When light heavyweights Alexander Gustafsson and Mauricio Rua meet on December 8 at UFC on FOX 5 there will be much more on the line than a win bonus or chance to impress the world on network television. Rather, the 205-pound tilt will also determine a future contender to the divisional crown.
According to UFC President Dana White, the bout will serve as a title-eliminator, giving champion Jon Jones a preview of who his next defense should come against.
Rua had an opportunity to cement a title-shot in August at UFC on FOX 4 where he faced Brandon Vera. Though â€œShogunâ€ ultimately won the bout, it wasnâ€™t a completely convincing performance and resulted in his go at Gustafsson rather than a crack at Jones. The 30-year old Brazilian holds an overall record of 21-6 including eighteen strike-based stoppages and wins over notable names such as Machida, Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, and Forrest Griffin.
Comparably, Gustafsson is 14-1 and has come out with his hand raised in five consecutive clashes since his 2010 stumble to then-unbeaten Phil Davis. He was most recently seen earning a convincing Unanimous Decision win over Thiago Silva this past April.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC