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Mauricio Rua’s title-defense against Rashad Evans gets an official date

The UFC appears set to offer their own unique brand of fist-pumping to the fair citizens of New Jersey early next year with a main-event caliber match-up already attached to the event featuring Mauricio “Shogun” Rua putting his light heavyweight belt on the line against former champion Rashad Evans at the Prudential Center on March 19 in Newark

The pairing of top-ranked 205ers was initially reported by Canadian news outlet SportsNet. The show will mark the UFC’s third trip to the arena, including an earlier card headlined by Evans taking on fellow Ultimate Fighter season-winner Michael Bisping. Though no number has been officially announced for the date it is believed the card will be UFC 129 based on other planned events.

The bout will mark Rua’s first defense of the belt since winning it by way of first-round knockout against Lyoto Machida in May, then subsequently being sidelined in order to repair ligament damage in his left knee. The renowned Brazilian is 3-2 in the UFC, but 19-4 overall in his career including wins over Chuck Liddell, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem (both by way of knockout).

The 15-1-1 Evans will enter the title-bout coming off a pair of decision victories in 2010 with “Rampage” and Thiago Silva on the losing end of the judges’ scorecards and has only been beaten a single time in his seventeen-fight career. In addition to both respected competitors, “Suga” ‘Shad has experienced in-ring success in the past against Liddell, Stephan Bonnar, and of course Griffin who he ultimately won the light heavyweight championship from at UFC 92 in December 2008.

The action unfolding in Newark should be intriguing to say the least based on the fighters’ opposing styles. Evans is known primarily as a wrestler who prefers to control action while occasionally offering precise, powerful punches. Eight of his fifteen wins have been the result of a decision and he also has a draw on his record. Comparably, Rua brings an arsenal into the ring featuring an assortment of dynamic strikes born of his Muay Thai base with sixteen of his nineteen total wins coming via TKO.

  • mma.Australia says:

    Hi guys

    Is it possible?

    UFC 127 in Sydney, Feb27 looks like it may have sold out, before it even officially goes on sale tomorrow morning at 9am!

    Aussies who purchased the $80 or so Fight Club memberships, eligible for pre-sale, may have bought up the lot, 20000 approx I’d say. I’ve been lucky to secure two Platinum seats, which are good but not close to the best seats, for 400-450 a pop but it looks like the general public may be in for a rude surprise when general public goes on sale.

    Have any of you lads heard about this? Has this happened before?

    As the password provided for members was generic its likely this was passed on and on also which is a disaster.

    Interested to hear your thoughts

  • YES!!!! Im so stoked for this fight…Rashad will have his hands full regardless of where he takes this fight…on the feet he’ll be eaten alive as his usual speed advantage at 205 is out the window….in the clinch he’ll have to be on the lookout for stray knees and elbows…and on the ground its sweeps, subs and full on hell.

    Man I almost feel bad for Suga…but not. I see Rua takin him out with a well placed _______(insert your favorite way to see Rashad finished here.)

  • BigDave says:

    Rashad got his lights turned out by lyoto im thinking the same will happen here only much quicker and far more violently

  • bigbadjohn says:

    Rashads athleticism will allow him to take this fight where he pleases. He won’t be back-peddling around directly in front of Shogun like Lyoto had. Kicks by Rua will be turned into takedowns by Suga, Kicks by Suga will wear down Rua’s bad knee (along with wrestling). as always, Rashads suspect chin could play a part but I see Suga keeping the distance close (Randy-wrestling against the cage). Both will have had a long lay-off snd Ive seen Shogun gas more than once before, so going deep into the rounds with a quick wrestler like Suga won’t be on his to-do list.. I can’t call the fight with much confidence but I’m thinking it could shake down like Evans’ tilt with Thiago. Watch that chin Rashad!

  • adamsfamily says:

    Dear mma.Australia

    I had something like this happen to me at a UK event, think it was the first one at the o2 in London – Hendo Vs Rampage.
    At that time I had a fight club menbership with and pre-seat booking available. They went on sale 10pm and I stayed up half the night trying to enter my code which the site kept rejecting.
    By 9 am next morning all the £40 – £100 tickets were gone. £250 was all that was left. I was fucked off and wrote a polite but lengthy email to the UFC expalining the fault with the site and my membership status. Never even got a reply.
    I got to the event with tickets I bought off someone in the fight club who couldnt go. And admittedly since then I have been to the MEN in Manchester in good seats and VIP seating at the o2.
    I can say with confidence that the best seating in any of the arenas is about 10 rows up on one side opposite the press pit (usually £250 or more) anything closer, you cant see for the cameramen moving around, anything further away (especially the cheaper seats) you end up watching midgets in the distance or big screens with no commentary all evening.
    My advice – buy the best seats you can afford or go to a bar with decent screens. Or the cinema (which we dont get here in the UK)


  • boomnutz says:

    this is def. hard fight to pick, as i think styles make matches and Machida was a bad matchup for Suga, and Rua was a bad matchup for Machida…I’m leaning towards Rua, but wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the “belt that loves to change hands” change hands, again. I think Rashard WILL have a speed advantage, and probably a better game plan, but Rua should def. have more ways to win.

    I normally root against Suga, but this time i actually hope he wins, because i want to see what happens when Jon Jones is offered a title shot against Suga…should be interesting.

    Also, would love to see Rampage rematch Rua

  • bigbadjohn says:

    Have I missed something? People keep mentioning Bones and Evans possibly fighting if Rashad wins the belt. Hasn’t this been contradicted about a million times by Bones and by Sugar? Jon went as far as saying he’d move weight classes to avoid fighting his teammates. From everything Ive seen in regards to teammates fighting = would confidently say that these 2 will never meet in the octagon. Or they have the same chance of doing so as say Fitch and Kos…

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Bigbadjohn, if you listen to any Evans fight, you can hear Joe Rogan talking about how Rashad needs to drop down to 185 every fight. So I guess that also is a possability if Rashad loses here.

  • boomnutz says:

    i don’t recall Rogan saying anything (i believe you when you say i though) but i agree, i’ve been saying it for like a year and a half, he needs to move down, he’s short for a MW and SOFT…he could be a beast at 185, his speed is enough to probably equal the fastest guys and in my opinion wouldn’t lose much power, so he’d become one of the more powerful guys too…

    bigbadjohn, i’ve heard them talking about not fighting, but i want to see what happens when Dana gives him a title shot, can he really say no!?!?

  • Swing Em says:

    I see this going one of two ways

    1. Shogun by KO


    2. Suga by Decision

    If Shogun connects it’s goodnight…but if Rashad can get a hold of him & wear him down I can see him taking the UD.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    boomnutz, I can say with full confidence either Suga or Bones would say no because they have talked about that situation so many frickin times! and to those who say rashad should move to 185, why? he has one loss and is an ex champ? I’ll take my chances against shogun in the ‘everchanging belt-wearing’ division than with the Spider at 85. Tho Sugar was undersized for HW , there are plenty of smaller LHWs around with a lot less speed and talent. and ‘soft’ is a bit of a hyperbole boys, it’s not a body building contest. what about anderson, bj or even cain? none of them are Ripped/made of steel.

  • Hey Boomnutz where do you get that Rashad is faster than Rua? Lyoto was faster than Rashad, rua was faster than lyoto so it stands to say Rua is leaps and bounds faster than Rashad. I would love to see Jon Jones vs. Shogun and I think that’s the 205 match that would be full of the flashiest strikes, the craziest sub attempts and finally someone that can match jon jones in explosiveness and creativity…then Shogun will take on the spider in the superfight I been dyin to see!

  • JOEgun says:

    Despite the long lay off period (for Rashad as well), I have no doubts Shogun finishes Rashad.

    Welcome to the Shogun era!

    lol :p

  • Rashad does not deserve a shot.. weeek!

  • Niv says:

    Rua is the definitive monster of the LHW division and in my opinion will go down as it’s greatest fighter ever.

    I know that some believe Rua has a suspect gas tank, but the 2 times in his entire career he gassed was when he came off of 2 back to back kinee surgeries with no cardio training leading up to his fights. Anyone who has followed Rua’s career can attest to the energy and non-stop fighting style he brings to the game. In Pride the opening rounds were 10 minutes, I never once saw him come close to gassing.

    He fought Machida 5 full rounds and looked like he was ready for another 5 rounds. I believe that his last surgery that took place in the US as opposed to Brazil(no disrespect to Brazil’s medical system) I’m sure that will play a big role in his recovery and preparedness. I doubt he will come to play when he’s not ready again, especially as he has so much more on the line now.

    Evans in my opinion is going to get thumped and will be sleeping by the 3rd round.

  • Niv says:

    Oh, and I too am hoping for a Silva vs Rua superfight some time soon. If anyone can stand and drop Silva it’s Rua, that fight would have the makings of an all-time classic!


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