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UFC on Fox 4 live blog: Lyoto Machida out-performs Shogun Rua to earn title shot

Wild fight ends with Joe Lauzon choking out Jamie Varner in third round.

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COURTESY OF UFC

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, left, and Brandon Vera, right, weigh-in for UFC on FOX 4 as UFC President Dana White watches on.

Updated Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012 | 7:35 p.m.

Note: Full results from the preliminary card are available at the bottom of the page.

LOS ANGELES — Score Mauricio “Shogun” Rua a few points for honesty.

Unprompted after defeating Brandon Vera by fourth-round TKO in the main event of UFC on FOX 4, Rua graded his performance as subpar. He promised to improve in his next fight despite thrilling the Staples Center crowd and a nationally televised audience with a 19-minute slugfest.

Without stating anything explicitly, it was obvious that Rua realized he had just lost a light heavyweight title shot. He failed to impress as much as old rival Lyoto Machida, who knocked out Ryan Bader in the second round of the co-main event.

Sure enough, UFC President Dana White announced that Machida would face the winner of a UFC 151 title fight between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson.

“I think Lyoto Machida looked the most impressive right now,” White said on television immediately after the card. “He’s got a fire right now.”

Machida looked like he was in vintage form against a tough Bader, who had won two in a row. He toyed with the wrestler in the first round, keeping his distance and winning easily on the scorecards.

Machida began to frustrate Bader more in the second, backing away from his attacks and countering when appropriate. Machida finished with a right hand when Bader moved forward recklessly.

“I want to say ‘the Dragon’ is back,” Machida yelled after winning in the octagon.

Shogun knew all too well. As more than a 3-to-1 favorite, he was supposed to steamroll Vera. That never happened, as Vera had several moments of glory and arguably won the second round with multiple takedowns.

Rua had pulled ahead, however, by the time he rocked Vera with a combination that sent the challenger’s mouthpiece flying toward the fence. As Vera crumbled, Rua put the finishing touches on his victory.

“I didn’t give my best today,” Rua said, “but I promise I will give my best in the future.”

Joe Lauzon and Mike Swick also prevailed with victories against Jamie Varner and DaMarques Johnson, respectively. Lauzon and Varner put on one of the best fights of the year.

Varner was likely ahead on the scorecards before Lauzon locked in a triangle choke to make him tap in the final minutes of the third round.

Swick put Johnson out cold with a straight right.

Check below for full results from UFC on FOX 4 and come back to lasvegassun.com for full coverage later.

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Brandon Vera

Fourth Round Vera pushes forward as usual to start the round. Shogun counters a kick with a straight right. Vera lands a right of his own, followed by a knee to Shogun's chin. They're back against the cage with Shogun in the dominant position. "Vera" chants starting as the San Diego native hasn't done much for the past 30 seconds. Shogun is throwing knees and breaking out for jabs when he can. Vera pushes him off and they're back in the middle midway through the round. A Vera leg kick makes Shogun lose his balance. Shogun fires an uppercut, his best strike of the round. They're locked up again without much action to speak of. Shogun would like to get Vera to the ground, but instead he's forced to knee the thighs. Once they break out, Shogun wobbles Vera with a right hand. Vera goes down after a couple more punches and he's done. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua defeats Brandon Vera by TKO at 4:09 of the fourth round.

Third Round Vera rushes forward and hits Shogun with a right hand. They clinch up after a flying knee from Vera and Shogun is looking for the takedown. Shogun hits Vera with a right and he slips as he retreats away from the fence. Vera works a combination. Shogun counters with a right hand and pushes Vera into the fence. They clinch again and Shogun drops Vera with a knee. Shogun would like to take Vera's back, but there's no room. Shogun stands up and fires left hands, instead. There's a knee to the body. Vera hits back with a right and then a combination a little later. Vera counters Shogun's next advance. He also lands a head kick and another flying knee, but Shogun gets some points back by putting Vera on his back. He's in Vera's guard. They are in a stalemate for a while until Shogun pops one of his arms out of Vera's hold and lets loose some ground-and-pound. This round ends the opposite of the last one, with Shogun on top. He wins 10-9 to make it 29-28.

Second Round Shogun chops Vera down with a leg kick. When he gets back up, a melee ensues and Shogun is battering Vera. Vera is staggered with a right hand. He's trying to stay upright against the fence, but Shogun fires a knee followed by a right hand. Vera comes back to life with an elbow. Shogun backs to the middle now. Vera hits Shogun with a right. It's safe to say he's back from nearly getting knocked out. Now, Vera is mixing his punches with kicks to the body. Shogun looks tired, but keeps moving forward. He walks into a right hand and elbow from Vera. Shogun gets Vera in the clinch and unleashes two powerful knees. Shogun pulls Vera to the ground and stands over his back. Now they're both up and Vera is bleeding. But he hits Shogun with a kick. Shogun pushes forward with a right hand. Shgun wins an exchange and throws Vera into the cage. Vera locks up and fires knees from the clinch. The crowd is enlivened, as Vera trips Shogun to the mat. Vera throws ground-and-pound when he can, but Shogun has control of his arms. Vera finds some success as the round ends to take it 10-9 and even the score.

First Round No touch of gloves, as they are ready to get to it. Vera lands first with a couple of kicks to the body. He may have gotten too comfortable with that technique, however, as Shogun plants him on the ground with the next kick. Shogun is in Vera's half-guard and unsuccessfully trying to pass. After about a minute-and-a-half, Shogun gets what he wants. Vera tries to spin up, but Shogun takes control of his neck. He ground-and-pounds for a moment until they both work their way up. Vera throws two high kicks but Shogun blocks them with his forearms. Shogun is again looking for the takedown, which is an interesting game plan. Vera locks in a guillotine and goes to the ground. Shogun is fighting to stay alive and eventually pops his head out. He's in good position now. Big ground-and-pound strike from Shogun hurts Vera, who starts to cover up after a few more. Shogun transitions to take Vera's back. He wants the rear-naked choke, but Vera is doing what he can to defend against it. Shogun settles for punishing strikes to the sides of Vera's head. Shogun wins the first round 10-9.

Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader

Second Round Machida is keeping Bader at bay with leg kicks. Bader swings and misses around a minute in. He's just unable to find Machida thus far. The crowd is getting restless and booing when appropriately, Machida throws a right hand into a charging Bader, who goes down. Machida gets a few more strikes in before the referee intervenes. Lyoto Machida knocks out Ryan Bader at 1:32 of the second round.

First Round Machida is keeping his distance earlier. That's not good news for Bader, as the key against Machida is not giving the karate master room to operate. Machida kicks at Bader's knee and gets out of the way in quick fashion before the counter. Bader leg kicks. Bader rushes in and hits Machida flush on the jaw. Machida's not hurt, but he does have to retreat. "Machida" chants have started as Bader lands another strike by closing the gap. Machida slashes a leg kick across Bader's body. Machida looks for a knee, but it only grazes Bader as he moves forward. Bader connects as he runs in again and Machida's eyes open wide. Machida might have said something to Bader, but that would go against his reputation. Machida keeps at distance with short kicks to the body. He hurts Bader with a left hand. Bader fires a big overhand right, but Machida knees him in the face. Bader can't figure out Machida at the moment. He finally locks up with the Brazilian with around 45 seconds to go, but Machida gets out. Machida throws a high kick that Bader can avoid. Bader lands a jab. Machida answers as the round concludes. Machida was in control and takes a 10-9 score to start.

Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner

Third Round They embrace to raucous applause. This already seems a lock for Fight of the Night. Varner loses his mouthpiece and the fight is stopped momentarily. Lauzon jabs upon the restart. Varner tries to counter, but Lauzon has his rhythm down now. Varner shoos away a takedown attempt. Then, he gets a perfect double-leg of his own. Varner is looking to pass into side control. Lauzon powers to his feet, but Varner is getting the best of him there. A combination from Varner scores more points. They exchange in the middle and Varner is feeling good as Lauzon hardly encounters. Varner shoots for another double-leg takedown, but Lauzon tries for a guillotine. Varner's out, but now he's in a triangle. Varner can't take it anymore and taps. In one of the Fights of the Year, Joe Lauzon submits Jamie Varner at 2:44 of the third round.

Second Round Varner goes inside for a leg kick to open the action. Another hard leg kick buckles Lauzon's knee. Lauzon rushes forward for a combination, but Varner counters with a right hand. Varner chops Lauzon's legs out from under him when he throws another kick. With 3:30 to go, they are back exchanging in the middle of the octagon. Varner does his best Jon Jones impression, throwing elbows from the standing position. Lauzon blocks most of them. He eventually shoots for a single-leg takedown and converts, but Varner has a hold of his neck. He's looking for a guillotine until Lauzon transitions and takes his back. A rear-naked choke looks like it's in for Lauzon, but Varner twists out and gets to his feet. The crowd goes wild. Varner slugs Lauzon in the middle. Lauzon works his jab and lands a couple in a row. Varner pieces together a combination, continuing to look for shots to the body. But Lauzon gets loose and nails Varner with several strikes. He takes Varner down and feeds ground-and-pound. Varner wall-walks to his feet. This is a wild fight that the fans love. Lauzon gets Varner down again and takes his back. He's got hooks in and looks for a rear-naked choke. Varner punches Lauzon from behind. Lauzon transitions to mount and tries another choke. Varner survives, but this round was decisive for Lauzon. It's 19-19 heading to the third.

First Round Varner circles around the fence early before dropping a right into Lauzon's body. Varner swings hard and tags Lauzon with a couple more strikes. Lauzon is shut out for the opening 70 seconds, before a jab connects. But Varner backs Lauzon up with a kick. He circles around and throws a left that nearly drops Lauzon, who can't deal with Varner's power early. Lauzon moves forward and lands a right hand. He also throws a knee that counts as his best strike of the evening so far. About 30 seconds pass without either fighter engaging, but Varner comes out with a flying knee. It hits Lauzon, but not hard. Back in the middle now and Lauzon looks more comfortable. A right hook is answered with a kick across the stomach from Varner. Lauzon takes some punishment as Varner winds up and unloads a combination. Lauzon's turn as he pushes forward and works the body, much like Varner has done for most of the fight. Varner continues to hit harder. Lauzon may look to get this to the floor soon. A left hand from Varner hits Lauzon in the temple and he's down. Varner crashes after him. The former WEC champion is in Lauzon's guard. Lauzon sweeps and Varner looks for a choke as 10 seconds remain. Bell rings and Varner easily takes the round 10-9.

Mike Swick vs. DaMarques Johnson

Second Round Both fighters swing, but come up mostly empty, within the first 30 seconds. Johnson stalks Swick and lands a right hand. Swick is breathing heavy and so is Johnson. But he takes a deep breath and charges forward with a right hand. Johnson collapses to the ground and Swick is quick behind. A couple of more ground-and-pound strikes were probably unnecessary because Johnson is unconscious. Mike Swick defeats DaMarques Johnson by knockout at 1:20 of the second round.

First Round They exchange near the middle of the octagon to get the main card under way. Swick catches Johnson with a left and he's stumbling. Johnson manages to lock up with Swick to avoid further damage. They're out now and he looks recovered. Swick gets Johnson in a Muay Thai clinch and launches a knee into his chin. Johnson answers with a combination, however, and jumps on top of Swick, who loses his balance and goes to the ground. Johnson is in top position with Swick's back to the cage until they work their way up. A wild striking exchange ensues, but Swick is hurting Johnson more. They clinch up again and Johnson trips Swick to the ground. He transitions to full mount and gives Swick some rough ground-and-pound. Johnson is now looking to take his back. Swick takes a combination of elbows and punches before Johnson tries to lock in a choke. Swick gets out easily the first time around, but he's still in a bad position under Johnson. The Utah native now tries a d'arce choke that isn't there. Swick moves Johnson into his guard. Crowd loves the first round, but it's tough to score. Swick takes it 10-9 on this scorecard for rocking Johnson on the feet twice.

LOS ANGELES — The UFC first announced its television deal with Fox nearly a year ago.

Since then, the Las Vegas-based promotion has staged three nationally televised events. The fourth comes tonight at the Staples Center.

The UFC and Fox tinkered with the format through the first three cards, offering a varying number of fights with different levels of significance.

The duo appears to have settled on a standard at UFC on Fox 4. For the second Fox card in a row, four fights will air live in primetime.

Each of the bouts shares similar stakes. They are all on par with matchups on UFC pay-per-views, but not quite meaningful enough to headline those events.

The hope is that the fighters on top of the Fox card use it as a precursor to a bigger bout on pay-per-view. That’s the case tonight as either the winner of the main event or co-main event will fight for the light heavyweight championship in the near future.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is probably the favorite to receive the honor, as he’s in the main event against Brandon Vera. Rua lost his championship belt a year-and-a-half ago in a beatdown against Jon Jones and has longed for another opportunity ever since.

But it’s going to be hard to deny the winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader in the co-main event. Many have wondered why it’s not the main event, as the second-highest billed fight on the card looks more intriguing than the one on top.

Machida looks to get back in the right direction after Jones submitted him with a standing guillotine in the second round at UFC 140 last December. If Bader is successful in upsetting Machida, it will mark the former Arizona State wrestler’s third straight victory.

The two fights opening the main card carry no immediate title significance, but they could provide a bundle of fun. Lightweights Jamie Varner and Joe Lauzon are known for finishing their opponents, so a quick stoppage could be on tap.

The same is true for welterweights Mike Swick and DaMarques Johnson. Every one of Johnson’s fights in the octagon has ended before reaching the judges’ scorecards. Six of Swick’s nine wins have also featured finishes.

Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for live round-by-round coverage of the live blog and read below for full results from the preliminary card.

Nam Phan defeated Cole Miller by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a featherweight bout to cap the preliminary card. Both fighters landed a handful of strikes in every round, but Phan's shots had more power behind them.

The referee declared a light heavyweight bout between Phil Davis and Wagner Prado a no contest after Davis inadvertently poked Prado in the eye. A doctor ruled the newcomer unable to continue despite significant protest from Prado.

Featherweight submission expert Rani Yahya continued to show off his grappling prowess after a year away from the octagon. Yahya choked out Josh Grispi at 3:15 of the first round with a North-South choke, a submission not often utilized in the UFC.

Phil De Fries submitted Oli Thompson with a rear-naked choke at 4:16 of the second round in a bout between British heavyweights. De Fries also dropped Thompson with a right hand earlier in the round.

Manny Gamburyan won a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over Michihiro Omigawa in a featherweight bout. The two put on a Fight of the Night candidate, as Omigawa came close to knocking out and submitting Gamburyan in the first and third rounds, respectively, but struggled other than those moments.

Newcomer John Moraga said he wanted to set the tone for the rest of the night in the opening bout at Staples Center. Moraga proved successful, as he knocked out Las Vegas fighter Ulysses Gomez 3:46 into their flyweight bout with a combination that started with an elbow.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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  1. Those were some great fights tonight, the free broadcast was very much appreciated! Looking forward to Machida vs. Jones (presumably)