36-Year-Old UFC Light Heavyweight 24-11-0
April 23, 2018 Mauricio Rua News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Rua will now face Volkan Oezdemir in a light heavyweight matchup at UFC Hamburg on July 22.
Rua and Oezdemir were originally schedule for the main event on May 19 in Chile, but that fight had to be moved after legal troubles forced Oezdemir to surrender his passport. That situation is expected to be resolved a little more than two months from now, when the two are scheduled for another main event in Europe. Despite the distraction, there isn't much change in the matchup outlook, where Rua remains a betting underdog at approximately (+250).
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Fantasy AnalysisRua had recently been scheduled for a rematch against Ovince St-Preux in September, but that fight fell through after Rua was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury. He had been targeting a return in the spring, and although this date meets that time frame, Rua will be more than a calendar year out of competition when he steps back into the Octagon. That shouldn't matter too much for a 36-year-old veteran of 35 professional fights, but he'll have to be extra cautious to avoid a slow start. Oezdemir is properly nicknamed "No Time," as before his recently loss to champion Daniel Cormier, he faced two highly respectable fighters in Jimi Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov, and put them both to sleep in the opening round.
Fantasy AnalysisRua had a nagging knee injury when he originally agreed to face Ovince Saint-Preux for a rematch in Japan, but as the fight drew closer the injury escalated. As a result, "Shogun" stated that the only option was to withdraw. He has since been recovering from the injury and hopes to be back to training by the end of December. Looking toward the future, the veteran wants to rebook the matchup with OSP in spring next year, hoping he'll be ready to get back in the cage by April or May.
Fantasy AnalysisRua'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 The former UFC light heavyweight champion has been replaced by Yushin Okami, a one-time middleweight title challenger.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.
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.