While there’s plenty riding on this Saturday’s main event tilt between “Shogun” Rua and Chael Sonnen, a loss for Rua would be a significant setback. Although “Shogun” has already been fighting for a decade and has been involved in numerous battles, he is only 31 years-old. Despite his disappointing loss to Alexander Gustafsson last December, a healthy and motivated Rua could have another run left in him yet.
To that end, “Shogun” has spent some time training with renowned boxing coach Freddie Roach, as he heads into his UFC FN 26 bout with Sonnen. Roach appeared on the latest edition of “The MMA Hour” Monday, and provided this interesting look at how he’s improved “Shogun’s” boxing.
“It’s funny, when we first started working together [Rua] wasn’t punching really hard because he didn’t have his balance and his feet under him, and I told him he punched like a girl. The last day he said, ‘Freddie, can I ask you a question? Do I punch like a boy now?’ I said, ‘Yes, you do.’ He’s really fun guy to be around and a really hard worker. We had a really good time.”
“He didn’t have his feet under him. He wasn’t pivoting off the right foot at the right time,” Roach explained. “The thing about striking is having weight on the right foot at the right time, and driving off that foot. He was more or less just using his upper body, which is okay. But if you get your whole body behind your shot, it’s just much, much better.”
Considering Rua has demonstrated stopping power in the past (see his fights with Lyoto Machida and Chuck Liddell), it will be fascinating to see how his training with Roach plays out. It could be a scary development for his opponents.
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