Now that we know who Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s first title defense will be against, it’s as good a time as any to preview the impending light heavyweight title bout between Rua and former champ Rashad Evans.
In Rua and Evans, you have two of the most explosive fighters at 205-pounds, but striking might not be what ultimately decides who exits the Octagon with gold around their waist.
If we were to compare the two from a pure striking perspective, the edge has to go to Shogun simply because he has more weapons in his arsenal. The former Chute Boxe fighter can be wild at times, however is able to put together lethal combinations of punches, kicks and knees that most can’t match.
Some might argue that Evans is the far more technical boxer – and rightfully so – but this is MMA and that shouldn’t be the deciding factor when they meet. Team Evans would also argue that Rashad’s kicking game could prove to be the difference, but again the nod still has to go to Rua after putting on a clinic against Lyoto Machida at UFC 104.
Like he did this past weekend against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 114, the glaring advantage Evans will look to capitalize on will be his explosive wrestling skills.
On the flipside, Rua would have no problems showcasing his Brazilian jiu-jitsu game if he were to be put on his back. Not many give Rua props for his ground game, but he’s a legitimate threat to finish from the bottom, just ask Kevin Randleman.
Although a Shogun vs. Rampage title match would’ve been a far sexier championship bout, an impending Shogun vs. Evans fight could turn out to be rather intriguing as well.