The main card opener for UFC 255 sees an exciting light heavyweight rematch between Mauricio Rua and Paul Craig. The first bout between the two went to a draw and both fighters have been keen to run things back. The bout is strategically placed as the opener, given the fact that both fighters look for the finish.
Jan Blachowicz has picked up the reign as the 205-pound champion, and he’s most certainly a massive threat. Although neither ‘Shogun’ nor Craig is in immediate line for contention, they are undoubtedly divisional mainstays. Not to mention, ‘Shogun’ Rua is a former champion at light heavyweight and he’s always been a massive draw with a fan-friendly style.
UFC light heavyweights: Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua vs Paul Craig
Mauricio has had a career resurgence as of late, and he’s 4-1-1 in his last 6 outings. However, it’s important to note that his last 6 bouts span all the way back to August 2015. Shogun has turned back the clock with flashes of the brilliance fans came to know him for despite a light activity rate.
The 38-year-old has a lot of mileage on him after years of competition, but he’s still very competitive. ‘Shogun’s biggest asset is the fact that he’s still able to absorb shots from some of the heaviest hitters in the 205-pound division. Not to mention, his fundamentals in striking are as crisp as they have ever been, thus making him a threat late in the fight.
Paul Craig: Can grappling make the difference?
‘Bearjew’ Craig is coming off a clinical first-round submission win in his last outings against Gadzhimurad Antigulov. The 13-4-1 fighter has every submission in the books, and he’s consistently been able to showcase his skills. Mauricio Rua is no slouch on the ground, and he’s not the easiest man to takedown to add to things.
Paul Craig is well-sized for the division, and he’s found success by being able to use his physicality effectively. What’s more, he’s extremely dangerous once the fight hits the canvas and can turn the tide in his favor.
In the past, he’s shown several moments of mismanaged judgment late into a fight, thus leading him to become complacent. Nevertheless, he has the tools to win should he remain steady through the 15-minute bout duration.
Prediction: Paul Craig to claim a unanimous decision victory
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