UFC 134: 5 Reasons to Watch
UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is one of the most anticipated fight cards of the year, if not the last couple of years.
Brazil hasn’t hosted a UFC card since October 16, 1998, when Vitor Belfort set the world on fire with his 44-second knockout of Wanderlei Silva.
The buzz around this card is incredible, as nearly every Brazilian on the roster was seemingly asking for a fight in front of their home country.
Even Royce Gracie was begging to be put on the card. There isn’t a single fight on UFC 134 that doesn’t involve at least one Brazilian fighter.
The card really only had one option on who should headline the comeback event.
That man is of course Anderson Silva. Silva has dominated the UFC since he first stepped into the octagon, and he looks to avenge one of his four defeats when he takes on heavy underdog Yushin “Thunder” Okami.
Five reasons may be too many, as all you really need is Anderson Silva, but I’m going to go ahead and give you some more, just to get you even more excited for this historic event.
5. Luiz Cane Always Throws Leather
Luiz Cane steps into the cage with UFC rookie Stanislav Nedkov on Saturday.
Don’t expect Cane to try to send this fight to a decision.
Cane has seen some ups and downs during his time in the UFC.
He started out 3-1 in the organization before he ran into Lil Nog at UFC 106.
He would then lose to Cyrille Diabate in his next contest and was staring at his walking papers if he didn’t improve.
Cane showed up as the fighter fans loved to watch against Eliot Marshall, as he steamrolled him in Round 1 back in March.
Cane isn’t afraid of a slug-fest and will bring the heat against Nedkov.
Stanislav Nedkov is looking to make a name for himself against “Banha” on Saturday night.
Nedkov only holds a record of 5-0 but does hold wins over long-time veterans Travis Wiuff and Kevin Randleman.
Nedkov was scheduled to make his debut all the way back at UFC 117 against Rodney Wallace, but that bout was scratched. He also was to fight Steve Cantwell before that fight was scratched as well.
Great fight to get the night started.
4. Edson Barboza Could Be the Next Big Thing at Lightweight
Edson Barboza comes into his fight against TUF winner Ross Pearson sporting an undefeated record at 8-0 and looks to make a mark on the lightweight division.
Barboza just started fighting a little over two years ago and has been called by some as the Anderson Silva of the lightweight division.
The talk of him being the next big thing in the UFC may be premature, but after his two performances inside the octagon, one can’t help but to look to the future.
The 25-year-old kid has only seen the final bell on one occasion and will look to put on a show for his home country crowd.
Ross Pearson is being somewhat overlooked in this fight, but he has an impressive 4-1 record in his young UFC career.
The Brit got back on track after his loss to Cole Miller with a decision victory over Spencer Fisher in his last bout.
Barboza and Pearson are two of the most highly-touted prospects in the lightweight division.
After Saturday, we will see who is for real and who may need some more time to mature.
Barboza has the potential to be a star, so don’t be surprised if he is wearing gold in a few years.
3. Big Nog Returns, Schaub Gets Biggest Test of Career
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is one of the icons of the sport and one of the best Brazilian fighters to ever fight, period.
Big Nog hasn’t stepped into the octagon since he was knocked out by current champion Cain Velasquez back in February, 2010 at UFC 110.
He is a fighter who has never backed down from a fight and a guy who has been plagued with injuries recently.
Where else would Big Nog make his triumphant return but in Brazil?
I can hear the eruption from the crowd already.
Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub is looking to spoil the homecoming for the PRIDE legend. Schaub has been slowly turning into a legit contender in the heavyweight division.
After dropping the finale for the TUF crown against Roy Nelson in his debut, Schaub has reeled off four wins in a row. He has been a knockout machine so far in his young career, as he has seven of his eight wins coming via (T)KO.
The fight makes perfect sense.
Big Nog fights in front of his home country and needs a good opponent for his comeback. Brendan Schaub needs a real test so that we can see if he is the real deal or if he was just beating up on guys that were out of their prime (clearly talking about Cro Cop).
2. Forrest vs. Shogun Rematch
Forrest Griffin comes into the rematch with Shogun Rua in a similar situation.
Griffin was awarded a title shot after he defeated Rua in their first altercation and may not be too far away if he pulls the upset again.
Griffin has beat Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin in his last two bouts, both via decision.
A win over the former champion Rua puts him right back into the title picture.
Shogun Rua also finds himself right in the title picture with a win.
This is Rua’s first fight since being destroyed by current champion Jon Jones, and he will look to get back on track.
Shogun was caught completely off guard by Griffin in their first encounter and was tapped out with only 15 seconds left in the fight.
Don’t expect Rua to make that mistake again, as he surely feels like he can out-strike Griffin on the feet.
Rua and Griffin are two of the best light heavyweights the UFC has ever seen, and this battle between the two former champs should not disappoint the Brazilian fans.
1. Anderson Silva Is Simply the Best
Anderson Silva hasn’t lost a fight since 2006.
The man he lost to was the man he will see across from him on Saturday night, Yushin Okami.
The loss came in a 175-pound fight in the first round.
Okami was given the win after Silva kicked Okami in the face while both were grounded.
The win should have never been given to Okami, but that’s the rule, I guess.
The knockout will, however, go down as one of the greatest knockouts to never count (along with Heath Herring’s kiss KO).
Silva is a human highlight reel, as he has fans on the edge of their seats every time he gets into the cage.
An interesting story line to this fight is that Chael Sonnen said that he will be in Okami’s corner. It almost seems like it’s a WWE title match, with Silva’s biggest rival in the opposing corner.
The crowd will surely be booing the hell out of Okami and Sonnen, as Chael has been constantly talking trash about Brazilian fighters.
Okami does stand a chance. But that might be it, just a chance.
Sonnen took Silva five rounds and nearly pulled off the upset of the century a little over a year ago, so I guess it is possible—just not likely.
Okami has a good resume and does deserve a title shot, but don’t think for a minute he is going to be the best opponent Silva has ever faced.
If we are lucky, we’ll get a Steven Seagal appearance at the end of the night.
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