Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweights Mauricio Rua and Ovince St. Preux battled for their position in the top 10 last night (Sat., Nov. 8, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 56 inside Ginasio Municipal Tancredo Neves in Uberlandia, Brazil.
Though the legendary fighter had fallen on some hard times, recent performances gave "Shogun" fans a small bit of hope for his future. Since his more measured style ended with a knockout loss to Henderson recently, Rua was looking for a better result against St. Preux.
Following his disappointing loss to Bader, "OSP" really needed to have a strong bounce back performance. Otherwise, his current position of "potential contender" was in serious jeopardy.
Luckily, St. Preux delivered in stunning fashion (see the video here).
To open the bout, St. Preux landed a hard, partially blocked kick to the body. Then, Rua attempted to close the distance with a combination of punches.
As he moved in, "OSP" countered with a long left hook.
Whether the left hook alone rocked "Shogun" or he was also off-balance from throwing punches is difficult to know, but in the end it doesn't really matter. As Rua hit the mat, St. Preux followed up and delivered a vicious series of ground strikes. Rua appeared to remain conscious throughout, but neither moved to his feet nor defended his face, causing the referee to rightfully stop the bout.
Looking purely at technique, there's not a lot to be learned in a 35 second fight. "OSP" has always been powerful, and Rua has long been hittable. That adds up to a bad combination for the Brazilian, whose durability is no longer what it used to be.
Though I usually review the winner first, "Shogun" deserves some attention. Though he's clearly been falling apart physically for years now, Rua has only been defeated by top fighters. St. Preux may be a physical specimen, but he's quite a step down from the other men to hand Rua his recent losses, such as Gustafsson, Sonnen, and Henderson.
At this point, it seems like retirement is the best option for Rua. He's hasn't been an elite contender for some time, but now he's no longer even beating the fringe contenders in the division. Worse, he's getting violently knocked out by them. Hopefully, "Shogun" decides to call it quits after coaching The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Brazil.
On the bright side, St. Preux delivered what was basically a perfect performance and added a notable name to his resume. In a division utterly devoid of up-and-coming prospects, this is actually a very good thing. If St. Preux can string another couple wins together over at least decent competition, he may find himself fighting for the title.
Which seems absolutely insane to me, considering just how limited St. Preux is.
Regardless, St. Preux called out Maldonado after his victory (a lot of that going around lately). That's hardly aiming for the top, but Maldonado is somehow a top 15 fighter, so it would be a fairly good win for St. Preux.
The outside of the top five of the light heavyweight division is a strange place indeed (proof).
At UFC Fight Night 56, Ovince St. Preux brutally finished "Shogun" Rua in the first round. How far can the Knoxville native climb?
For complete UFC Fight Night 56 "Rua vs St. Preux" results and play-by-play click HERE.