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UFC 198 fight card: Shogun Rua vs Corey Anderson full fight preview

Mauricio Rua and Corey Anderson will scrap this Saturday (May 14, 2016) at UFC 198 inside Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. In a match up of fading veteran and up-and-comer, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight hitters Mauricio Rua and Corey Anderson will throw down this Saturday (May 14, 2016) at UFC 198 inside Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil.

Rua's current situation is a bit disconcerting. He seems to have really worked on improving his technical kickboxing and avoiding brawls, but now Rua's durability is no longer there and he's far more susceptible to single blows.

Anderson, on the other hand, is still quite young in his UFC career. Still, he's won five of six bouts inside the Octagon -- and while there's obvious room for growth -- Anderson has already proven himself a top fighter.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Mauricio Rua
Record: 23-10
Key Wins: James Te Huna (UFC Fight Night 38), Lyoto Machida (UFC 113), Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (UFC 190)
Key Losses: Dan Henderson (UFC Fight Night 38), Ovince St. Preux (UFC Fight Night 56), Jon Jones (UFC 128)
Keys to Victory: Even with his decline, Rua is a dangerous kickboxer with power in his hands and some slick Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Recently, he's returned to his roots a bit and is kicking far more, which is really his strong suit.

In addition, Rua's conditioning seems to have improved. In his last bout with Nogueira, Rua was nearly finished in the first round but still managed to outwork his opponent for the next two.

Conditioning will be key here.

For all his opponent's success, there are still obvious issues with his stand up. Anderson is very active -- cardio is the biggest weapon in his arsenal -- but he's also hittable and doesn't pack enough stopping power to really deter his opponents.

While that doesn't mean "Shogun" should look to brawl, he can feel comfortable working his kickboxing game and firing tight combinations. So long as he doesn't over-commit, he should be able to stop Anderson's takedowns as well and force his less experienced opponent to strike with him.


Corey Anderson
Record: 8-1
Key Wins: Jan Blachowicz (UFC 191), Tom Lawlor (UFC 196), Fabio Maldonado (UFC Fight Night 77)
Key Losses: Gian Villante (UFC on FOX 15)
Keys to Victory: Anderson is a fighter who relies on clean fundamentals and physical gifts. He's not extremely technical with his wrestling or boxing, but Anderson is a large fighter who can drain his opponent's stamina by putting the pace on him.

That's enough to win The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 and earn a spot in the Top 15.

In this bout, Anderson needs to use his range and takedowns to full effect. His length should allow him to poke at Rua with the jab and kicks from a range that Rua cannot, meaning the Brazilian will be forced to attempt to close the distance.

Once Rua is moving forward, Anderson can change levels and look to put his opponent on the mat. Even if that fails, jamming Rua into the fence and working in the clinch would be an effective strategy for the American.

While both of these tactics will likely be difficult early on, they should become easier over time. Anderson works at a very high output and his opponent has gassed in the past, so Anderson should slowly take over if he forces his opponent to continually work.

Bottom Line: Rua is acting as the gatekeeper for Anderson.

At this point, it's fairly clear that Rua is never going to go on another title run unless he experiences some sort of massive career renaissance. Still, Rua is hoping to keep his position in the Top 10 and remain relevant. A win here would really help him accomplish that goal, as he's fighting one of the division's most promising up-and-comers.

If Rua comes up short, it doesn't mean "Shogun's" career is over. However, it's evidence that Rua should no longer be fighting top 10 opponents.

This is Anderson's opportunity to jump into the Top 10. He's been winning and performing consistently, so he's earned this chance. So long as Anderson keeps improving, it seems an inevitability that he'll reach this milestone.

The question is whether he's there now.

With a win, Anderson moves into the role of contender just three years into his professional career. That's a serious accomplishment and says huge things about his potential. On the other hand, a loss means that Anderson needs more time to sharpen his skill before making that jump.

At UFC 198, "Shogun" Rua and Corey Anderson will open the main card. Which man will have his hand raised?

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