UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones

It's all about this
It's all about this

No matter where a fight starts, it will always ends up on the ground. This especially holds true in UFC, where the best strategy is to knock your opponent down and then either beat the crap out of him or make him submit. After all, there are few times you will have enough force behind your strikes to knock someone out after you have been slugging away for several minutes.

Unfortunately for Shogun Rua, Jon Jones will force him to play a mat game when they headline UFC 128 on March 19 in Newark, New Jersey.  Although Shogun has established his storied career as one of the most solid strikers in the business, Jon Jones is different from anyone he’s ever faced before.

Standing at 6’4’’ and weighing 205 pounds, Jones has been declared by UFC president Dana White as one of the top five light heavyweight fighters in the world. He also has the longest reach in the world at 84.5 inches.

Yet Jones does not focus on striking despite his long reach. He trains in wrestling, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and specializes in takedowns.

Mauricio Rua aka Shogun Rua is considered to be one of the best light heavyweight fighters of all time. Hailing from Brazil, he is the current reigning Light Heavyweight Champion. He won the belt by defeating Lyoto Machida, who was initially undefeated until his match with Rua.

Rua is one of the best strikers in the world. Statistics from his fights show him landing over half of all attempted strikes. It is for this reason that Rua should not get cocky when fighting Jones. Yes, Rua does have speed and he does have power, but Jones has the reach.

When it comes to defense, however, Jones does have the edge against Shogun. Perhaps Shogun’s longer list of statistics does not allow the math to paint accurate numbers, but his defense in all his matches puts his striking defense around 58%, meaning he has been able to avoid 58% of strikes thrown at him throughout his career. His take down defense stands at 14%.

Jones on the other hand has a striking defense of 66% and a takedown defense of 100%. Take note that the numbers are calculated by actions actually taken during all their professional fights. This means that Jones has never been taken down before.

Jones has also never lost a fight because someone outfought him. His current record is 12 wins and 1 loss. The single loss was a result of disqualification because he landed a number of illegal elbow strikes to his opponent, Matt Hamill. Otherwise, Jones won a majority of his matches by punches and elbows. Only two of his wins were a result of a submission hold.

Rua has a very solid record of 19 wins and 4 losses. He first made his UFC debut against Forrest Griffin and lost via rear-naked choke. However, the 16 to 2 before UFC, raking in most of his wins in PRIDE. But since then, every fight he won in UFC also won him a “[Fight] [Knockout]…of the Night” award