UFC on Fox 4: "Shogun vs. Vera" took place tonight (Sat., Aug. 4, 2012) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and was headlined by a potential light heavyweight title eliminator bout pitting "the legendary" Mauricio Rua against "the revitalized" Brandon Vera.
Assuming the winner here was more impressive than Lyoto Machida, who knocked out Ryan Bader just before them, one of these two would move on to battle Jon Jones or Dan Henderson later this year, or so we've been told.
But this was ugly. Really, really ugly. It sure was fun, though.
"Shogun" fought hard, battling through fatigue while throwing the kitchen sink at Vera, who was game all throughout. In fact, "The Truth" had his moments, almost convincing fans he had a legitimate shot at pulling the upset.
The cream rises to the top, though, and the Brazilian pulled off a stoppage victory in the fourth round via technical knockout after Vera simply had nothing left and wilted under an onslaught of punches.
Title shot worthy?
Vera came out firing kicks and it led to Rua snatching him up and taking him down. That's not something anyone really expected but it made sense, all things considered. After all, this was a five round fight. Knock the wind out of your opponent early and finish him later.
When they got back up, Vera jumped a guillotine. Joe Rogan acted like it was in tight and a "Shogun" submission loss was imminent but it never looked in doubt to yours truly and sure enough, the Brazilian popped his head out.
And now he was in superior position. He landed a few nice shots and passed to side control not long after. Vera turned and Rua took his back with 40 seconds left in the first. He didn't finish it but there was no doubt he was ahead after the first five minutes.
"Shogun" came out throwing bombs to start the second and he hurt Vera early with punches and knees. "The Truth" was against the cage and looking down and out but he returned fire with elbows that had Rua stopping short.
They exchanged again and both men landed big shots that looked to do some serious damage. Neither guy went down but both men were clearly feeling the effects of the various shots they were getting clipped with.
Late in the round, Vera turned on "Shogun" and took him down. Rua looked tired but Vera was allowing him to lay there and recover. Still, the round ended with Vera on top having landed a strong elbow and seemingly gained all the momentum.
Vera looked the fresher of the two coming out for the third. He even threw a flying knee, though it missed badly. Still, "Shogun" was in control through the first few minutes. Both guys were sluggish but punching and kicking with whatever energy they had left.
Through three, the underdog was hanging around but he was likely down on the scorecards.
The fourth round saw the two wilt even further, fatigue testing their limits. "Shogun" was pushing ahead, holding Vera against the fence while landing a punch here and there. Vera wasn't doing much of anything, aside from a combination or two when they reset back in the center.
Rua kept on coming and eventually, Vera wilted. Finally, after what felt like forever, "Shogun" landed enough shots to put Vera down and keep him there. The referee stepped in and gave the Brazilian the victory.
What a battle.
Remember, too, to check out MMAmania.com's complete coverage of the UFC on Fox 4 event by clicking here.