Shogun was as brutal and entertaining as Machida, but not as impressive in Dana White’s eyes. Props: @raiseyourhorns
After watching the UFC’s first two lackluster efforts on Fox, as well as the organization’s entertaining third effort fail to draw decent ratings, it was no secret that the UFC needed to deliver with last night’s UFC on Fox 4. With “the most impressive fighter” earning the next title shot at light-heavyweight, fighters returning to the spotlight after time in the indie leagues and fighters returning from extended layoffs – not to mention the usual
mix of fighters attempting to make a name for themselves and guys literally fighting for their jobs- it was obvious that the UFC was hoping for something special from everybody involved. Factor in the fact that the UFC was already struggling with ratings before the abysmal UFC 149 just two weeks ago, and it would seem like a night full of stoppages was in order to keep the fans interested in future fights on Fox.
Simply put, this card delivered all that was expected of it and then some. Last night’s fights were exactly what I was hoping to get when the UFC first announced that they had inked a deal with Fox. It was exactly what I want to show the first time viewer who asks what this “MMA stuff” is that I write about. After a rough start with these free cards on Fox, the UFC now stands at an even 2-2.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that the main event bout between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Brandon “The Truth” Vera lived up to its expectations because, let’s face it, there weren’t any. Before the fight, no one could make sense of the potential title implications behind a seemingly blatant squash fight, pitting an aging legend of our sport against a fighter who had been coasting on the brink of irrelevance. Whether we were given a quick, brutal knockout or five rounds of stalling and wheezing, few of us would have been surprised either way.
Rather, it’s fair to say that Shogun Rua vs. Brandon Vera ended up being one of the best fights that the UFC has put on Fox, and easily the most entertaining main event on the network. For four rounds, Shogun outpointed a focused, game Vera on his way to a fourth round TKO. While Vera certainly had his moments – don’t act like your jaw didn’t drop when he locked in that guillotine in the first round – in the end Shogun’s aggressive striking and takedowns were just too much for The Truth.