UFC Fight Night: 164 | Squared Up: Shogun vs Craig Predictions & Analysis

Jason Paglia

Thursday, November 14, 2019 4:37 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 4:37 PM UTC

This weekend the UFC travels to Sao Paulo Brazil for UFC Fight Night 164. The co-main event marks the return of a Brazilian mixed martial arts legend in the 37 year old Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua.
<div><p>It’s been almost a year since Shogun Rua last fought in the UFC. It was at UFC Fight Night 146 when Shogun fought Tyson Pedro and won via TKO that we last saw the Brazilian. Now, Saturday stands a new challenge for the aged legend when he squares up against Paul Craig in the coheadliner. Paul Craig is not the type of fighter that you would think can coheadline a card. He has lost 4 of his last 7 fights and has a lot to prove. Can he get the job done this weekend? Will Rua’s return to the cage be a victorious one? You know the drill, let’s get after it!</p><h2 style="text-align:center">MAURICIO RUA (26-11) VS PAUL CRAIG (12-4)</h2><div style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/paul-craig-vs-mauricio-rua-3983409/?mtid=126" target="_blank" title="Fight Odds"><strong>Saturday 16<sup>th</sup>, Nov 2019</strong></a></div><p> </p><h2 style="text-align:center">Mauricio Rua</h2><div style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dcd88b7acc6586810e8e385/original-mauricio-rua" style="width:90%" /></div><p> </p><div>Born from Portuguese and Italian parents, Mauricio Shogun Rua was born in Curitiba, Brazil. He grew up in a normal family. He has an older and younger brother who are both in the fight game. Rua began fighting in mixed martial arts on the Brazilian regional scene. He entered into the International Fighting Championship’s Global Domination Tournament. He ended up being eliminated in the 2nd round.</div><p>Following the tournament, he relocated in Japan and joined the MMA organization PRIDE. It was the biggest MMA promotion in the world outside the United States. He ended up competing for PRIDE Bushido which was PRIDE’s organization for fighters that competed at lesser weight classes. In the 3 fights he fought for the lower ranked organization he went 3-0. At that point he was approved to fight in the main promotion, PRIDE. He won his first fight in pride in the first round by stoppage. In 2005 he entered the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix tournament. He was an underdog in the tournament and ran the table, winning the tournament championship. By the time his PRIDE career was over he was ranked the #1 Light Heavyweight fighter in the world according to multiple outlets.</p><p>After PRIDE he signed with the UFC. In his first fight in the UFC he fought Forest Griffin. He lost his debut via rear naked choke. Since his first fight he has amassed a UFC record of (10-9). He fights Saturday for the first time in a 11 months. Will he have lost a step? Is he in the best shape of his career? All questions that will be answered on Saturday. Below is a look at Shogun, by the numbers.</p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― STATS ―</strong></u></p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dcd8929acc6586810e8e387/original-mauricio-rua-stats" style="width:100%" /></p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― PROS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Power</strong> (Rua is all but done as an MMA fighter, but striking power is notoriously the last attribute to fail an ageing fighter.)</p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (Has Shogun’s speed slowed down as he has gotten up there in age? YES. All that said nhe is still a very technical striker. Technique never leaves you, no matter how old you are, but the speed at which it occurs is gone.)</p><p>•<strong> Fight IQ</strong> (He has seen everything you can see in the cage. Theoretically it should help him be more aware of what is coming, UNLESS his brain is scrambled and he has CTE and doesn’t know the name of family members. Then his fight IQ doesn’t mean d**k.)</p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― CONS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Chin</strong> (It’s still on his head, that’s about the only good thing I can say about it.)</p><p>•<strong>Stamina</strong> (He is still breathing, at least he has that going for him.)</p><p> </p><h2 style="text-align:center">Paul Craig</h2><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dcd88d4acc6586810e8e386/original-paul-craig" style="width:90%" /></p><p>Born in Airdrie, Scotland, Paul Craig was 8-0 as an amateur MMA fighter before turning pro in 2013. Aside from MMA fights, Paul Craig is a solid grappler. He has entered and won some big European grappling tournaments in the last decade. Winning the 2013 Scottish BJJ Nationals, the Scotia Cup Winter Leg and the 2015 British Pro BJJ Championships.</p><p>As a professional he amassed an 8-0 record for various MMA Promotions before finally getting the call from the UFC. He made his UFC debut against Luis Henrique da Silva where he won via submission for which he was awarded a bonus for performance of the night. Since entering the UFC, Paul Craig has a (4-4) record. Saturday he tries to pull his record over the .500 mark and try to gain some type of momentum in a crowded division. Can he get it done against a UFC legend? Below is a look at Paul Craig, by the numbers.</p><p><u><strong>― STATS ―</strong></u></p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dcd8972acc6586810e8e388/original-paul-craig-stats" style="width:90%" /></p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― PROS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Submission Grappling</strong> (The only true skill that Paul Craig has in the cage is his BJJ game. Aside from that not a ton he does well.)</p><p>• <strong>Magic</strong> (Craig has pulled out more complete bulls**t totally miraculous wins then most fighters I have seen in the UFC.)</p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― CONS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Striking Defense </strong>(Craig’s striking defense is pretty poor. His opponents find his chin more often than not.)</p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (It’s pretty god awful. If he ends up initiating strikes, he ends up finding himself in the clinch. Once that happens he either tries to take his opponents down or he pulls guard. He is a fighter that isn’t a fan of striking….yup, I just said that.)</p><p>• <strong>Wrestling</strong> (Usually a really solid submission grappler is a good wrestler. That is not the case for Paul Craig. If he happens to fall on top of you, he barely has the requisite top control to maintain positions but outside of that, his wrestling is subpar. Both offensively or defensively.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--QzrUoU1e--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/17wwvcry020hhjpg.jpg" style="width:90%" /></p><h2>THE VERDICT</h2><p>I am just not a believer in Paul Craig as a fighter. I think it’s literally amazing that he won 4 fights in the UFC. Is he a good grappler? YES. The problem is, there has been some truly remarkable shit that’s had to happen in order for him to win in the cage. Eventually the exception to the rule stops happening. Eventually, it’s just the rule.</p><p>I look at Mauricio Shogun Rua and I think…. Power is the last thing to go, and he is still a more technical striker in his sleep than Paul Craig will ever be. It’s the reason why a 37 year old fighter that hasn’t fought in a year is -300. Vegas knows it and the<a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/" target="_blank" title="Fighting Odds"> betting market </a>knows it. I think there is a better chance that Shogun catches Craig inside 15 minutes, than Craig pulls off some type of last second submission. I am not going to lay the 3 dollars on Rua to win, he is too old and may very well show his age on Saturday, but I will take a chance that he starch’s Craig by TKO at (1.86). Book It! Good Luck this weekend and enjoy the fights.</p><h2>THE LEAN</h2><p>Mauricio Rua by TKO at 20/23 (1.86) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Well rated bookmaker">BET365</a></p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=162&amp;a=ec641d03-1e6d-4096-9f5f-d2a6939022d0&amp;f=3"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0005/1349915/Biggest-Ever-Bet-Boost-1280x480-English-UK.jpg" style="width:100%" /></a></p></div>
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