Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Forrest Griffin fought for the first time in 2007 in what was one of the most exciting and memorable matches in UFC history.
This Saturday at UFC 134, they're going to do it again.
Since they first met, back at UFC 76, both these fighters have held the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and both are looking to make their way towards another title shot.
The first bout was close, but Griffin managed pull out the win, submitting Rua late in the third round.
Has Shogun improved enough since the first fight to win the rematch?
Let's check it out...
Given that these two have fought before, the experience advantage is pretty much null and void.
They both know exactly what the other guy can bring to the table; there should be no surprises.
This is a high pressure fight, but both men have been in bigger, higher-stakes fights than this one, so I doubt that the pressure is getting to either of them.
I expect both men to be comfortable coming into this fight and I don't expect that either will be able to bring anything to the table that the other is not expecting.
In general, Shogun's cardio has looked quite poor since entering the UFC. He faded towards the end of his first fight with Forrest and totally gassed against Mark Coleman and Jon Jones.
Shogun's first fight with Lyoto Machida went all five rounds and Shogun still looked good at the end of it, so he is capable of good cardio, we just can't count on it.
Griffin we can definitely count on to show up in excellent shape. He is known for his endless cardio, phenomenal work ethic, and the furious pace he pushes in fights.
In all of Griffin's fights in the UFC, I don't think we've ever seen him get tired.
In short, Griffin will be in shape, Shogun might be.
Edge: Forrest Griffin
His style of striking is very aggressive and when Shogun gets himself into a groove, he is nearly unstoppable.
Griffin certainly does not have the technical skill that Shogun possesses, but he does have his length working him. He is a very tall and lanky light heavyweight and should be looking to use that to his advantage.
If he stays on the outside and uses his kicks, Griffin can be successful in striking with Shogun.
That said, I'm expecting Shogun to have the advantage here.
Griffin may have his reach working for him, but Shogun has better technique, better power, and is faster.
Edge: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
There's no disputing this one; Shogun has a better chin than Forrest Griffin.
Shogun has only been stopped due to strikes once in his career and that was by Jon Jones at UFC 128. It was a huge loss for Rua, but the amount of punishment he took before being finished off was impressive.
Griffin has shown in the past that he can take some big shots and hang in there, but with four of his six career losses coming by TKO or KO, his chin is questionable at best.
Edge: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
The grappling portions of the first fight were pretty even and I'm expecting the same in the second fight.
Shogun had more takedowns, but Griffin was able to hit a couple sweeps and snag a dominant position here and there.
I suspect that Shogun's speed advantage will allow him to get more takedowns than Forrest again in this one, but I think when Forrest does get on top, he'll be more effective than he was in the last fight.
When Griffin fought Franklin earlier this year, it looked like he had become a lot better at using his weight in the top position, staying heavy, and really controlling his opponents movements.
Ultimately, the grappling portions of this fight should be pretty even.
Let me start off by saying that Shogun has one submission victory to his name and Griffin has seven.
I've never thought of Shogun as much of a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner. He seems to me more like a guy with a few tricks up his sleeve.
Shogun doesn't have good overall jiu-jitsu, he's just gotten good at a few different techniques. Leg locks, in particular, are something that he likes to threaten with.
Griffin is moreso the full package when it comes to submissions. He has a crafty guard and can definitely catch guys from his back and he also has great control from the top.
Then there's also the fact that Griffin owns a submission victory over Rua...
Advantage: Forrest Griffin
The outcome of this fight is riding almost entirely on which Shogun shows up to fight.
If it's the same Shogun that Griffin has already beat, expect this fight to go down almost the same as the first one.
If the shogun who knocked out Lyoto Machida in the first round shows up, Forrest could be in some trouble.
There's no way for me to know for sure which version we'll see, but my money is on Shogun showing up in shape and ready to go. He fought just a few months ago, so ring rust won't be an issue and he also has the hometown crowd to motivate him.
I'm also doubting Griffin's motivation for this fight, based on a recent blog he posted.
As much as I hate to bet against Griffin, I think I have to in this one.
Griffin will do a reasonably good job of using his length to stay out of harm's way, but Shogun's speed and aggressiveness will allow him to nullify Griffin's reach, to an extent.
I see Shogun taking this fight, having a slight edge in the striking and hitting the occasional takedown to score points.
If Griffin fights a smothering fight like he did the last time, he has a chance, but I think UFC 134 will be Shogun's time to shine.
It's going to be a close fight but...
Winner: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua via Split-Decision