In just six weeks, the world will witness an incredible match up between rising star, Jon “Bones” Jones and current UFC light heavyweight champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Newark, New Jersey will host UFC 128 on March 19, 2011.
Jon Jones’ arrival into the UFC was as electric and intensifying as a lightning storm. Dominating seasoned veterans Stephan Bonnar, Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko, Jon Jones ascension to the top of the title hunt is equally as epic as Brock Lesnar’s run for the championship.
Looking to put an end to the Jones’ hype train is current champion “Shogun” Rua. Unlike Jones’ explosive introduction to the UFC fans, Rua’s welcome was more of a silent thud. Defeated in his UFC debut by Forrest Griffin, “Shogun” lived up to his reputation from his Pride Fighting Championship days with two straight victories, including “Knockout of the Night” honors by destroying former champion Chuck Liddell.
Avenging a previous loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 104, Mauricio Rua would knock out Machida at UFC 113 and win the light heavyweight championship.
The excitement surrounding this showdown is already off the charts. The buildup igniting Jon Jones’s publicity has convinced Las Vegas bookmakers to award “Bones” the betting favorite. Even Dana White has purchased a ticket on the “Bones” hype train. Quoted by MMAJunkie.com, White stated that Jones “has all the tools to be the best ever someday.”
A veteran champion, who has competed against some of the best in mixed martial arts, Rua holds victories over former champions Lyoto Machida, Chuck Liddell and Quinton Jackson as well as current Strikeforce heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem.
Not “Shogun’s” first rodeo, Rua is taking this highly anticipated fight in stride. Providing Jones with his due respect, Mauricio was quoted as saying that “Jones has always won convincingly and that he is the most deserving to fight for the belt.”
The unorthodox fighting styles of both Rua and Jones warrants this magnitude of excitement for this fight.
Mauricio Rua is known for his unconventional stand up striking skills. For those who have not watched “Shogun’s” early fights in Pride FC, he brings a level of unconventionalism and athleticism to his stand up game that was unmatched, until now.
With an overall MMA record of 19-4 with 16 knockouts, Rua possesses the innate ability to press the action and execute a fight strategy that is very challenging and deceptive to prepare for.
“Shogun” has tremendous power, exhibited by his knockout victories over some of ultimate fighting’s elite.
Jon Jones’ talents inside the Octagon need no introduction. Fans sit on the edge of their seats awaiting a spinning back kick or elbow or the execution of a jiu-jitsu hold that those without an 84.5” reach would not be able to lock in.
Coming off of the systematic annihilation of Ryan Bader at UFC 126, Jones unleashed his full arsenal of strikes upon his rival. Flying knees, flying kicks, flying elbows, violent take downs and a vicious ground and pound were all revealed during Jones’ two-round destruction of the formerly undefeated Arizona State University wrestling standout.
Besides both fighters sharing in unconventional styles and the flare for the dramatic with impressive victories, fans worldwide should be equally excited for the unknown.
What new strikes will Jones unleash on Rua?
And subsequently, what veteran moves will the champ unload on Jones?
Will both fighters stand and trade in the center of the Octagon?
Or will Jones throw caution to the wind and take down Rua, knowing that “Shogun” is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and can be lethal off of his back?
Joe Rogan stated that Jones has the “it” factor. Can his abilities and natural talent defeat a seasoned veteran like Mauricio Rua?
Or will Rua execute a flawless game plan and add Jones to his list of defeated top-tier ultimate fighters?
How is Mauricio Rua’s cardiovascular conditioning level after recovering from knee surgery?
And what advantage, if any, does Jon Jones have over the champ because of his affiliation with the Jackson Submission Fighting camp and their All-Star list of teammates?
These questions and much more will fuel the excitement leading up to March 19th. As UFC 128 draws near, the talk surrounding this showdown will be at a fever pitch.
One question that I can answer with conviction is that this light heavyweight championship fight could rival Liddell-Ortiz or Liddell-Couture in thrill and expectation.
Until that opening bell rings and these two fighters touch gloves in the center of the Octagon in Newark, fans around the globe will eagerly await to crown champion the most dominant light heavyweight fighter in the world.
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