UFC On Fox 4 offers an card full of exciting match ups with two light heavyweight bouts leading the card. In the main event two Muay Thai strikers meet in a fight between Mauricio Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera. The winner of this clash moves close to the title shot. Here are some insights and thoughts from our staff. Game on!
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs Brandon “the Truth” Vera:
Shogun is a big favourite over former top prospect Vera. MMA Viking is not completely sold on Shogun who has shown signs of slowing down due to taxing wars in the Octagon and injuries outside of it. Shogun’s movement has slowed down and reflexes regressed over time which leads to him getting tagged too much on the feet.
The challenger Brandon Vera is yet again a mystery. Will he be able to perform at his best or will this be another fight where he just can’t pull the trigger? Vera trains nowdays with top LHWs Phil Davis and Alex Gustafsson so he should be ready to face the level of competition Shogun will bring into the cage. If it looks like Shogun is carrying baby fat again at the weigh-ins, a small bet on the underdog Vera is in order.
Lyoto “Dragon” Machida vs Ryan “Darth” Bader:
Former champion Machida has fallen for the grace and didn’t land softly. Machida is 1-3 in his last four fights (1-4 last 5 if Shogun vs Machida 1 would’ve been judged correctly) with the lone win coming over past prime Randy Couture. Machida still got the skills to succeed in the UFC but his mysterious karate style is no longer the element of surprise it used to be.
After back to back losses to Tito Ortiz and Johnny Bones Jones, Ryan Bader made some changes to his training and coaches and positive results have followed. Bader came back with a KO win of Jason Briltz and in his latest bout scored biggest win of his career when he decisioned Rampage in Japan. Machida should be the favourite going into this fight but Bader is a live dog with great wrestling and heavy hands.
Joe “Creepy” Lauzon vs Jamie “C-4” Varner:
Long time UFC veteran Joe Lauzon takes on former WEC champ Jamie Varner in an exciting lightweight battle that will probably not go full rounds. Joe Lauzon started his UFC career with a bang when he knocked out Jens Pulver and scored one of the biggest upsets in the history of MMA. Since then Lauzon has gone 8-4 in the UFC. Lauzon is pretty much a gatekeeper in the lightweight division in the sense that he beats mid-level guys and up-n-comers but loses to the top dogs like Pettis, Florian and George Sots.
Lauzon is a solid allrounder with a tricky ground game and ever improving striking. Jamie Varner knows how to score upsets too. In his UFC debut Varner was a massive underdog against Muay Thai striker Edson Barboza, who everyone believe would lit up Varner on the feet. Varner put his crisp boxing to good use in the fight and knocked Barboza out in the first round. Like his opponent also Varner, who has a background in both boxing and wrestling, is a typical modern day allrounder. Varner should have the edge on the feet but Lauzon is more dangerous on the ground. Varner has been inconsistent throughout his career due to personal problems and other issues. MMA Viking believes Lauzon is much more reliable performer who should be a clear favourite in this fight.