Rua only has one submission on his record, but he is quite comfortable on his back and has put many fighters in danger. Rua favors heel hooks and ankle locks (Rua vs. Randleman, October '06).
Coleman has a weak submission game (submission losses: 4). Coleman has won by submission, but with low technical maneuvers such as neck cranks. If Rua pulls guard on Coleman, I would predict a Rua submission victory.
Fans of Coleman tout his "Ground and Pound" skills. I agree that Coleman is very strong, but the MMA world has witnessed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners tapping-out strong wrestlers since the beginning of the UFC. (Royce Gracie 1993-2000, Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar, February '08).
MMA is quite unpredictable with four-ounce gloves. Coleman has a puncher's chance, but Rua is the more complete fighter. Rua has a technical ground game and KO power (KO wins: 13). Coleman would like to take advantage of his "Ground and Pound", but Rua is just as a dangerous fighter on his back.
Betting Odds: Coleman +250, Rua -400
Coleman is going into UFC 93 as a heavy underdog, but as everyone who watched UFC 92 (Mir vs. Nogueira, Jackson vs. Silva) knows, underdogs can find a way to win. I would not bet on this fight, but If I had to make a pick, I would go with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.