UFC 283 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Mauricio Rua vs. Ihor Potieria: How to Bet Shogun’s Retirement Fight (Saturday, January 21)
Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC light heavyweight Mauricio Rua of Brazil
- Shogun Rua fights for the final time with a retirement bout at UFC 283 on Saturday.
- The MMA legend is an underdog to fellow light heavyweight Ihor Potieria.
- Below, Billy Ward breaks down the featured prelim and offers betting angles for both competitors.
Shogun Rua vs. Ihor Potieria Odds
|Over/Under||1.5 (-120 / -110)|
|Venue||Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro|
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Channel||ABC and ESPN|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings
On Saturday at UFC 283, the legendary Mauricio “Shogun” Rua makes one final walk to the UFC octagon. It’s a fitting end to his extensive career, with the UFC back in Brazil (with fans) for the first time in more than three years.
Across from him is Ihor Potieria, a Contender Series veteran who dropped his UFC debut back in July 2020.
By all accounts, this seems like a rare instance of the UFC trying to do right by one of the sport’s pioneers and send him out with a win.
Whether or not it works out that way is the question.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||9:11||6:07|
|Weight (pounds)||205 lbs.||205 lbs.|
|Date of birth||11/25/1981||5/29/1996|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.57||4.58|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.77||5.89|
|Take Down Avg||2.03||0.00|
Analyzing Rua at this point in his career is a difficult task. He’s been a professional fighter for more than 20 years, with his best days spent under drastically different rule sets in vale tudo matches and under Pride Rules.
Which isn’t to say he didn’t have his success under the UFC banner. He was briefly the light heavyweight champion and the last man to hold the belt before the Jon Jones era.
Since then, though, he’s been inconsistent, with an 8-8-1 record against increasingly softer competition. Since 2018, his only win in the UFC was a split decision over fellow legend Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who was 44 and also retiring following that fight. His last win before that was a TKO caused by a knee injury to his opponent.
At his peak, Shogun was a fighter who relied on extraordinary speed and explosiveness to get the job done. That’s not a skill set that ages – or if we’re being honest, drug tests – particularly well.
As for Potieria, he’s likely one of the softest matchups in the UFC light heavyweight division. His record was built on steamrolling lower-level competition in Europe, before knocking out previously undefeated Lukasz Sudolski on the Contender Series.
He had a solid minute or two in his UFC debut before being taken down by Nicolae Negumereanu. It was all Negumereanu on the ground, and Potieria wasn’t the same fighter when he got back to his feet. While he was finished by a standing TKO, it was the ground control that emptied his gas tank and led to the finish.
Still, he’s aggressive, fast and explosive. He has crisp striking, and he should be able to land on the slower Rua. Rua was never a defensive wizard, instead relying on his iron chin to carry him, and it’s only gotten worse as he’s slowed down.
If there’s a path to victory for Shogun here, it might just be through grappling. That’s a challenging path to walk, though, as Shogun’s diminished athleticism makes takedowns far more difficult, and he wasn’t a wrestler even at his peak.
Rua vs. Potieria Pick
If there’s a hard and fast rule in MMA betting, it’s to not bet on retiring fighters. This is not a sport that usually produces happy endings, nor should we expect one here. While Potieria would have no shot against prime Shogun, he’s fighting the greatly diminished 2023 version on Saturday.
The betting line has been drifting Ihor’s way all week, with -190s available early on. However, now the best line is DraftKings’ -205, and that is unlikely to be there come Saturday.
I absolutely loved Potieria’s moneyline until about -200 or so. While the -210 range isn’t terrible, at this point I’d be looking to pivot. Given his major cardio and grappling concerns – and Brazilian judging – it’s hard to see Potieria winning a decision. At -125 inside the distance, that’s a solid way to get a better line on Potieria, the favorite. Round 1 and knockout props are both plus-money, as well, if you want to get even more specific.
If you’re feeling nostalgic – or simply want a bit of a hedge – Rua is +450 to win on the judges’ scorecard. Rua’s chin has held up reasonably well, all things considered. He’s had his fair share of TKO losses, but none of the brutal one-shot knockouts we tend to see with aging fighters.
If he survives the initial onslaught from Potieria, Shogun has a reasonable shot of taking the decision. That also makes him intriguing as a live bet, especially if the lines get way out of hand following Round 1.
The Picks: Potieria wins inside the distance (-125 at DraftKings) | Rua wins by decision (+450 at DraftKings)