Many MMA insiders had picked Joey Villasenor to become the first EliteXC Middleweight Champion. Many MMA insiders were wrong. As part of the undercard of the Strikeforce/EliteXC co-promoted “Shamrock vs. Baroni” event, Murilo “Rua” Ninja TKO’d Villasenor for one of the biggest wins of his career.
Although he goes home a champion, Rua’s first bout in America wasn’t without its rough edges. As recently as one week prior to the event, Rua was announced to be off the card due to not meeting the medical requirements of the State of California.
In fact, just four days prior to the fight, Rua told MMAWeekly’s Ivan Canello, “Tomorrow morning I am going to another doctor to get my license, but unfortunately my fight [with Villasenor] was postponed and I will only fight in September.
“Whoever wins between Joey Villasenor and [Falaniko Vitale] will fight me in the next EliteXC.”
But the results of that doctor’s visit were fortuitous for Rua as two days before the event, his medicals were approved and he was back in the bout that would eventually leave him crowned a champion.
Following the victory, Rua stated, “It is my pleasure to fight in America. I love the American peoples, very much.”
In this Exclusive video interview In The Cage of MMAWeekly’s Premium Members’ section, Ninja spoke about the fight and winning his first championship and broke some minor, but exciting news about his brother Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
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