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UFC Fight Night 134: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Anthony Smith

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Legendary light heavyweight, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, headlines UFC Fight Night 134 this  Sunday, July 22nd, against dangerous kickboxer, Anthony Smith. Will the savvy veteran score another victory or is it time for a new star to shine?

Rolling Back the Years for Rua?

Renowned for his brutal knockout victories in the famous PRIDE promotion over a decade ago, the 36-year-old Rua is now in the late stage of his career. With an extreme amount of mileage on his body and an accumulation of injuries, it’s questionable how long Rua will continue to fight.

While he’s not going to be in title contention anytime soon, Rua can still rack up victories against the right opponents. In his last fight against the defensively porous Gian Villante, Rua got the better of the striking exchanges and scored yet another stoppage victory.

In addition to his punching combinations, Rua is known for his savage leg kicks. This could be useful against Anthony Smith, who allowed Hector Lombard to blast his lead leg during the first two rounds of their fight.

Rua is also a jiu-jitsu black belt and could seek to take the fight to the mat. Anthony Smith has not shown good takedown defense in the past.

A New Weight Class for Smith

After moving up to light heavyweight, Anthony Smith quickly dispatched former UFC champion, Rashad Evans. While the fight couldn’t have gone better for Smith, Evans had been declining for years and retired immediately after losing.

He’ll definitely have a tougher challenge against Rua this weekend.

Looking at the two fighters side by side, you may expect Smith to possess a reach advantage. Although he stands three inches taller at 6’4, both fighters have a 76-inch reach. Smith has never been an outside fighter anyway - he’ll be happy to stand in front of Rua and go blow for blow. All signs indicate that this will be a shootout, and someone is likely to get finished.

Take the Value

Although Smith is the rightful favorite, he’s not the type of fighter I can trust at -235. He’s no defensive mastermind and Rua will have opportunities to land strikes. If you’re looking for a safe bet, you can pay -365 for the fight not going to decision, but where’s the fun in that?

In what is sure to be a competitive fire fight, I’ll take my chances with the underdog.

Pick: Rua +185

Check out my other betting predictions for UFC Fight Night 134.

 

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