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Even as he nears the end of his illustrious career, Mauricio Rua remains a draw and one of the most prominent names in mixed martial arts.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder and 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner will be at the center of the MMA universe during the weekend of July 20-22, as he locks horns with Anthony Smith in the UFC Fight Night 134 main event on Sunday at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany. UFC Fight Night “Shogun vs. Smith” airs live on Fox Sports 1 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT, with UFC Fight Pass (10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT) carrying a portion of the undercard.
Rua, 36, has not fought since he took out Gian Villante with punches in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 106 pairing on March 11, 2017. The oft-injured Brazilian has struggled to stay active in recent years but nevertheless owns one of the sport’s most accomplished resumes, with wins over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (twice), Alistair Overeem, Ricardo Arona and six former UFC champions: Quinton Jackson, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida and Forrest Griffin.
The 29-year-old Smith has won 12 of his last 14 fights. He last appeared at UFC 225 on June 9, when he knocked out Rashad Evans with a knee strike just 53 seconds into their confrontation at the United Center in Chicago. Smith has delivered 26 of his 29 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Other UFC Fight Night 134 bouts to monitor: Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson, Marcin Tybura vs. Stefan Struve and Justin Ledet vs. Aleksandar Rakic.
Beyond the UFC, the regional MMA scene has plenty to offer. Invicta Fighting Championships 30 will feature a showdown for the vacant atomweight title, as Jinh Yu Frey collides with Minna Grusander on Saturday at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri. Invicta 30 will air live on UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Meanwhile, the fate of the vacant Cage Warriors Fighting Championship welterweight crown will hang in the balance when Mehrdad Janzemini toes the line against Stefano Paterno in the Cage Warriors 95 headliner on Saturday in London. UFC Fight Pass will carry the event live at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.
Elsewhere, former Jungle Fight champion Erick Silva will make his Legacy Fighting Alliance debut opposite Nick Barnes in the LFA 45 main event on Friday at the Morongo Casino Outdoor Pavilion in Cabazon, California. LFA 45 “Silva vs. Barnes” will air live on AXS-TV at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Silva, 34, has not fought outside the UFC in nearly eight years.
Looking ahead, Season 2 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series will move along with its sixth card of the summer on July 24. The five-fight event streams to UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features a lightweight clash between congenital amputee Nick Newell and Alex Munoz. All 10 competitors on the card will be vying for a UFC contract.