UFC Fight Night 56: Shogun vs. Manuwa Date: November 8, 2014 Location: Uberlandia, Brazil Venue: Ginasio Municipal Tancredo Neves Broadcast: Fight Pass UFC Light Heavyweight Shogun Rua Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (22-9) 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 at UFC 76, and it took Shogun a while to finally show his true potential. 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 at UFC 113 after beating Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman to get the shot, Shogun never looked as explosive as he did in PRIDE after all his injuries and surgeries, and despite only being 32, it’s not shocking he’s hit a decline. In the last six years in the UFC, Shogun has gone just 6-7 and in his last fight was brutally knocked out by Dan Henderson in the pair’s rematch in his last outing at UFC Fight Night 58. Despite the loss to Hendrson, though, 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, but one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Fortunately for the former PRIDE star, the UFC is giving him a favorable matchup against Jimi Manuwa, a fellow striker, in his native Brazil, and it’s a winnable fight for Shogun for sure. But at this point of his career, how do you trust him? UFC Light Heavyweight Jimi Manuwa Jimi Manuwa (14-1) is a monster. Some may not believe the hype, but there’s many who are all-in on the Manuwa hype-train. The 34-year-old Manuwa is 14-1 with 13 TKOs and one submission win in his career. He’s absolutely decimated everyone he’s defeated and has literally hit Cyrille Diabate and Ryan Jimmo so hard with his kicks that they had to quit due to injury, and he nearly retired Kyle Kingsbury when they fought. Every single strike Manuwa throws is with bad intentions, and with his power he can defeat anyone at 205lbs on any given night. In his last outing, he stepped up in competition and fought Alexander Gustafsson, getting knocked out in the second round. And while he didn’t look good against Gustafsson, keep in mind Gustafsson is one of the best light heavyweights in the world. After the loss, Manuwa decided he needed better training, and he moved to Sweden to train alongside — ironically — Gustafsson at Allstars Training Center in Stockholm, Sweden. The UFC still believes in Manuwa’s potential and they are giving him another big opportunity against a top 10 205lber in Shogun Rua, who Manuwa meets at UFC Fight Night 56 in what is essentially a make-or-break fight for his career. Opening UFC Fight Night 56 Main Event Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Shogun a -160 favorite (bet $160 to win $100) while Manuwa opened as a +120 underdog (bet $100 to win $120) at Several Bookmakers. This should be a very fun matchup between two of the most explosive strikers in the 205lb division. Shogun has fallen on hard times as of late, culminating in a brutal knockout loss to Dan Henderson in his last outing, but he still has his trademark power and to be fair to him, he has been consistently facing the best light heavyweights in the world. As for Manuwa, he was quickly moving up the ranks, knocking out everyone in his path on the way to the top, but he was knocked out by Alexander Gustafsson in his last fight and many have soured on him. However, while he didn’t look good against Gustafsson, keep in mind Gustafsson is a top-three light heavyweight in the world, and I don’t think it’s fair to base Manuwa’s career trajectory off of that loss. This is a tough fight to call, and either way I think someone gets knocked out, but Shogun deserves to be the favorite due to his name value and the fact the fight is in his native Brazil, and that’s why he opened as such.