So i'm on one of my fave websites for MMA news, the good ole BleacherReport, thumbing through some really gorgeous articles. Amidst the persistent phone-ringing and quick IT solutions I quickly blurt out to confused callers, an article about Mauricio Rua's greatest KO's sneaks across my gaze. Interesting. Finishing the call, I eagerly click the link and share in the author's insight. Until a comment of the article muses that Jon Jones will be added to this list. As if.
Unless you've been living in cellophane wrapping within the MMA Community, you'd know that the sport's biggest promotion, the UFC, is having one helluva event in Newark in 2 weeks. The main event being one Mauricio Rua vs a Mr. Jon "Bones" Jones, who, after soundly defeating fellow rising star Ryan Bader this past February, enthusiastically and gratefully accepted a last-minute match with Light Heavyweight Champ, "Shogun" Rua. My hands are still ringing with pain from slapping the bar with excitement. Bring on the Advil.
Shogun makes for a terrifyingly efficient striker with excellent takedown defense and a thorough jiu-jitsu offense and defense, and has a superb pedigree in muay-thai. He's praised by most for his unorthodox method paired with an adapting strategy and merciless execution in bouts. 16 T/KOs out of 19 wins speak for themselves: Rua is indeed badass.
But Jonny Bones is the great negater of defense, and does it so profoundly, opponents forget their gameplan completely and by the 2nd round, seemingly are just trying to avoid the OuchMakers that are JBJ's fists, elbows, knees & feet. Even his glancing blows (i.e.: O'Brien being grazed by an elbow) are enough to rock opponents into an impending curtain call.
Coming from a family that probably grazes nightly on Purina livestock grain laced with Semtex, Jones and his brothers are natural, powerful athletes: actively red-shirting for Syracuse and the Baltimore Ravens, with Jon himself wrestling in ju-co in Iowa and in highschool. I was a late-comer to JBJ's style, first witnessing his manhandling of tough-as-bricks Stephen Bonnar. Who suplexes anyone these days in MMA? Who's had the raw strength, dexterity and skill to gleefully slam another human onto their shoulders from a standing position (aside from Street Fighter 2's Guile or Zangief)?
In short, experience aside, Rua's got his work cut out for him. Not only is he dealing with just over a year's worth of Ring Rust, he's also got to deal with the most viciously instinctual ground and pounder he's ever faced who outreaches him, has no cardio problems and is guaranteed to do something he's never seen before. The strength and speed of the judo-like Gaidojutsu is guaranteed to get Rua on his back, where the heavier JBJ will continue to do what he does best.
I don't think this will be a cakewalk for Jones, but I do believe Rua is outmatched. The only folks now that can topple Jones would be Anderson Silva or Phil Davis, or perhaps a slightly faster Frank Mir (if he was @ 205).