When you look at the headlining fight for the UFC's fourth show on Fox, most fans would predict that the heavily favored man with more name recognition and career success will win, that being Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
I would be a liar if I said that at first glance this fight didn't appear to be a one-sided mismatch.
The facts are that after Brandon Vera defeated Frank Mir, Vera has only posted a record of 4-5 with one loss that resulted in Vera being released from the company, only to be brought back when the contest was overturned to a no-contest.
So why would anyone even consider picking against the previous UFC Light Heavyweight champion?
First off, let's focus on the history of Mauricio Rua since he has entered the UFC.
Rua came into the UFC being regarded as the best light heavyweight in the world defeating such men as Quinton Jackson, Rogerio Nogueira, Kevin Randleman and Alistair Overeem.
His debut match inside the Octagon came against someone who many would believe was just a stepping stone, Forrest Griffin.
Griffin would go on to not only defeat Shogun but actually submit him much to the amazement of the majority of fans and experts alike.
Rua would go on to have another very poor performance against Mark Coleman, a fighter who was well past his prime but earned a stoppage victory.
Next up were the the remnants of Chuck Liddell, a fighter much like Coleman who had seen his better days pass him by.
Rua would soon after win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, lose it in his first defense, redeem himself against a declining Forrest Griffin, and then he came up short in a historic fight against Dan Henderson.
Now with the history lesson concluded, let's focus on the real statistic and a very important, somewhat shocking fact.
Mauricio Rua is only a .500 fighter in the UFC with a record of 4-4. Three of those wins are over fighters who were well past their primes and really showed it.
Still though this doesn't give a direct answer to the outcome. It just shows that Rua isn't the untouchable fighter who he has been made out to be.
Vera will enter this fight standing 6'3" tall and having a reach of 78" which will give him a 2" reach advantage which will be multiplied with his height advantage of 3".
Furthermore, Vera is a kickboxer who knows how to use a reach advantage. Let's not forget that of Vera's recent losses, two of them were very close contests.
Overlooking Vera would be Rua's biggest question mark, and personally I just feel that he isn't going to show up in the best condition that he can and should.
Vera will be at the disadvantage if this fight hits the ground but should be able to defend himself. However, if the match stays standing I fully expect Rua to be at the disadvantage.
What is completely overlooked here is the hunger that Vera has, and now is the time for him to show that he isn't just the guy who never turned the corner.
Vera is searching for a win that would catapult him back into the mix as a contender, and Rua would be the perfect opponent to get him where he wants to be.
Vera should be considered a very dangerous opponent for Shogun if not for anything else than he has everything to gain and nothing to lose, but Shogun's biggest obstacle may just be himself.
Rua has all the tools to win this fight, but if he steps into the Octagon looking past his opponent and isn't fully prepared, I expect Brandon Vera to pull off a massive upset victory.
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