Mixed Martial Arts fans long familiar with the Ultimate Fighting Championship will take special interest in this weekend’s Fight Night bout between Chael Sonnen and Mauricio Rua. The fight marks the debut of FOX’s new network, FOX Sports 1.
While Sonnen has the UFC odds in his favor, the seemingly equal pairing promises to be one of the more engaging matches in a while.
In Sonnen, fight fans have a skilled wrestler hungry to re-establish himself as one of the game’s elite light heavyweights. First set back more than a year ago against Anderson Silva in a middleweight title fight, and subsequently defeated by Jon Jones last April, Sonnen is thinking less along the lines of finally procuring a weight class belt and more of saving his reputation.
At 36 years old, he’s not exactly long for the octagon if he can’t start winning fights again.
Despite concerns surrounding the Oregon native, however, -140 UFC odds point in his favor for a reason. Over the course of his career, Sonnen’s name may not have reverberated with greatness, but it’s always been nearby. He’s fought for three titles, including one light heavyweight, which is three more than the vast majority who take up the bloody sport can boast.
This weekend, with no belt on the line, Sonnen will get the chance to show that, while perhaps no undisputed champion, he’s still one of the premier names in MMA.
In addition to the uncertainties that surround Sonnen, there’s a level of mystery around Rua that has some MMA fans giddy with anticipation leading up to the Saturday card.
Rua is no UFC juggernaut, but he is a former champion known for his aggressive, strike-heavy assaults. That always counts for something. Although he held the light heavyweight belt for less than a year, the fact that he even did is a testament to what he’s capable of.
He’s the +110 dog on the MMA moneyline prior to Saturday’s bout, and there’s no denying Rua’s intrigue, but only the fight will tell whether his erratic, Muay Thai-trained style can thwart Sonnen, the former NCAA takedown artist.
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