Fight Breakdown: Shogun Vs. Bones

Three years ago who knew Jon “Bones” Jones would become the up and coming star he is today in the Ultimate Fighting Championship? From his humble beginnings growing up in Rochester, New York, to the bright lights of Las Vegas. He has become a certified young success story in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. All 13 bouts for the 23 year old have ended in such dominating fashion of his opponents. Showcasing unorthodox (yet effective) striking using his lanky reach, a solid ground game, and a hunger to win. Jones has become one of the most exciting new prospects in recent memory. With his reach and charisma, to me he is becoming the Mixed Martial Arts version of Boxing legend Thomas Hearns. All of this hype and potential reminds me of another guy who made noise in the Land of the Rising sun in 2003.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was soccer kicking opponents and stomping on heads like Super Mario in the legendary PRIDE FC promotion. Growing up in Curitiba, Brazil, a place rich in Vale Tudo history, he started to hone his craft in the legendary Chute Boxe camp. Along side his older brother Murilo “Ninja” Rua, his idol Wanderlei Silva, and many other wonderful legends, he learned his relentless brand of striking, and earned his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. From 2002-2006, he was 12-1 in his Mixed Martial Arts career. 11 of those wins were via brutal TKOs. Shogun introduced the fans to a new brand of violence never seen in MMA. Mixing technical and relentless Muay Thai, along with his BJJ Black Belt on the ground, he was a threat for anyone and everyone that fought him. His reign of terror in the Vale Tudo and PRIDE ranks, his buzz in Mixed Martial Arts was similar to that of LeBron James in Basketball. In 2005, Shogun won the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix at the young age of 24. Sadly, in 2006 at PRIDE 31 tragedy struck. During his fight with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman, while being taken down to the mat by the world class wrestler, Rua landed awkwardly dislocating his elbow. He would return months later after recovering from his injury and win four straight, including a brutal KO in their 2nd fight against Alistair Overeem.

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He eventually made his UFC debut after PRIDE was bought out by ZUFFA. He made his Unified Rules debut against the original Ultimate Fighter, Forrest Griffin. When the fight went down, Forrest Griffin surprised the world winning the bout via. rear naked choke. Injuries to his knee was responsible for Rua’s lack of stamina during the fight with the much bigger Griffin. At UFC 93, he was granted a rematch with his arch-nemesis Mark Coleman which he won. However the flashes of greatness we saw of him in PRIDE seemed to be long gone, that is until we saw him viciously beat the “Iceman” Chuck Liddell in the first round at UFC 97. From that victory, he earned his shot to fight the Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida in the City of Angels at UFC 104. It was a dominating bout for Rua, unfortunately he lost the fight via. controversial unanimous decision. He was able to redeem himself at UFC 113 in a rematch and destroyed Machida in the first round of the fight. That was the last time we saw Shogun in action on May 8th 2010. Originally at UFC 128, Mauricio was supposed to make his long awaited return to the Octagon to defend his Light Heavyweight crown against Rashad Evans. However, a knee injury in training has prevented Evans from fighting for the title. Making way for Jon Jones to step into the title picture and is now the number one contender for the belt.

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Two men, both top were top prospects in the world of MMA will square off to prove who is superior. For Jon Jones, this title shot has been earned at a very young age. As dynamite and explosive as he is, he hasn’t fought an opponent that even came close to matching his pace in a fight. Shogun Rua on the other hand has been through it all, fighting not only worthy opponents, but much larger, taller, and lanky as well (see his fights with Alistair Overeem). I truly believe experience will the be factor in this fight and Shogun could be the man to beat Jon Jones, once again proving to the world why Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is one of the best to ever step into the ring. But let’s not count out Jon Jones, it’ll be a tough fight for the Brazilian, and I look forward to seeing it all play out at UFC 128.