Kicking off the main card of UFC 255 tomorrow is a rematch in the light heavyweight division. Former light heavyweight champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (27-11-1), will be taking on Paul Craig (13-4-1). The fight is a rematch from last November.
The two men previously fought to a split draw last year. Since then the former UFC light heavyweight champion, Rua, fought back on Fight Island when he concluded his trilogy with Antonio Rogero Nogueira.
Rua won that fight by split decision. The former champion is now 2-0-1 in his last three fights, however, he hasn’t looked incredibly impressive in those performances. Shogun will head into tomorrow night as the 14th ranked light heavyweight in the UFC.
Craig on the other hand will come into the fight 15th. Paul Craig is known for one that and that is submitting his opponents. Out of his 13 professional wins, only one of them hasn’t been a submission. Craig has only gone the distance once in his professional career and that was against Shogun.
UFC 255 Prediction
This is such an interesting fight to think about. Both men are inside the top 15 of the UFC‘s light heavyweight division, however, both are in vastly different career positions. Shogun is clearly on his way out the door in his fighting career.
Meanwhile, Craig is looking to take another step forward to getting to fight top ten competition. I think that we are going to learn a lot about this fight in the opening round tomorrow night.
If the former UFC light heavyweight champion can establish his leg kicks early and maintain good striking distance, he’s got a great chance. Craig is the bigger man, but his striking isn’t anything to write home about.
While Shogun is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, Craig wants to get this fight to the mat. He should have a big advantage on the mat and we have seen Shogun submitted before. Shogun’s cardio concerned me in his last fight, but we’ve only seen Craig go the distance once.
I’m honestly not sure who will have the cardio advantage. When making a prediction, I think that Craig is going to be able to get this fight to the ground. I think his strength on the ground will prevail and he will get the win over the former UFC champion.
Prediction: Paul Craig by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) – Round 2