UFC Fight Night 33 Co-Main Event Play: James Te Huna (-130) vs Shogun Rua (+110)

James Te HunaUFC Fight Night 33 Date: December 7, 2013 (in Australia) December 6 (in US) Arena: Brisbane Entertainment Centre City: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Light Heavyweight bout: James Te Huna (-130) vs Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (+110) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event this Friday night (in North America) of UFC Fight Night 33 on FOX Sports 1 will be a light heavyweight war between a pair of 32-year olds who always fight their hearts out. There will be fireworks, as Australia’s own James Te Huna takes on Brazilian MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Te-Huna is currently a slight favorite in this fight at -130 ($130 to win $100), while Rua barely sits with underdog status at +110 ($100 to win $110) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. JAMES TE HUNA (16-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is coming off a first round submission loss at the hands of current light heavyweight title challenger Glover Teixeira. The loss marked his second defeat inside the Octagon, both of which came by way of submission in the very first frame of action. His first loss came in his second Octagon appearance against Alexander “The Mauler” Gustaffson. He was doing quite well against Gustaffson early in the round until he gassed out, at which point Gustafsson put him in a rear naked choke and got the tap. Since the Gustaffson bout, Te Huna has made major improvements in the cardio department. The New Zealand-native possesses serious power in his hands, and has the ability to put just about anybody away at 205. His hands will be his main key to victory in this bout, and he will definitely need to keep the fight standing, as hitting the mat could mean the beginning of the end. It goes without saying he has poor submission defense, so he wants to avoid the ground game of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in “Shogun” at all costs. Though not nearly as bad as his submission defense, Te Huna’s striking defense is not very good, as he gets tagged frequently, and on occasion gets rocked. That said, I think he has a decent chin, and excellent recovery. While he has been rocked, he has never been knocked out. He competes with some heavy hitters at 205 pounds, so getting rocked does not make me doubt his chin. His recovery, toughness, and heart are all very impressive. MAURICIO “SHOGUN” RUA (21-8 MMA, 5-6 UFC) is making his return to the Octagon following a submission defeat at the hands of Chael Sonnen three and a half months ago. Sonnen caught him in a guillotine choke, and earned the tap with 13 seconds remaining in the very first round of action. “Shogun” was very affected by the defeat, which was apparent when he sat inside the Octagon crying into his UFC gloves. Rua has not looked impressive since his knockout victory over Lyoto Machida at UFC 133 to win the UFC title three and a half years ago. Since then, he lost his belt and was dominated by Jon Jones via TKO, he beat Forrest Griffin via first round knockout and lost an incredible five round war to Dan Henderson in the 2011 Fight of the Year. After that war, he hand-picked an opponent he felt he could beat in Brandon Vera for a main event on FOX. Vera was actually holding his own against Rua until the fourth round, where Shogun landed a heavy shot as he was putting his mouthpiece back in. Shogun closed 2012 by losing a one-sided decision to Alexander Gustafsson in a bout that seemed like a changing of the guard. Rua now looks to rebound from the Sonnen loss, and get back in the W column, with a possible move to the middleweight division to follow. He is a crisp, and powerful striker who is vicious with all limbs. He will enter this bout with a definite grappling advantange, as well as advantages in experience, cardio, and technical striking. Fight Prediction: Te Huna keeps this fight on the feet, where he fights a back-and-forth war with Rua. I could see “Shogun” finally getting knocked out inside the Octagon by somebody not named Jon Jones, but more often than not, I think this fight makes its way all the way to the judges’ scorecards, where I think Te Huna’s hunger, and drive to win will make the difference. Gabe’s Pick: James Te Huna by Split-Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Plays: James Te-Huna -130 3.25u to win 2.5u

Written by Gabe Killian

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