Japanese MMA fans will have the chance to witness in the flesh a hero of theirs, former PRIDE star Maurício ‘Shogun’ Rua, when the Brazilian rematches Ovince Saint Preux at the Saitama Super Arena on September 23.
The light-heavyweight fight forms part of UFC Fight Night 117 and offers Shogun the chance to avenge a devastating 34-second knockout loss he suffered at the hands of Saint Preux in November 2014.
That defeat was Shogun’s last and, arguably, his most shocking. Since then, however, he has won three fights on the bounce – beating Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Corey Anderson and Gian Villante – and, somehow, at the ripe old age of 35, seems to be enjoying something of an Indian summer. Ranked twelve in the world, Rua, should he clean up his loss to Saint Preux, could be looking at an unlikely run at the UFC light-heavyweight title, some seven years after knocking out Lyoto Machida to win it.
Saint Preux, meanwhile, has lost more than he has won since cold-cocking Shogun three years ago. In that time he has scored wins against Patrick Cummins, Rafael Cavalcante and, most recently, Marcos Rogério de Lima, but has also come up short against Glover Teixeira, Jon Jones, Jimi Manuwa and Volkan Oezdemir. He, therefore, needs a win on September 23 just as much as Rua does, albeit for different reasons.