35-Year-Old UFC Light Heavyweight 24-11-0
September 17, 2017 Mauricio Rua News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Rua (knee) will not be able to fight Ovince Saint-Preux in the main event of UFC Fight Night 117 on September 22 in Saitama, Japan, Alexander Lee of MMAFighting.com reports.
Rua's return to Japan after 11 years was scheduled against light heavyweight "OSP." However, "Shogun" sustained a knee injury that has forced him to withdraw from the fight and postpone his late-career run that includes a three-fight winning streak. The former UFC light heavyweight champion has been replaced by Yushin Okami, a one-time middleweight title challenger. A timetable for Rua's return is unknown.
Mauricio Rua: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisRua's last loss came at the hands of Ovince Saint-Preux back in 2014 (KO-punch). Since then he's had a slow but consistent fight schedule that includes three victories. "Shogun" has an impressive 20 KO/TKOs in his 25-10 career but didn't last more than 0:34 against "OSP" last time. While he does have a powerful striking game and statistically lands more significant strikes and takedowns on average, he is at a slight reach and height disadvantage in this fight.
Fantasy AnalysisShogun slowly took advantage of a stubborn Villante. He landed with regularity throughout the course of the fight, but knowing the power of Villante, he didn't get reckless in search of the finish. Villante dropped him hands whenever he threw a combination and Rua pounded on him until he eventually crumbled. Considering where he was not all that long ago, it's difficult to believe that Shogun is now riding a three-fight winning streak. Granted, the streak is the result of smart, efficient matchmaking, but he still has to go out there and win the fights. Still, Shogun has no business being in the cage with the best 205 pounders on the planet. He has essentially developed into modified gatekeeper status at this point in his career. Hopefully UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby realizes that moving forward.
Fantasy AnalysisRua has technically won back-to-back fights, but he caught a friendly break from the home-town, Brazilian judges in a split-decision victory over Corey Anderson at UFC 198. The fact that this fight will be taking place in Brazil as well certainly plays to his advantage, but Villante won't be a walk in the park. The 31-year-old Villante has won four of his last six bouts, picking up three Fight of the Night bonuses along the way.
Fantasy AnalysisShogun has his opponent and the judges to thank for the win. Anderson foolishly engaged Rua in a kickboxing match for the majority of the fight, giving Shogun a chance to compete. As soon as Anderson attempted to turn this into a grappling match, Shogun struggled. Still, a controversial judges decision gave Rua a much needed win. Shogun still most likely lost the fight despite the fact his opponent employed the worst game plan a fighter could possibly come up with. Rua got a stay of execution on Saturday, but his days of being a threat in the UFC's light heavyweight division are long gone.
Fantasy AnalysisWith a 2-4 record in his last six fights and constantly overwhelmed when tasked with facing better competition, Shogun appears to be on his last legs. Rua has countless impressive wins on his resume (Alistair Overeem, Rampage Jackson, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Forest Griffin), but he has always been a fighter who is known for his striking ability (19 of his 23 career wins are via KO/TKO) and he is struggling to get to his power at age-34. Anderson has always been overrated, but there is nothing to suggest that Shogun is in store for one final run at the top-five of the light heavyweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisRua had previously been nursing a shoulder injury that he had surgery on in September, but it now appears that he will miss this fight due to a knee injury. The 34-year-old will have to get fully healthy before fighting again and has been replaced in this match by Glover Teixeira.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's not clear when Rua suffered the injury. Shogun, who is hoping for a return in early 2016, plans to train with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA in California for his next fight. His last bout was a unanimous decision win over Little Nog early last month at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro.
Fantasy AnalysisWho says that two guys in the twilights of their careers can't put on an entertaining fight? Shogun won this fight on the strength of his body kicks. Despite the win, it was far from a flawless performance from the Rua. He was rocked badly in the first round by Little Nog and he was caught in a very deep guillotine late in the third round. Shogun appeared to be in good shape, but beating a 39-year-old Little Nog doesn't mean that Rua can hang with the top fighters in the light heavyweight division. He improves to 2-5 in his last seven fights. It was his first win since December 2013.
Fantasy AnalysisShogun has been terrible (1-4 in his last five fights) for the better part of the last three years, but he's still a healthy favorite (-190) in this one. The game plan for Shogun hasn't changed, he will attempt to use his massive power to try to slow down the aging Little Nog. Rua badly needs a victory if he wants people to continue to take him seriously in the UFC light heavyweight division.