UFC 134 offered a lot of great fights, all of them but one having finishes.
As for the main three fights, a lot of questions were answered, yet more arose.
Here's what we learned:
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Brendan Schaub (Heavyweight)
The big question after being knocked out by Cain Velasquez a year and a half ago was, "Does Big Nog still have it?" This was followed by a resounding, "Yes!"
Big Nog really stepped it up tonight by knocking Schaub out after taking a few heavy shots from the dangerous striker.
Where does this put either fighter?
As for Schaub, he's earned some very big wins over Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga, but he still has a lot to prove. Tonight was his night to do it, but he missed out on the chance to put away a legend.
Not only that, a legend who was perceived to be in the twilight of his career with cage-rust to match.
But Schaub still has a lot of promise. Being a heavyweight striker, it's a risk you take when you get into a match slinging shots left and right. Nevertheless, he will have to prove himself over the next couple of fights to get back in the mix.
Big Nog, on the other hand, probably sealed himself a high-level fight, perhaps against the likes of Brock Lesnar (in his anticipated 2012 return) or perhaps the loser between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. The bottom line is he was very impressive this evening.
Maurício "Shogun" Rua vs. Forrest Griffin (Light Heavyweight)
Shogun's performance was probably the most impressive of the last three winners of the evening. He fought like a champion, which speaks volumes since one, he recently was one and still has his sights set on getting the belt back, and two, he redeemed himself against a prior loss to Griffin, solidifying his role in the upper division of the light heavyweights.
Griffin was not expected to do so poorly, but alas, it happens. His fate is being the light heavyweight gatekeeper until he is either put away in his next fight or actually wins against another fighter with significant weight in the division.
Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami (Middleweight Championship)
Silva needs a challenge. It's that simple.
Prior to this match, many people, including myself and short of Chael Sonnen, predicted a quick, decisive victory over Okami. What's new?
Silva deserves all the credit he gets from his huge fan base. He's obviously the most accurate, dangerous striker in the game today and likely ever in the history of MMA. So what now?
There are three fights that MMA fans have been pleading for: Georges St-Pierre, Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones.
GSP vs. Silva is losing its fervor due to GSP evidently being unable to finish a fight and step up in a new division to take on the champ.
A rematch with Sonnen seems the most likely at this point, granted he can get beyond Brian Stann. Sonnen is the only fighter in the history of the UFC to actually beat up Silva, despite actually losing the fight.
A Silva vs. Sonnen rematch is highly interesting, given the "hurt rib" claim and testosterone replacement therapy variables added in their first match.
The last—and frequently the most passionate—potential matchup is Silva vs. Jones. Jones has a similar frame and style to Silva, except he's bigger, stronger and can actually wrestle. In my opinion, this match would make the most sense for Silva after a rematch with Sonnen.
What do you think should happen with Silva next? Who fought most impressively tonight?
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