Yesterday I offered up a look at how I felt the quartet of light heavyweights co-headlining tonight’s UFC on FOX 4 lineup would fare in a rematch against current champion Jon Jones, as Ryan Bader, Lyoto Machida, Brandon Vera, or Mauricio Rua will emerge from the event as the division’s top contender depending on how they perform inside the Octagon.
Now it’s time to give some attention to how each will fare in their respective rumbles…
Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida
Bader will come in tonight as the bigger man though I’m not necessarily sure that’s a good thing. Machida’s speed and trademark elusiveness are going to prove to be problematic to a guy like Bader who relies more on power than technique. Machida has faced other good wrestlers and handled them with relative ease, such as Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz, so I see the trend continuing tonight. I think he’ll pepper him with strikes, fend off his takedowns, and maybe even put him in a submission attempt or two along the way.
Winner – Lyoto Machida def. Ryan Bader via Unanimous Decision
Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera
On paper this fight should be a massacre. Rua is a former champion with a propensity for putting opponents away and wins over some of MMA’s elite names; Vera has struggled to find success over the past few years and hasn’t won a big fight since 2009. However, Vera’s passion to perform has clearly returned and he does tend to perform at his best in big bouts, basically fighting up to his opponent’s level. Still, for me this boils down to the shape “Shogun” is in since he consistently kills opponents while healthy but does poorly when a bit flabby. He looked good at the weigh-ins yesterday so that, based on of course his reputation as a complete bad-ass, I’ll be going with Rua to put Vera away and possibly out of the UFC altogether.
Winner – Mauricio Rua def. Brandon Vera via TKO Round 2
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC