It wasn't as easy as most believed it would be, but Mauricio "Shogun" Rua left UFC on Fox 4 with a TKO victory over game competitor Brandon Vera Saturday in Los Angeles.
It was a hard-fought contest and Vera surprised many, showing that he was capable of standing and trading with one of the sport's greatest strikers in Shogun. Even more surprising than Vera's ability to trade with Shogun was Shogun's ability to take down the Greco-Roman expert Vera.
Indeed, Shogun's grappling wound up being a big key to his victory. He was able to take Vera down multiple times and keep him there for minutes at a time, keeping himself ahead on the scorecards and frustrating Vera simultaneously. Though he ended up winning TKO, Shogun's takedowns would have been useful if the fight had gone to the scorecards.
Another factor that helped Shogun win was his aggression. Late in the fight, Shogun seemed a touch too submissive at times, allowing Vera to back up and not controlling the Octagon. However, when Shogun would turn the heat up and decide to blitz Vera, he often had success.
It's no secret that Shogun fights his best when he's fighting aggressive, and there are few men on this planet that can deal with the storm that he brings.
Shogun's cardio wasn't where it needed to be, but fortunately his skills were enough to pull him through.
The last key to Shogun's victory—and this is probably the least significant—is errors made by Brandon Vera. For some reason, right before Shogun knocked him out, Vera chose to adjust his mouthpiece, while still sitting in Shogun's striking range. Shogun capitalized immediately and ended the fight.
It was a strange decision from Vera, who must have believed that Shogun was taking a breather and wasn't going to pounce. Either way, it cost him big.
That's not to say, though, that Shogun only won because of a mistake by Vera. Shogun was winning the fight at that point anyway.
It was a great main event to top off a great night of fights.