Shogun Rua Now Facing Paul Craig in UFC Sao Paulo Co-Main Event

UFC Philadelphia Paul Craig
Paul Craig Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

With Smilin’ Sam Alvey nursing a broken hand, Shogun Rua has a new opponent for next month’s UFC Sao Paulo: Paul Craig.

The ‘Bearjew’ is going to Brazil. On Tuesday, UFC officials announced that Paul Craig would fill in for Sam Alvey at UFC Sao Paulo. Craig will step in against Shogun Rua, in the Fight Night card’s co-main event.

Shogun (26–11) is 4-1 across his last five fights in the UFC. Fighting for the first time since his December 2018 win over Tyson Pedro, Rua returns looking to make it two in a row, and creep towards an improbable but not impossible title shot in the light heavyweight division.

Incredibly, prior to losing to Anthony Smith last year, Rua had been on the best streak of his UFC tenue. In a division void of title contenders, with Jon Jones eyeing heavyweight, a couple of strong performances from the legendary Pride veteran could put him in the mix.

A loss, however, would be devastating to the 37-year old. And Paul Craig is as dangerous as they come. The Scottish fighter is coming off a win over Vinicius Moreira at UFC Mexico City last month. He’s 3-2 in his last five, with all three wins coming via submission.

UFC Sao Paulo (UFC Fight Night 164 / UFC on ESPN+ 22) takes place November 16, 2019 at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The card is topped by a light heavyweight scrap between Jacare Souza and Jan Blachowicz.