UFC 134 is only a short while away and it's the first trip for the UFC in Rio, and first trip to Brazil since UFC Ultimate Brazil on October 16, 1998.
The Brazilian fans will get a great show with Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami for the middleweight belt in what is a big-time rematch for Silva to avenge his last loss of his career.
In the co-main event we have yet another rematch between flashy Brazilian striker and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Forrest Griffin.
The card also features names like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brendan Schaub, Ross Pearson and Edson Barboza.
Light Heavyweight Bout
Luiz Cane (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
Nine wins by knockout, one by decision, one by submission.
Two losses by knockout, one by disqualification.
Stanislav Nedkov (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Five wins by knockout, four by submissions, two by decision.
Nedkov holds a split-decision win over Kevin Randleman as his one big win that sticks out. Nedkov has some serious wrestling skills mixed in with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Unfortunately, this is where I see Nedkov's unbeaten streak end.
Cane has nice striking skills that I think will serve him well in this matchup. If Cane can keep the fight standing and avoid the takedowns, Cane should have this one in hand against a very tough Nedkov, who is making his UFC debut.
Prediction: Cane by second-round TKO
Ross Pearson (12-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC)
Five wins by submission, four by decision, three by knockout.
Two losses by submission, one by knockout, one by decision.
Edson Barboza (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Six wins by knockout, one by decision, one by submission.
Get ready for a standup war here between Barboza and Pearson. Both fighters possess the knockout ability and deadly striking to create what could be a possible "Fight of the Night" and "Knockout of the Night" contender.
Very technical display of fighting here, but both fighters also possess a ground game. Pearson has four victories by an actual submission (one was by punches) and Barboza is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Prediction: Pearson by unanimous decision
Brendan Schaub (8-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC)
Seven wins by knockout, one by decision.
One loss by knockout.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Twenty wins by submission, 10 wins by decision, two by knockout.
Four losses by decision, two by knockout.
Nogueira possess some great Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills and is definitely one of the most respected fighters when it comes to grappling (unless you're name is Chael Sonnen, then you think of yourself as the most respected in every category).
Schaub has knockout power in both hands and will certainly test Big Nog here, whose last two losses have been by knockout. Before that, it seemed like you could hit Big Nog in the face with a jumbo jet and he would still be standing.
I see Schaub keeping this fighting and getting tested by Big Nog's solid striking skills and once again exposing Nog's chin.
Ring rust is sure to play a factor in this bout as Big Nog hasn't fought since a February 2010 knockout loss to current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez.
Prediction: Schaub by late second/early third-round TKO
Light Heavyweight Bout
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (19-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC)
Sixteen wins by knockout, two by decision, one by submission.
Two losses by knockout, two by submission, one by decision.
Forrest Griffin (18-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC)
Eight wins by decision, seven by submission, three by knockout.
Four losses by knockout, two by decision.
The co-main event is yet another rematch. In their first match, Griffin won by getting Shogun in a rear naked choke and submitting him.
Since then both fighters have gone on to win the UFC's Light Heavyweight Title, and both lost it in their first defense.
Their first bout earned "Fight of the Night" honors and I can see it here as well. Shogun looked bad in his last fight in his title defense against Jon Jones. Now Shogun isn't coming off of a big layoff and isn't coming off of surgery.
If Griffin gets it to the ground, the fight will be much harder for Shogun to win, but I think that since he almost always performs amazingly when he isn't coming off of surgery or a big layoff that Shogun will take this with his flashy striking.
Prediction: Shogun by third-round TKO
Middleweight Championship Bout
Anderson Silva (30-4 MMA, 13-0 UFC)
Seventeen wins by knockout, seven by decision, six by submission.
Two losses by submission, one by decision, one by disqualification.
Yushin Okami (26-5 MMA, 10-2 UFC)
Twelve wins by decision, nine by knockout, five by submission.
Four losses by decision, one by knockout.
Silva is going to have to avoid a repeat of his fight with Chael Sonnen in order to control this fight. Personally I think Silva can do that.
Silva is a very elusive fighter and is a dominant striker. Sure, Silva lost the first one by disqualification by an illegal upkick from his guard, but Silva will avoid the ground for the most part in this one.
Expect Silva to pull out the redemption victory and to avenge his only loss in the last six years.
You can watch their first fight in its entirety, here.
Prediction: Silva by fourth-round TKO