UFC On Fox 4: Shogun vs. Vera -- Wrestling Observer Staff Picks & Preview



Compiled by Josh Nason

UFC on Fox 4: Vera vs. Shogun



Consider Saturday's UFC on Fox 4 event a Countdown show of sorts for ratings/top 205-pound contender talk for next week. (Seriously, you know what we're interested in around here, right?)

Our panel:

- Dave Meltzer (66-32): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Todd Martin (59-39): Weekly FFD guest & RAW recapper | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (56-42): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Mike Sawyer (62-36) of Tough Talk

- Oliver Copp (60-33) of Tough Talk

- Josh Nason (60-38):
FFD guest | FIGHT! Magazine | Bloody Elbow

B. Bryan Alvarez (17-12) is still missing.

*****

'Shogun' Rua (20-6) vs. Brandon Vera (12-5-0-1)

Yes, this is the main event of a Fox primetime event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Seriously. At 30 years old, Rua is coming off the tremendous five-round affair last November against Dan Henderson and has lost two of his last three. In his way stands the 34-year-old Vera, slotted in after a series of injuries apparently necessitated it. Before edging out Eliot Marshall in a bland decision win last October, Vera was 0-2-1.

Shogun: Nason, Martin, Sawyer, Copp, Sempervive, Meltzer

Lyoto Machida (17-3) vs. Ryan Bader (14-2)

After creating a great feel-good story in winning the UFC 205-pound gold, Machida has struggled with just one win in his last four fights. He was last seen slumped unconscious on the canvas after Jon Jones dispatched him in December. Five years his junior, Bader rebounded from losses to Jones and Tito Ortiz with victories over Jason Brilz and 'Rampage' Jackson.

Machida: Martin, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer
Bader:
Nason, Copp

Joe Lauzon (21-7) vs. Jamie Varner (20-6-1-2)


Lauzon looks to get back in the win column after a quick first round KO loss to Anthony Pettis earlier this year, snapping a two-fight win streak. He takes on injury replacement Varner, who got a return shot in the UFC due to, yes, injury. He took advantage, knocking out Edson Barboza in the first round. At just 27, he may still have more in the tank just yet.

Lauzon: Nason, Martin, Copp, Sempervive, Meltzer
Varner:
Sawyer

Mike Swick (14-4) vs. DaMarques Johnson (16-10)

After more than two years on the shelf due to injuries and serious stomach ailments, Swick returns to the Octagon. He had lost two in a row, but with such a long absence, does that mean anything? He fights the up-and-down Johnson who is 4-4 in his UFC career. He is coming off an April second round submission loss to John Maguire.

Swick: Nason, Sawyer, Copp, Meltzer
Johnson:
Martin, Sempervive

Bonus Pick: Phil Davis (9-1) vs. Wagner Prado (8-0)


This fight isn't on the main card, but I wanted to test our crew. Davis is coming off the first loss of his career to Rashad Evans, derailing his progress up the 205-pound ladder. An impressive win here could turn that around in a division that needs it. He faces the debuting and undefeated Prado, a Brazilian who has seven of his eight careers wins by T/KO.

Davis: Nason, Martin, Sawyer, Copp, Sempervive, Meltzer

As always, follow along with all the Fuel TV undercard action and main Fox action on WrestlingObserver.com with the one and only Dave Meltzer.

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