The UFC’s incredibly annoying run of injuries has held strong over the last few days, and one of the latest fights to get scrapped was the one-time UFC on FOX 4 main event between Brian Stann and Hector Lombard.
Stann was forced from the bout with a shoulder injury and Lombard has since been moved to the UFC 149 card in order to replace Michael Bisping against Tim Boetsch.
But in the spot that Lombard and Stann once occupied, the UFC has added a light heavyweight battle that may not make the most sense as far as rankings are concerned, but it is guaranteed to be exciting.
Shogun Rua is currently trying to get back on track after suffering a decision loss to Dan Henderson in one of the greatest fights in MMA history back at UFC 139, and his new opponent Brandon Vera, who was cut from the UFC as recently as last spring, is now being thrust back into the main-event picture.
The fight is one of the most unexpected bouts the UFC has announced for some time, but due to the insane amount of injuries and fights being cancelled, fans seem to be giving UFC matchmaker Joe Silva the benefit of the doubt with this matchup.
Both of these fighters are well known for their striking abilities, but when you compare their resumes it’s easy to see which fighter will have the advantage on the feet.
As good as Vera has looked in his wins inside the Octagon, Shogun has been wrecking former champions on the feet for over half a decade now, and there’s no reason as to why he won’t smash Vera.
When he’s on his game, Shogun is still one of the most violent and vicious knockout artists in the sport, and if he is able to start putting his hands on his opponent, more often than not they will eventually be getting helped of the canvas.
Vera’s best chance at winning this fight probably lies on the feet, but even then he is going to be fighting an uphill battle against Shogun.
Over the years, it seems like the ground game of Vera has started to become slightly underrated.
Sure, Vera was never the scariest fighter off of his back, and he’s never had the raw power and takedown ability to dominate a fight with his wrestling, but he still has a better ground game than most at 205.
But much like it was on the feet, anything Vera can do, Shogun can do a little bit better on the ground.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Shogun win a fight by submission, but despite his lack of tap-out wins, he’s still a scary fighter on the ground. In his last fight, Shogun was able to take down and mount a world-class wrestler in Dan Henderson, and used his BJJ black belt to avoid trouble several times on the ground in that fight as well.
Once again, Vera is better than he gets credit for on the mat, but the edge is still going to Shogun.
When Shogun first entered the UFC back in 2007, his main issue was his cardio.
After putting on some lackluster performances against Forrest Griffin and Mark Coleman in his first two bouts inside the Octagon, Shogun seemed to rectify his mistakes in his next fight against Chuck Liddell and proved his cardio problems were done after he went five full rounds against Lyoto Machida.
On the other side of the cage, Vera will likely be looking to force Shogun into trouble early and attempt to wear him down, using his own stellar cardio to his advantage.
Vera has had his troubles inside the Octagon, but over his last few fights he’s shown that he has the gas tank to hang in there with anyone in the division as long as he’s able to survive.
The advantage is going to Vera here, but it’s minimal, and Shogun likely won’t run into any trouble in the later rounds.
On paper, it’s pretty obvious that this fight is a mismatch.
Shogun is better in all areas, has beaten better opposition and should easily run through Vera when they clash on August 4th.
However, it must be said that this is MMA and we’ve seen crazier upsets happen.
Do I like Vera’s chances at even making it to the third round against a more talented fighter in Shogun? Not really.
Expect this one to get ugly quickly for Vera, and Shogun will put him away within the first few moments.
Prediction: Shogun Rua by TKO in the first round.