UFC 134 Rio: Take a Closer Look

August 27, 2011

UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami, also dubbed UFC Rio, marks the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s second trip to the South American country of Brazil. It’s been nearly 13 years since UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil, also known as UFC 17.5, which took place in Sao Paulo in 1998. The Backstreet Boys and *N Sync were popular the last time the UFC held an event in Brazil.

Brazilian born Anderson Silva will attempt to defend his middleweight title for the ninth time when he steps in the Octagon with Japanese standout Yushin Okami. Silva holds the longest winning streak in the UFC with 13 consecutive wins and the record for most consecutive title defenses with eight.

The two main event fighters have history. Okami holds a win over Silva by disqualification.

The two first met at Rumble on the Rock 8 in Honolulu, during the first round of their welterweight tournament back in 2006. Okami successfully put Silva on his back early in the bout. While Okami was on his knees inside Silva’s open guard, Silva delivered an illegal up kick that rendered Okami unconscious and unable to continue. It’s a loss Silva has wanted back ever since.

The co-main event consists of a light heavyweight rematch between the original The Ultimate Fighter winner and former titleholder Forrest Griffin and former Pride and UFC champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

The two met for the first time at UFC 76 in September of 2007. It was Rua’s UFC debut. He was widely regarded as the top light heavyweight in the world at the time. He didn’t look as sharp or as crisp as he did in his Pride days. Griffin outworked him and once fatigue set in for Rua, Griffin took over the fight. In the closing seconds of the bout, Griffin locked in a rear naked choke forcing Rua to tap out.

Rua is coming off a one-sided loss to Jon Jones at UFC 128 in March. Jones completely dismantled Rua in every aspect of the fight to obtain the light heavyweight crown. Griffin is riding a two-fight win streak with victories over Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin. He’ll be looking to extend the streak to three, putting himself back in the title picture, while Rua faces the possibility of losing back-to-back fights for the first time in his storied career.

Former UFC and Pride heavyweight titleholder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira takes on fast rising Brendan Schaub in other main card action.

Since losing to Roy Nelson in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter season 10, Schaub has strung together a four-fight win streak. Nogueira is coming off a knockout loss to champion Cain Velasquez. He hasn’t competed in 18 months due to multiple surgeries to correct knee and hip problems. Questions surround how Nogueira will look in this match-up. Outside of the fact that Shaub is younger, faster, taller, and has a reach advantage; will ring rust be a factor? Is Noogueira coming back too soon?

A win over Nogueira will boost Schaub’s standing in the heavyweight division. For Nogueira, he’s looking to bounce back from a loss, injuries, and corrective surgeries to show he’s still a viable commodity in the current heavyweight landscape.

Eight Brazilians competed on the Ultimate Brazil card in 1998. Fourteen Brazilian fighters will be showcased in the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro during UFC 134.

Six fighters will make their Octagon debut on Aug. 27: Stanislav Nedkov, Erick Silva, Johnny Eduardo, Yuri Alcantara, Luis Ramos, and Felipe Arantes.

Although the event is in Brazil and features several Brazilian fighters, a Bulgarian may have the biggest opportunity on the card. Stanislav Nedkov makes his debut against Luiz Cane on the main card. The undefeated light heavyweight is well rounded on paper. He’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but five of his 11 wins have come by way of knockout. A win over Cane would certainly put Nedkov on the radar in the 205-pound division.

The UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami main card will be available through pay-per-view. At least two preliminary match ups will air live on Spike TV, while the remaining bouts will be streamed live on the UFC’s official Facebook page. For New Yorkers, you can view the Spike TV prelims on a jumbotron outside of the Double Tree Hotel in Times Square.

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