UFC on Fox 5: Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson

UFC on Fox 5, dare I say, is the most stacked free-to-view card in UFC history.  It reads like a pay-per-view event.  There are three big time fights but one of those big time fights is flying under the radar:  Shogun Rua versus Alexander Gustafsson.  This is a fight that could easily steal the show tomorrow.

While the most drama lies in the Lightweight Championship Match and the fight that is potentially BJ Penn’s last, the most entertaining fight of the evening may well be the bout between Rua and Gustafsson.

The reason that this fight is going to be so entertaining is because of Rua’s striking ability.  Let’s be honest, the best fights and the best moments

Rua versus Liddell from UFC 97.

in fights come when two fighters are standing toe to toe slugging it out.  That is how Rua simply fights.  He will stand up and try to take his opponent out. He has had striking contests with a list of who is who in the UFC like Chuck Liddell and Lyoto Machida.

On the other side of octagon is Gustafsson.  He is another fighter who likes to stand his ground.  He has a background in kickboxing and his highlight reel is filled with huge strikes and amazing knockouts.  In fact, Gustafsson has built his career on knocking people out and racing to connect with a finishing blow before his opponent does.  That is essentially his strategy.

One prediction that I feel comfortable making is that this fight is going to be a slugfest that is going to come down to who can land a finishing blow.

Not only is this fight going to be a toe-toe, knockout fight, this is also going to be fight where both competitors have a lot to gain and/or lose from this winning this fight.

Rua is out to prove he is not an old man and that he can still compete with the best of them.  Rua is a guy who is known for  fights against Dan Henderson and other guys who are now retired.  Nearly all of Rua’s contemporaries are now gone, being replaced by a crop of young guys.  Rua needs to win to show he can still be a serious competitor in the light-heavy weight division.  He has to prove he is not old, slow or out of shape and is still a legit threat.

While Rua is focused on proving he is still a contender, Gustafsson will move a step closer to a title shot with a high profile win against the legendary Shogun.  A lot is riding on this fight for Gustafsson.

Gustafsson is the current favorite and the money line on him is at -230.  Rua’s, due to his age I would imagine, money line is at +180.

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