If you had asked a bunch of fans this time last year, who would win a bout between James Te Huna and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, chances are the vast majority of them would have gone with the latter. After all, Rua was coming off a win over Brandon Vera, and before that, he had lost by decision to Dan Henderson in what was a thrilling and competitive fight. At the time, Rua wasn’t far removed from his reign as UFC light-heavyweight champ.
As the two get set to fight today at UFC Fight Night 33, however, some of the oddsmakers have Te Huna as the favourite. Although Te Huna is coming off a submission loss to Glover Teixeira, the light-heavyweight is 4-1 in his last 5 bouts while “Shogun” is 2-3.
So does any of this mean that the 16-6 fighter is expecting a quick stroll through the Octagon tonight in Brisbane? Of course not. While speaking to MMA Junkie.com recently, here’s what Te Huna had to say about the bout:
“If I win against ‘Shogun,’ I believe I’m going to get one of the better ‘Shoguns’ that there is, because he just come off a fight,” said Te Huna, while referring to the fact Rua fought in August (when he was submitted by Chael Sonnen). “He’s going to be very dangerous; he’s going to be the ‘Shogun’ that everyone knows. So I’m grateful for that, and I look forward to it.”
Guess we’ll find out how Rua looks soon enough. “Shogun” recently relayed that he’s excited about facing a noted finisher like Te Huna, because he likes to “stand-and-bang”. According to Te Huna, however, he doesn’t think Rua is going to come out looking to trade.
“He needs to win this fight – he’s had two straight losses,” Te Huna said. “I don’t think he’ll take any risks. I think he’s going to go for my weakest point. Everyone knows what that is.”
So, in other words, he believes Rua may take a page out of Teixeira’s play book. It’s certainly an intriguing match-up with a lot riding on it for both fighters.
UFC FN 33 will be hosted by the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and the main card will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.