With Shogun’s inconsistency getting the better of his career due to a combination of wars in the ring and surgeries outside of the ring, how will he deal with a hungry Te Huna who will be backed by a home town crowd? While we wait until Friday, here’s our break down and prediction of the fight.
Mauricio Rua (21-8 MMA, 5-6 UFC) [+110] vs. James Te Huna (16-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC) [-120]
We’re in for a war between two high power light heavyweights who don’t waste any time in the octagon. At UFC Fight Night 33 Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will take on Australian native James Te Huna with both fighters making their return inside the cage after coming off of losses; Rua to Chael Sonnen and Te Huna to current number one contender Glover Teixeira. Both fighters area of expertise remains on the feet with a combined 28 knock out victories between the two which could result in a serious slug fest – but since this is mixed martial arts, we could be in store for a few surprises from either fighter.
Shogun, 32, needs little introduction. The former UFC light heavyweight champion and 2005 Pride Grand Prix champion is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts and has earned his respect through 11 years of battles inside both the ring and the octagon. Shogun’s career in the UFC has been largely inconsistent as he’s still looking for back to back wins and is unfortunately coming into this fight with the pressure of losing his last two. While Te Huna is also known for his stand up, Shogun’s striking is far more accredited and has been triumphant over a much higher level of competition. To compliment his stand up, Shogun possesses a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. However, Shogun’s ground game has a large emphasis on sweeps and defensive grappling with the intention of getting the fight back to the feet should he be taken down.
Shogun has been known to exchange with reckless abandon which puts a heavy dependency on his chin. Fortunately, the Chute Box Academy veteran has yet to be knocked out in competition (only losing by actual TKO to Jon Jones in which he was overwhelmed by strikes, not knocked unconscious, and suffered a broken arm from a take down by Mark Coleman which was ruled a TKO loss). Having this caliber of chin is certainly an asset against an opponent like Te Huna.
What Shogun should do:
- First and foremost, Shogun needs to come in healthy and focused. When Shogun shows up to fight he’s one of the top five light heavyweights in the division. When Shogun shows up but isn’t there, he becomes a punching bag.
- Shogun needs to mix it up – Te Huna is not a wrestler, so Shogun shouldn’t fear engaging in the clinch. Bring back the knees, attack from all angles like a Muay-Thai specialist should.
What Shogun shouldn’t do:
- Shogun’s cardio has been questionable lately so he needs to make sure that he doesn’t blow all of his energy throwing wildly early as well as absorbing shots he doesn’t need to absorb.
- He cannot go in trading blow for blow with Te Huna – it simply isn’t a reliable strategy, and after his war with Henderson there’s no telling when that chin could crack. While he will want a brawl, he needs to have a more technical brawl and not abandon head movement.
Te Huna, 32, is a former CFC champion who has built quite the name for himself by earning his first three wins in the UFC by knock out (while losing one to Gustafsson in the process) as well as stringing together four wins in a row before losing to current number one contender Glover Teixeira. Te Huna’s striking has proved to be very effective inside the octagon making him a great match for the Pride veteran. Te Huna and Shogun both share the ability to absorb an unruly amount of punishment as well as dish out loads of power shots. But much like Shogun, going into this fight with the intention of trading shot for shot is a poor idea. Instead, Te Huna should look to mix up his striking with the threat of a take down to keep Shogun guessing. While he may not find much success on top of Shogun, Shogun does not possess much submission skill off of his back having only earned one victory by submission so he should be able to grapple with confidence.
Shogun’s brawling style has shown some holes in the past – Henderson was able to land the harder punch first which changed the dynamic of the fight, something that Te Huna is capable of doing as well, and Gustafsson was able to fight smart and pick Shogun apart from the outside. The reach between these two is quite similar, but if Te Huna is able to work his jab and avoid a brawl he may be able to get the better of the Brazilian.
What Te Huna should do:
- Te Huna should establish a jab and not expect to be able to knock Shogun out. While the knock out is his usual goal, expecting to do so against Shogun is not an intelligent strategy. Instead, working a jab and setting up right hands with that jab is far more plausible.
- Te Huna needs to mix it up. While he doesn’t have the same capabilities in the clinch, he could surprise Shogun with some take downs mixed into each round which will keep him guessing allowing Te Huna to create more openings to land power strikes.
What Te Huna shouldn’t do:
- Te Huna cannot let his pride get in the way of a game plan. Do not go into this fight thinking you have to trade blow for blow with Shogun to prove you hit harder and can take more shots. Avoid. A. Brawl.
- And if the above wasn’t enough.. AVOID A BRAWL.
@MikalMMA ‘s Prediction: Shogun Rua defeats James Te Huna via submission (rear naked choke) in round 3
While I predict a submission, I would first like to say that I do not believe there will be any grappling until the end of the fight. This will be a stand up war. However, I believe that in the third round after both fighters are battered and worn that Shogun’s experience in these types of wars will show and he will end up landing an overwhelming amount of power shots flush on Te Huna sending him to the mat. Instead of looking to finish him with strikes, Shogun will lock in a rear naked choke and earn the second submission victory in his career.