UFC on FOX 4 Opening Odds: Light Heavyweights Mauricio Rua (-290) vs. Brandon Vera (+220)

UFC on FOX 4: August 4, 2012 Staples Center in Los Angeles, California UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Mauricio Rua (-290) Profile: Mauricio “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 Lyoto 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. UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Brandon Vera (+220) Profile: Brandon Vera (12-5, 1 No-Contest) is coming off a unanimous decision victory against Eliot Marshall at UFC 137 after going 0-2-1 in his previous three bouts. He is just 3-3-1 at light heavyweight after previously fighting at heavyweight and has much more top-level experience than Te Huna. The only problem is that the 34-year-old Vera has not been very successful against big-name opponents, with all five of his losses coming against current light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, MMA legend Randy Couture, Keith Jardine, Fabricio Werdum and Tim Sylvia following an 8-0 start to his career. Vera’s biggest win came against Frank Mir at UFC 65 more than five years ago. Opening UFC on FOX 4 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has installed Rua as the -290 favorite (bet $220 to win $100) while Vera opened as a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220) according to the MMA odds. “Shogun” has endured the toughest stretch of his career with losses to three of the Top 5 light heavyweights according to the MMAOB MMA Fighter Rankings, but he remains in that same group of contenders for the title belt and could earn another shot at champ “Bones” Jones with a victory. Vera has struggled big-time against the elite fighters in the light heavyweight division and is not even ranked in the Top 15. He will be filling in for the injured Thiago Silva and does not match up well at all against Rua, who is finally healthy again and primed to make another run at the title. Vera’s only real shot here is that Rua overlooks him, which is doubtful considering his recent struggles and how much he needs this win.

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