While thumbing through some really gorgeous articles here at B/R during a small lull at work, an article about Mauricio Rua's greatest KOs sneaks across my gaze.
I eagerly click the link and share in the author's insight. Until a comment of the article muses that Jon Jones will be added to this list. As if.
Unless you've been living in cellophane wrapping within the MMA community, you'd know that the sport's biggest promotion, UFC, is having one helluva event in Newark this weekend.
The main event features Rua vs. "Bones" Jones, who, after soundly defeating fellow rising star Ryan Bader this past February, enthusiastically and gratefully accepted a last-minute match with light heavyweight champ, "Shogun" Rua.
My hands are still ringing with pain from slapping the bar with excitement. Bring on the Advil.
Shogun is a terrifyingly efficient striker with excellent take down defense and a thorough jiu-jitsu offense and defense, and has a superb pedigree in Muay Thai.
He's praised by most for his unorthodox method paired with an adapting strategy and merciless execution in bouts.
Sixteen TKOs out of his 19 wins speak for itself: Rua is indeed a bad ass.
But Jones is the great negator of defense—opponents forget their game plan completely and by Round Two are seemingly just trying to avoid the "Ouch-Makers" that are JBJ's fists, elbows, knees and feet.
Even his glancing blows (i.e. O'Brien being grazed by an elbow) are enough to rock opponents into an impending curtain call.
Coming from a family that probably grazes nightly on Purina livestock grain laced with Semtex, Jones and his brothers are natural, powerful athletes; actively red-shirting for Syracuse and the Baltimore Ravens, with Jon himself wrestling in Ju-Co in Iowa and in high school.
I was a late-comer to JBJ's style, first witnessing his man-handling of tough-as-bricks Stephan Bonnar.
Who suplexes anyone these days in MMA? Who has the raw strength, dexterity and skill to gleefully slam another human onto their shoulders from a standing position (aside from Street Fighter 2's Guile or Zangief)?
In short, experience aside, Rua's got his work cut out for him.
Not only is he dealing with just over a year's worth of "ring rust," but he's also got to deal with the most viciously instinctual ground and pounder he's ever faced.
His opponent outreaches him, has no cardio problems and is guaranteed to do something he's never seen before.
The strength and speed of the judo-like Gaidojutsu is guaranteed to get Rua on his back, where the heavier JBJ will continue to do what he does best.
An extra point worth making: Seven of Rua's 16 TKOs come from stomp/soccer kicks, which are illegal in the unified rules of MMA.
I don't think this will be a cakewalk for Jones, but I do believe Rua is outmatched.
UFC 128: Shogun Rua vs. Jon Jones: Results, News and More
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