In the main event of the UFC on Fox 4 event, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua put on a great performance against Brandon Vera. Rua came close to finishing the bout on numerous occasions, but Vera was able to fend off "Shogun." The end of the contest came in the fourth round as Rua was finally able to put away Vera.
The bout was action-packed and was the perfect send-off to the best card that's aired on Fox thus far. Fans were anticipating a muay Thai battle but instead were treated a MMA fight that featured every aspect of this great sport.
"Shogun" earned the victory and showed a few new weapons in his arsenal but also showcased some of the negatives we've come to expect when Rua steps into the Octagon.
Not to say that Mauricio Rua isn't training seriously because I have no idea, but this is the second main event fight that we've seen him get tired in. Against Jon Jones, Rua was blasted early by a knee to the guy, which seemed to sap all the strength out of him.
Against Brandon Vera, "Shogun" seemed to be on the verge of victory multiple times early in the fight but was visibly gassed after just the second round. We've seen Rua go five rounds of attempting to chase Lyoto Machida down, but it appears that "Shogun" doesn't have the cardio to push a fast enough pace.
Rua looked sluggish in the early going against Dan Henderson as well but eventually outlasted Hendo and controlled much of the action in the later rounds.
It seems to always be a question mark as to whether or not Rua will come in shape these days.
I'll give Vera all the credit in the world for making this into a fight, but Rua had numerous chances to close out this fight and should have done so way before the fourth round.
If "Shogun" can't get his conditioning woes fixed before his next time out, I fear the outcome may be his opponent's hand being raised.
It wasn't the prettiest wrestling in the world, but Mauricio Rua was able to showcase some new skills in his bout against Brandon Vera. As the two men engaged early in the opening round, it seemed as if we were going to witness a stand-up battle.
That train of thought came to a halt as "Shogun" secured a takedown of Vera inside the first minute. It wouldn't be the last time either, as Rua attempted a handful of takedowns against the cage along with a trip from the clinch.
Perhaps it was just Rua seeing other fighters enjoy success against Vera on the mat, or it was Rua showing that he's more than just a stand up fighter. Either way, "Shogun's" opponents now know they have to prepare for everything when they step into the cage against him.
Mauricio Rua is unquestionably one of the best light heavyweights in the history of MMA. He's done virtually everything a fighter could do and will leave behind a legacy that fans will have enjoyed watching.
With that said, after watching Rua struggle to put away Brandon Vera at the UFC on Fox 4 event, it's clear another title run is out of the question for "Shogun." He struggled to put away a mid-level fighter (at best) and has also failed to impress against top-tier talent as well.
His war with Dan Henderson was one of the best fights in the sport's history but saw Rua take a great deal of punishment. Against Vera, Rua once again went through some tough times. It appears the tough battles "Shogun" has been through have began to wear down the former champion.
Rua is still a fun fighter to watch and would draw fans no matter his placement in the 205-pound division, but it's clear Rua doesn't have much to offer against the top guys in the division.
He's still relatively young in the fight game but when you add in all the knee injuries and tough battles, "Shogun" may look 30 on the outside but probably feels a little closer to 40 on the inside.