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Posted on August 26, 2011 by Jack Thurman

UFC 134 Betting Preview: Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua
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This could be the end of the line for one of the UFC’s most popular stars, the likable and charismatic Forrest Griffin. He’ll be facing a tough challenge in former light heavyweight champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua who’ll be looking to get back in line for a title shot in front of his countrymen in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At one point, ‘Shogun’ as on a short list of the best ‘pound for pound’ fighters in the world. After a very successful career in Japan, Rua came to the UFC with considerable fanfare and was expected to immediately challenge for the title at 205 pounds. Instead, he showed up out of shape and—as it turns out—nursing a lingering injury. He looked nothing like a top level fighter at UFC 76 where his opponent tonight—Forrest Griffin—outworked him throughout the fight before finishing him with a rear naked choke late.

That was something of a career turning point for both men. Griffin raised his status from that of a ‘cult hero’ to a serious contender and went on to defeat Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson for the light heavyweight title. Rua hit the comeback trail and vanquished a couple of past their prime UFC legends—Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman—by knockout. That earned him a title fight with then-champion Lyoto Machida—Rua lost by unanimous decision in a fight in which he was extremely competitive to the point that the prevailing public sentiment was that he had been ‘robbed’ by the judges.

He left no such questions in his next bout, overwhelming Machida via knockout. Unfortunately, his reign was short lived as he was bludgeoned in his first title defense by rising superstar and current champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.

Griffin is 2-2 in his last four fights—he lost the light heavyweight title to Rashad Evans in a very competitive bout followed by a highlight reel knockout loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva who was fighting at 205. He’s won his last two bouts, but both were by unimpressive decision over over the hill Rich Franklin and Tito Ortiz.

Griffin is as tough as they come and has the heart of a lion. There’s always a question about Rua’s dedication to training, but assuming he comes into the fight in proper shape it’s going to be a tough challenge for Griffin to overcome. Rua is simply a better skilled, more accomplished and younger fighter. We look for him to win by TKO or submission to avenge his earlier loss to Griffin.

Bet Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua -240 over Forrest Griffin

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