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UFC 76: Shogun to make Octagon debut; Fedor 'close' to signing

shogun ufc debutMauricio "Shogun" Rua will make his long-awaited Octagon debut at UFC 76 in Anaheim, Calif., according to quotes attributed to UFC President Dana White in The Oregonian.

No opponent has been named at this point.

Here's a snip from White:

"He's signed and ready to roll. You couldn't meet a classier guy in your whole life. He will be so marketable."

The Brazilian light heavyweight -- who is considered the top 205-pound fighter in the world -- is the 2005 PRIDE FC Middleweight Grand Prix Champion. He destroyed Alistair Overeem and highly touted Ricardo Arona in the same night -- both in the first round -- to capture the coveted title.

Shogun also dismantled current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson with a first round knockout at PRIDE: "Total Elimination" in 2005.

His only "real" loss was to Renato "Babalu" Sobral early in his career. Shogun also has dropped a fight with Mark Coleman, but that was because Rua fell at an awkward angle and broke his arm during the fight.

There's no telling who UFC matchmaker Joe Silva will put in the cage with him at the Honda Center during UFC 76. But Shogun has made short work of some of the very best fighters in the sport throughout his career.

Look for that trend to continue in the UFC.

***

In other news, White mentions in the article that he is, "moving close to signing a contract that would bring PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko, widely considered the best fighter in the world, to the UFC."

Take it for what it's worth because this had been speculated since the beginning of 2007. However, there is some unsubstantiated news coming out of some reliable Russian message boards that corroborates White's latest claim.

Let's hope this time the news is closer to fact than it is rumor.

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