UFC 149: July 21, 2012
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Profile: “Shogun” Rua (20-6) has suffered half of his losses in his last five fights, with two of the three coming with the UFC light heavyweight title on the line. The 30-year-old Brazilian lost to former champion Machida via unanimous decision at UFC 104 on October 24, 2009, although he won the rematch at UFC 113 by first-round knockout less than seven months later in his very next fight to capture the title belt. He then proceeded to lose the belt to Jon Jones via third-round submission at UFC 128 last March 19. Rua has split his last two bouts, beating Forrest Griffin via first-round KO at UFC 134 last August 27 and losing to Dan Henderson by unanimous decision less than three months later at UFC 139 in what ended up as the Fight of the Year.
Thiago Silva (+190)
Profile: Silva (14-3, 1 No-Contest) will be fighting for the second time in a little more than three months after losing a unanimous decision to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on FUEL TV 2 on April 14. The 29-year-old Brazilian does not have a win over a current UFC fighter, as he last beat Keith Jardine via first-round knockout at UFC 102 on August 29, 2009. Silva’s last three fights have gone the distance after 10 of his previous 11 all ended in the first round. He won nine of those 10, with the lone loss during that stretch coming against Lyoto Machida by first-round KO at UFC 94 on January 31, 2009.
Opening Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened Rua as a solid -250 favorite (bet $250 to win $100) against Silva, the +190 underdog (bet $100 to win $190) according to the UFC 149 odds. Rua may be a year older, but he has clearly fought much better competition lately and still looks to be in his prime when compared to the younger Silva. The fact that all of the opponents Silva has beaten are out of the UFC speaks volumes, as even an apparent unanimous decision win over Brandon Vera at UFC 125 was overturned after it was discovered that he failed his drug test. Silva did not look good against Gustafsson earlier this year, and his best chance against Rua may be to score a knockout, which is how 11 of his 14 wins have ended. However, Rua is a deadlier striker and will also likely use the same gameplan considering 17 of his 20 wins have finished the same way. He is also the No. 4 light heavyweight in the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings.