The UFC’s return to Brazil after a decade-plus gap between visits has taken another step towards becoming one of the more memorable cards in recent history, as it appears Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-5) will face Forrest Griffin (18-6) at the August event in a rematch of a 2007 pairing where Griffin eventually emerged victorious by way of a Rear-Naked Choke in the waning seconds of the bout.
News of the match-up was reported by MMAFighting where UFC President Dana White confirmed the likelihood of the two former 205-pound champions meeting in late summer.
The original fight at UFC 76 marked Rua’s debut in the Octagon and a performance he would undoubtedly like to redeem himself for after lacking the speed, power, and overall fitness he’d been known for in the past. Shortly after the bout it was revealed Rua had suffered a knee injury while training and sacrificed part of his full regiment as a result.
The PRIDE icon will be looking to bounce back from the soundest defeat of his career when he fights in front of his countrymen in Rio de Janeiro, a two-and-a-half round drumming from current divisional champ Jon Jones.
Meanwhile, Griffin rode the momentum of his win over Rua into a shot against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson where he ultimately walked away with the UFC’s light heavyweight title but has only gone 2-2 since including TKO losses to Anderson Silva and Rashad Evans. However, he has emerged with his hands raised in his last two fights with decision wins over Tito Ortiz and most recently Rich Franklin.
UFC Rio is set for August 27 at the HSBC Arena and is expected to feature a number of notable Brazilians in action. Already announced for the show is a headlining title with 185-pound champion Anderson Silva defending his title against top contender Yushin Okami.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC