Former UFC light heavyweight champion and Pride legend Shogun Rua is set to return to the land of the rising sun this September. According to the UFC’s Spanish language website, Rua will face Ovince St. Preux for the second time as part of the Tokyo event (technically held in Saitama at the Saitama Super Arena).
Since losing to St. Preux for the first time in November 2014, Rua (25–10) has actually gone on the best run of his UFC career, winning three straight against Little Nog, Corey Anderson, and most recently, Gian Villante, who he TKO’d at UFC Fight Night 106 in March. The Brazilian legend made his name in Japan as part of Pride, but has not fought in the country since 2006. Stunningly, he has just one loss in the country.
Since defeating Mauricio Rua by TKO in 2014, St. Preux’s career trajectory has gone a curious path. He’s 3-4 since that night, amassing the bulk of his six professional losses in that stretch. While he did earn himself a chance for interim gold against Jon Jones, his defeat in that fight (which was closer than many expected) was followed by a two-fight skid against Jimi Manuwa and Volkan Oezdemir. Overall, St. Preux (17–6) has failed to live up to expectations, but got things back on track in April when he defeated Marcos Rogério de Lima by Von Flue Choke at UFC Fight Night 108.
Will Shogun continue on the comeback trail? Will St. Preux be able to use the Pride legend to once again boost his career?
UFC Fight Night Japan, expected to be UFC Fight Night 117, takes place September 23 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. No headliner has been announced for the event.