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UFC Fight Night 134 results from last night: Anthony Smith vs Shogun Rua fight recap

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight knockout artists Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Anthony Smith clashed last night (July 22, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 134 inside Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany.

Rua’s resurgence over the last few years is one of the least expected ever, but the Brazilian legitimately improved his defense and scored some solid victories as a result. Against a fellow hard-hitting scrapper, Rua’s patience and control were tested, although that’s not to say Rua didn’t have a chance in a brawl as well.

Smith’s second UFC stint has proven a breath of fresh air for his career, as “Lionheart” has never been better. Like Rua, Smith solved some of his defensive issues later in his career, and the results have been violence. In addition, Smith jumped up to 205 pounds, a move which quickly saw him earn this opportunity against a Top 10-ranked foe.

The two plodded toward each other, both men looking to land low kicks and counter shots. Smith’s lead hand connected well early, and a front kick from the taller fighter clipped his foe’s chin. Rua tried to respond with aggression, but neither man had really found their range yet, which favored the longer man.

Rua’s punches came up short, whereas Smith’s shots were landing. Quickly, a hard right hand counter from the American found its mark, weakening Rua’s knees and sending him backward. Smith did not waste the opportunity, flurrying madly and landing big shots as Rua rushed backwards. The Brazilian collided with the fence, more punches and a hard elbow crashed into his jaw, and the referee called a stop to the contest while a completely unconscious “Shogun” Rua somehow managed to alternate between falling down and standing back up.

Everything went Smith’s way. His opponent tried to lead, but the significant length differential meant that Smith’s early counter shots were landing far better. After that first front kick that buzzed Rua, Smith kept his activity high and never let his veteran foe back into the fight.

Anytime Smith punched, he landed. Anytime Rua punched, Smith landed.

Once “Shogun” was hurt, Smith showed his world-class finishing instinct. He went after Rua with an absurd amount of violence, leaving Rua with no real option but to flee. Rua tried, but he hit the fence and was offered no reprieve. As a result, Smith is now a top 10 Light Heavyweight, and perhaps a showdown with fellow UFC ‘Hamburg’ winner Corey Anderson would make sense next.

As for Rua, his strategy didn’t make much sense to me. Pressuring the longer man may be the usual answer in MMA, but that only works with a healthy amount of feinting, mixed speed punches, and shifting strikes — or a wrestling heavy game plan. Rua used none of that but still pressured, and the result was a quick knockout loss.

Even in fights that Smith has won recently — namely the Hector Lombard and Andrew Sanchez bouts — his foes found great success in backing off and countering when the lanky man pushed forward. “Shogun” had the skills to attempt that strategy, and it’s a shame he did not.

Last night, Anthony Smith scored the biggest win of his career. What’s next for ‘Lionheart?’

For complete UFC Fight Night 134: “Rua Vs. Smith” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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