Rua & Machida Favored At UFC On Fox 4
By: Matty Simo
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Saturday’s UFC on FOX 4 card will feature a couple light heavyweight fights that will determine who are true contenders for the title belt held by champion Jon “Bones” Jones and who are pretenders that should no longer be considered in the mix. There will be 10 fights overall, including four that will take place on the main card and be televised live on FOX starting at 8:00 p.m. (ET) from Staples Center in Los Angeles. Six preliminary card bouts will begin at 5:00 p.m. and be shown on FUEL TV.
Former champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua headlines the main event against veteran Brandon "The Truth" Vera while another former title holder Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida takes on Ryan “Darth” Bader in the co-main event. UFC president Dana White originally stated that the winner of Rua vs. Vera would be next in line for a shot at the light heavyweight title after Jones faces Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on September 1 in Las Vegas. However, White’s comment drew a lot of criticism from MMA fans and made him change his tune, as he revised his statement to include the winner of Machida vs. Bader if one of them puts on a more impressive performance.
Regardless of who wins, there are two clear-cut favorites going into UFC on FOX 4 and two big underdogs. Rua (20-6) has lost two of his last three fights, but both setbacks came against top competition in Jones and Henderson. He has knocked out 17 opponents among his 20 wins and sits between -340 and -400 at different sportsbooks according to the Don Best odds screen.
Rua was originally scheduled to fight Thiago Silva, who suffered a back injury and postponed that matchup slated for UFC 149. The 30-year-old Brazilain now gets a much easier opponent in Vera (12-5), a fighter many have argued does not deserve headliner status on any UFC card at this stage of his career.
Vera was supposed to face James Te-Huna at UFC on FUEL TV 4 but was called upon to fill in for Silva after he got hurt. He has won just one of his last four bouts and also lost to Jones by TKO and Randy Couture via unanimous decision during that stretch. The 34-year-old Vera is anywhere between +250 to +300 depending on where you shop.
The Machida-Bader fight is slightly more intriguing, mostly because Bader (14-2) has more potential than Vera yet has failed to live up to the hype so far. Machida (17-3) is favored between -300 and -350 and has dropped three of his last four bouts, although those losses came against Jones, Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The 34-year-old Brazilian had previously beaten Rua in his first title defense after winning the belt from “Suga” Rashad Evans at UFC 98 in 2009 but then gave it up in the rematch with Shogun at UFC 113 a year later.
Bader can be bet between +250 and +275, and he is still searching for his signature win in the UFC. After winning Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter, he improved to 12-0 before he has beaten by Jones and Tito Ortiz in consecutive fights. The 29-year-old former Arizona State wrestler has bounced back with wins over Jackson and Jason Brilz in his last two bouts and will get a golden opportunity to make a serious statement inside the Octagon against Machida.