UFC on FOX 5 Opening Odds: Light Heavyweights Alexander Gustafsson (-210) vs. Mauricio Rua (+170)

Alexander GustafssonUFC on FOX 5: December 8, 2012 Seattle, Washington UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Alexander Gustafssson (-210) Profile: Alexander Gustafsson (14-1) has made his mark on the UFC light heavyweight division in the last few years. The 25-year-old Swede’s single loss comes to another light heavyweight youngster who is also working his way to the top of the rankings in Phil Davis back in April of 2010. Since then, Gustafsson has used his size and superlative MMA boxing to amass another five-fight winning streak, with four of those wins ending via submission or strikes. Gustafsson looked somewhat hesitant in his last fight against Thiago Silva yet still earned the victory, and he will likely need to be more aggressive against Shogun Rua, who is by far the biggest challenge in his young career. UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Mauricio Rua (+170) Profile: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-6) 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. He rebounded by knocking out Brandon Vera on August 4 and will face a much tougher opponent in Gustafsson, who is looking to prove himself as a top contender and notch his biggest victory yet. Opening UFC on FOX 5 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Gustafsson a solid -210 favorite (bet $210 to win $100) while Rua opened as a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170) according to the MMA odds. This is a bit of a crossroads fight for Rua, who struggled at times against Vera in his last bout before finally finishing him off. He believes he is still a top contender while his opponent Gustafsson also thinks the same thing and desperately needs a victory here on national TV to show the world he is for real. Gustafsson is still searching for that signature win since suffering his only career loss to Davis more than two years ago. He knows beating Shogun could put him within striking distance of a title shot depending on what happens between Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson and following the TUF 17 matchup between Chael Sonnen and champion Jon Jones for the championship. Glover Teixeira is the only other light heavyweight prospect that has been mentioned in the same breath as Gustafsson right now in terms of being eventual serious challengers for Jones’ belt, and a loss here would definitely derail those plans. The difference in age (six years) and reach (five inches) could play a big factor in determining the outcome of this fight because while the favored Gustafsson certainly appears hungrier, the underdog Rua clearly has more experience and hopes to use that to his advantage.

Written by MMA OddsBreaker

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