UFC 255: Paul Craig vs. Mauricio Rua Picks, Odds, and Predictions

UFC 255: Paul Craig vs. Mauricio Rua Picks, Odds, and Predictions Photo by Jason Da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Mauricio Rua vs. Paul Craig

Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 10:00 PM (UFC APEX)

The Line: Paul Craig -170 / Mauricio Rua +145 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds

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Mauricio Rua and Paul Craig fight Saturday in UFC 255 at the UFC APEX.

Mauricio Rua enters this fight with a 27-11-1 record and has won 78 percent of his fights by knockout. Rua has won five of his last seven fights and is coming off a July win over Antônio Rogério Nogueira. Rua is averaging 3.63 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Rua is averaging 2.17 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. Roa is coming off a decision win at UFC Fight Island 3 where he landed 78 total strikes, 52 percent of his significant strikes and produced two takedowns. Rua is now 5-1-1 since UFC 190 and four of those fights have gone the distance. Rua is an aggressive fighter who has very heavy hands, uses his legs well and has seen 21 of his 27 victories end in knockouts. Rua is a black belt in Muay Thai and BJJ, and he’s now training in boxing and wrestling. Rua obviously does his best work standing up, but he’s also a solid takedown artist as well and can work his way back to his feet. Rua has a successful ground and pound, and he has a high gas tank to be effective with seven of his last nine bouts seeing the third round. This will be Rua’s third career fight in Las Vegas.

Paul Craig enters this fight with a 13-4-1 record and has won 92 percent of his fights by submission. Craig has split his last 10 fights and is coming off a July win over Gadzhimurad Antigulov. Craig is averaging 2.30 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. Craig is averaging 1.61 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 21 percent. Craig is coming off a first round submission win at UFC Fight Island 3 that earned performance of the night honors. Craig has seen bonuses in four of his last seven fights and each of his last nine wins have come by submission. There’s no surprises with Craig, as he’s a brown belt in BJJ and wants a fight on the ground and has produced submissions in 12 of his 13 victories, six of which have been decided via triangle choke. Craig has just enough accurate striking to set up his takedowns and usually keeps the fight on the canvas once he gets it there. Craig has very good guard, is comfortable fighting from his back and has seen just one career decision. Thirteen of Craig’s 18 total fights have ended in submissions. This will be Craig’s second career fight in Las Vegas.

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This should be a fun rematch between two fighters who saw a split decision draw at UFC Fight Night 164. The numbers say Craig should have won that bout given he landed more than double the total strikes and was far and away more accurate with his significant strikes. Rua is a tough guy to finish and even at his age, he’s a more than capable fighter. However, Craig has the edge if this fight ends up on the ground again. With all that said, I’m leaning toward this being a quicker fight, as Craig never sees bouts go to the judges and Rua still has some pop in his hands that can’t go overlooked. These guys have a better understanding of each other and the shots should be there.

Give me the under on 2.5 rounds.

See Who The Experts Picked To Win This One

Randy’s Pick Under 2.5 Rounds

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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