Lyoto Machida sits atop the light heavyweight division. But, there is a silent assassin lurking in the shadows, eagerly awaiting his opportunity to emerge.
When surveying the crowded light heavyweight landscape, it is easy to overlook Luiz Cane. He has not received a marketing push from the UFC nor has he vocalized his desire for recognition. Unlike many of his peers, he is not a chiseled physical specimen with bulging muscles and a boisterous personality.
No, Cane has been content biding his time and accumulating W’s…until now.
With Rampage Jackson set to fight Rashad Evans and Forrest Griffin squaring off against Anderson Silva, the division could use an influx of potential contenders. The Brazilian-born Cane has been patient and, as the UFC looks to establish some new faces, his chance at stardom may have finally arrived.
Having gone 3-1 in the UFC, with his lone loss coming by way of disqualification in a fight he was dominating, Cane has quietly put together a string of quality wins.
His tenacity was apparent in his first round knockout of Jason Lambert. He displayed that same killer instinct when he dismantled Sokoudjou via strikes in his next bout. In April, he earned a hard-fought unanimous decision against the very game Steve Cantwell and has positioned himself for a step up in competition.
Cane is primarily a striker, but has displayed a vast array of skills. With solid wrestling, a jiu-jitsu background, a stout chin and cement in both hands, Cane is a difficult fighter to match up against.
Additionally, Cane does not shy away from a slugfest—a recipe for entertaining scraps. The man loves to trade leather and has done so efficiently and lethally.
While no announcement has been made, a proposed bout between Cane and rising star Thiago Silva might as well be accompanied with a pillow, because one of them would surely get put to sleep. The two native-Brazilians have a long standing beef that goes back to their early fight days in Fury FC.
A match between the two would provide sure-fire action and a fine indicator as to whether Cane is ready for the prime time. As Matt Serra displayed in his stunning knock out of GSP, the prime time can come fast and furious.
With a bone-rattling left-right combo, Cane has the potential to leapfrog the hype stage and catapult himself right into the limelight. And the division is positioned nicely for a new face. Given his evolving skills, Cane has the chance to do just that.
But, until given the chance, Cane will do what he has done since his UFC debut—remain silent and continue to knock people out.