UFC Fight Night 33 Opening Odds Breakdown: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. James Te Huna

Mauricio Rua UFC FIGHT NIGHT 33: HUNT VS. SILVA Date: Dec. 7, 2013 Location: Brisbane, Australia Broadcast: FOX Sports 1 UFC Light Heavyweight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (-160) Profile: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-8) came into the UFC in 2007 as one of the most hyped light heavyweights in history. At that point in time, he was the incoming Pride Middleweight Grand Prix champion, and was 16-2 with wins over Alistair Overeem, Rampage Jackson and Kevin Randleman, just to name a few. He was a 26-year-old wrecking ball, but Forrest Griffin derailed the hype train. Shogun came into the UFC off what would become one of many knee surgeries, and although he would go on to win the light heavyweight championship from Lyoto Machida, after beating Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman, Shogun just wouldn’t look like his old explosive self after injuries took their toll. In the last six years in the UFC, Shogun has gone just 5-6 and has lost his last two in a row after being dominated by Chael Sonnen and Alexander Gustafsson. That’s the first time in his career he’s lost two in a row. Shogun is still a violent and dangerous opponent that is as exciting to watch as ever, but he has simply lost a step. That doesn’t hurt his legacy, as he will go down as one of the greatest and most exciting fighters of all time, and he still has a ton of heart, as evidenced in his fight of the decade against Dan Henderson in 2011. UFC Light Heavyweight James Te Huna (+120) Profile: One-time protege of fellow New Zealander Mark Hunt, James Te Huna (16-6) has knockout power indicative of his trainer. Te Huna has become a contender in the UFC light heavyweight division over the last year or so, with wins over Ryan Jimmo, Joey Beltran and Ricardo Romero. Te Huna is a rough and tumble fighter, who tries for the knockout at all times. Te Huna is 5-2 in the UFC, with his losses coming to Alex Gustaffson and Glover Teixeira, both at the top of the food chain in the division. He lost to both men via first round submission. The 32-year-old picks his shots well, and is apt to get in fun brawls or fights that end very quickly, which is exactly what most are expecting when he faces one of the toughest fights of his career in Shogun Rua. Opening UFC Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Shogun a -160 betting favorite (bet $160 to win $100), while Te Huna opened as a +120 underdog (bet $120 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers. This is an excellent matchup on paper and it should prove to be an exciting fight between two of the best strikers in the entire UFC light heavyweight division. Shogun is a former champion, but he is on a serious decline, while Te Huna looked poised to be a top 10 fighter. But will this matchup play out that way? Although Te Huna is powerful with his hands, Shogun is the better overall striker, and on the ground there is no doubt that Shogun has the advantage. But it’s possible Shogun is fading faster than we think he is, and Te Huna knocks him out. Then again, maybe Te Huna has shown his submission defence is too big a hole and maybe Shogun can capitalize. We’ll have to wait and see, but if you ask me, Shogun is the deserved favorite here as he has more ways to win the fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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