UFC on Fox 4’s main event is Mauricio Rua’s to lose.
The 30-year-old Brazilian MMA fighter will face off against Brandon Vera on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. If he isn’t the last man standing, it’d be a shocker. Rua is the more talented fighter, and with a title shot on the line, he has more to fight for.
John Morgan of MMAjunkie.com reported that Rua talked about how the importance of a victory vs. Vera is amplified by the fact that a belt could be within his reach. He said:
I prefer to look at it from a different perspective. I don't look at it as any kind of pressure but as a way to have more motivation for the fight next Saturday. It doesn't matter. The belt is a result of a good job, good work. I'm now focused on the fight of next Saturday. Then I'm going to start to think about the future. Right now, all that matters is Saturday's fight.
Since losing his light heavyweight championship to Jon Jones, Rua has knocked out Forrest Griffin in the first round and lost in the Fight of the Year to Dan Henderson.
According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, UFC president Dana White said of his match against Henderson: “[Rua's] last fight with Dan Henderson was one of the sickest fights I've ever seen in my life.”
That sounds like a fan to me.
With only one more win likely standing in between Rua and a shot at a title, he isn’t losing—especially to Vera.
In the American's last four fights, he was defeated by unanimous decision against Randy Couture, knocked out in the first round by Jones, dealt a loss by unanimous decision again vs. Thiago Silva (until Silva attempted to cheat on his urine test) and beat Eliot Marshall.
Marshall, Vera’s only victory since three summers ago, isn’t anything special with a 10-4 career record against other mediocre fighters.
The 34-year-old Vera’s downslide will continue on Saturday.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.