Four men, all of whom have lost to reigning light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, were called to vie for the right to be considered the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s top contender at 205 pounds.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua tipped the scales at 205 pounds for his showdown with Brandon Vera (203.8) in the UFC on Fox 4 main event on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Co-headliners Lyoto Machida (201) and Ryan Bader (205) followed suit at Friday’s official weigh-in. The promotion’s plan involves having one of the four men challenge the winner of the Jones-Dan Henderson bout at UFC 151 for the light heavyweight crown.
Rua has not posted consecutive victories in more than three years. The 30-year-old Brazilian last competed at UFC 139 in November, when his memorable five-round encounter with Henderson resulted in a unanimous decision defeat at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. A devastating finisher, Rua has secured 17 of his 20 professional wins by knockout or technical knockout. His list of victims includes Alistair Overeem (twice), Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Ricardo Arona and Forrest Griffin. “Shogun” rose to global prominence in 2005, when he won the Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix by defeating Jackson, Overeem, Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira during a remarkable four-month tear.
Vera last appeared at UFC 137 in October, when he captured a unanimous decision over Eliot Marshall at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The 34-year-old Alliance MMA representative was at his peak in late 2006, when he throttled Frank Mir in just 69 seconds to remain undefeated as a heavyweight. However, back-to-back losses to former UFC champion Tim Sylvia and two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Fabricio Werdum slowed his ascent and forced a permanent move to 205 pounds. Results have been mixed since, and Vera has never reclaimed the momentum he once held.
UFC on Fox 4 -- which airs live on the Fox network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT -- will also feature a lightweight duel pairing “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 semifinalist Joe Lauzon (155.8) with former WEC champion Jamie Varner (156) and a welterweight tilt pitting returning American Kickboxing Academy standout Mike Swick (170) against “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 finalist DaMarques Johnson (171).
Three hours prior, Fuel TV will carry the six remaining preliminary bouts: Cole Miller (145) vs. Nam Phan (145), Phil Davis (205.5) vs. Wagner Prado (205), Josh Grispi (146) vs. Rani Yahya (145.5), Philip De Fries (235) vs. Oli Thompson (232), Manny Gamburyan (145.5) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (145.5) and Ulysses Gomez (125.5) vs. John Moraga (125.5).
UFC on Fox 4 “Shogun vs. Vera” Weigh-In Results:Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (205) vs. Brandon Vera (203.8)
Lyoto Machida (201) vs. Ryan Bader (205)
Joe Lauzon (155.8) vs. Jamie Varner (156)
Mike Swick (170) vs. DaMarques Johnson (171)
Cole Miller (145) vs. Nam Phan (145)
Phil Davis (205.5) vs. Wagner Prado (205)
Josh Grispi (146) vs. Rani Yahya (145.5)
Philip De Fries (235) vs. Oli Thompson (232)
Manny Gamburyan (145.5) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (145.5)
Ulysses Gomez (125.5) vs. John Moraga (125.5)