UFC 128 Shogun vs. Jones was originally supposed to the UFC's second event held in Abu Dhabi. Unable to find a suitable venue, the UFC moved the event to Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Jon 'Bones' Jones, the 23 year old phenom from Rochester, is looking to become the youngest champion in UFC history by defeating a legend, Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua.
Mirko Filipovic v. Brendan Shaub
This fight is a interesting as it marks a changing of the guards, of sorts. Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic is a mixed martial arts legend who has fought and defeated the likes of Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva and Kazushi Sakuraba. However, in his latest fight he will play underdog against Ultimate Fighter season 10 runner-up Brendan Shaub. Shaub has been on fire lately by winning his last three fights, two of which he finished within the first round. Cro Cop, on the other hand, has looked quite mediocre going 2-2 in his last four UFC bouts. As dangerous of a striker as Mirko was in his prime he is a shell of his former self and I don't believe he will be able to stand and bang with the young Brendan Shaub. The longer this fight goes, the more I believe Shaub will began to dominate as Mirko will begin to fatigue and Shaub will gain confidence. I expect Brendan Shaub to push the pace of this fight and secure a unanimous decision victory.
Nate Marquardt v. Dan Miller
Dan Miller was on the cusp of being released by the UFC after losing 3 straight fights. Luckly, he took advantage of his oppurtunity to stay with the organization by winning his next two bouts. Unfortunately for Dan Miller, Nate Marquardt is going to put him back into the losing column. Nate Marquardt is the type of fighter who will beat everyone in the division with the exception of the very top-tier competitors. Nate has better wrestling and striking than Dan so this is his fight to lose. I expect Nate to come out a little slow before picking it up and dominating Miller to a unanimous decision victory.
Kamal Shalorous v. Jim Miller
Kamal Shalorous is one of the top LW fighters that came over as part of the UFC/WEC merger. He is unbeaten in nine professional fights with wins over Dave Jansen, Will Kerr and Jamie Varner. As impressive as he has been, Jim Miller is a massive jump up in competition for Kamal. Jim is on a 6 fight win streak with wins over Mac Danzig, Charles Oliviera and Mark Bocek. Miller is a college wrestler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and will dominate this fight, softening Kamal up with some ground and pound before submitting him.
Urijah Faber v. Eddie Wineland
Like Kamal, Urijah Faber and Eddie Wineland are a couple of top tier fighters who joined the UFC in the merger. Urijah looked very impressive in his BW debut when he submitted Takeya Mazugaki in the first round. He will need to be equally impressive in his fight with Eddie Wineland if he wants to come out with the win. Wineland, a former WEC BW champion is coming off consecutive knockout of the night honours and is hoping to work his way back into title contention. I believe Urijah Faber is on a different level than Eddie and this will be very apparent in there fight. Eddie should last for a little bit but Faber will walk out with the submission victory.
And the MAIN EVENT of the EVENING
Jon 'Bones' Jones v. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua
It is very, very rare for a 23 year old contender to be a favorite against legend of a sport. This, however, will be the case when Jon Jones enters the octagon against Mauricio Rua. Jones dominated his previous opponents with an strong wrestling, unorthodox striking and a ridiculous 84.5 inch reach. With that in mind, Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua is significantly better than any opponent Jones has ever faced. Mauricio is going bring to this fight his deadly striking, which has claimed the likes of Alistair Overeem, Chuck Liddell, Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Rampage Jackson as it's casualities. Now, with a resume as impressive as Mauricio's, it seems absurd that he is being labeled the underdog in this contest. What needs to be acknowledged is that these victories occured, for the most part, in excess of 5 years ago. That's not to say that Rua hasn't looked impressive lately, but a couple knockout wins over Machida and a washed up Liddell isn't exactly winning the 2005 Pride Grand Prix. The only way I see Mauricio winning this bout is by dominating Jones on his feet. This I can't see happening. For one, Jon Jones has an incredible 12.5 inch reach advantage over Mauricio. Furthermore, Jon Jones does not fight in a style that would make it easy to be dominated standing. The moment Mauricio starts to get the better of Jones, I expect Bones to take the fight directly to the ground where he will use his superior wrestling and lanky limbs to out-grapple Rua. This is Jon Jones' fight to lose. If he fights the way he can and has been, and not with timidness and respect, than I expect him to win via submission.
Luiz Cane v. Eliot Marshall - Eliot Marshall via Dec.
Edson Barboza v. Anthony Njokuani - Edson Barboza via TKO
Ricardo Almeida v. Mike Pyle - Ricardo Almeida via Sub.
Kurt Pelligrino v. Gleison Tibau - Kurt Pelligrino via Dec.
Joseph Benavidez v. Ian Loveland - Benavidez via Sub.
Raphael Assuncao v. Erik Koch - Erik Koch via Dec.
Nick Catone v. Constintinos Philipou - Nick Catone via Dec.
Fight of the Night - Jon Jones vs Mauricio Rua
Knockout of the Night - Edson Barboza
Submission of the Night - Urijah Faber