UFC Rio Silva vs. Okami: 5 Things We Learned
Any more winners in this photo and Charlie Sheen would sue.
UFC 134: Rio is in the books, and what a night it was. After nearly a clean sweep of the entire card and tremendous performances abound, Brazil and its fighters are on cloud nine.
After sifting through the debris of cluttered beer cans and the crushed hopes of everything non-Brazilian, we can piece together five insightful pieces of knowledge that may or may not help you on those oh so frequent MMA trivia nights.
It's worth a shot, right? Let us take a look at the five things we learned from UFC Rio.
Yushin Okami Is a Bad Strategist
I apologize for starting out with such an obvious statement, but let us review what, in fact, was Okami’s strategy to begin with.
According to him, there was none.
Obviously, Okami must have had some game plan coming into this fight. After the success Chael Sonnen's wrestling had against Silva (and Okami), Yushin made his way to Oregon to train with the Team Quest guys.
After spending so much time training with Sonnen, it might have been implied that “Thunder” would employ similar wrestling tactics and grind out a decision.
That was not the case for Okami on Saturday night.
The most he did in the fight was land a few insignificant jabs and hold Silva against the cage for a time. As the crowd booed while Okami failed to advance on his position, it was Okami, not Herb Dean, who broke the stalemate and let Silva go.
After that, he did exactly what you’re not supposed to do against the best striker in world: stand right in front of him.
We all knew what was going to happen when Silva put his hands down. We all knew what was going to happen before Silva put his hands down. It seems we were all in the know, except for Okami.
Big Nog Is a Returner (In Case You Forgot)
First and foremost, I called it.
OK, I'll admit it didn’t quite end the way I predicted, and even I had my doubts after hearing how Minotauro rushed his recovery just to fight in Rio.
Of all the Brazilians on the card, Nogueira was the biggest underdog and for good reason. Not because Schaub was the best opponent but because Nogueira was thought to be such a diminished fighter.
If Cro Cop was wheeled out of the old folk’s home just to fight Schaub, then Nogueira was specially delivered to the octagon from the dinosaur exhibition. The expectation was not that Nogueira would lose a close decision.
If he lost, it would be by quick and devastating knockout, the type of which would implore immediate retirement.
Turns out, he still has some gas left in the tank. Nogueira is undoubtedly one of the best to ever do it, and he proved it Saturday night by upsetting Schaub after he was handpicked to be a stepping stone for the young man.
Now don’t press your luck, Big Nog. Chris Lytle showed the world how to retire correctly. Please do the same.
Brendan Schaub's Chin Was Exposed
While I certainly did call for Minotauro to beat Schaub, I was more than a bit worried for my aging pick.
Brendan Schaub is a fine fighter with decent takedowns and a pretty big right hand, and he's not afraid to use those tools to do a bit of damage. For the second time in his career however, he has lost by knockout.
As it stands, both of his losses have been by knockout in the first round.
When he suffered his first knockout loss, it was to the hard-hitting Roy “Big Country” Nelson. No shame there, as more than half of Nelson’s wins have come by KO or TKO.
But in the career of Nogueira, he has only ever knocked out three people, and that’s including Schaub. The Nogueira brothers are known for their formidable boxing skills, but even Little Nog, as a boxing champion, still has more wins via submission than KO.
Right now, there’s a big question mark surrounding Schaub’s chin. Hit him hard enough in the face, and he'll be down before you can say "go back to the NFL."
Griffin Can't Do This Work Anymore
Griffin/Shogun II was a completely different affair from Griffin/Shogun I. The first fight saw both men trade shots and exchange dominant positions for the first eight minutes or so. Even as the tide turned against him, Shogun still made a fight of it.
Last Saturday night, it was all Mauricio.
We all know what happened at UFC 134, but what people may not know is what happened before. Griffin has been quite vocal lately about his diminished love for the sport, and that may be costing him.
Fighting simply for prize money is nothing new to sports, but at least most athletes can claim they still love what they do. Griffin does not. Whether this is because he believes his skills have plateaued, he is a soon-to-be father or he just doesn’t want to get punched in the face anymore, it undoubtedly affected his performance against Shogun.
Most people would love to get paid to do what they love. If that’s the case, then Griffin might have to look into a different line of work.
Brazilian Crowds Get Rowdy
You didn't need a translator to figure out who the crowd was rooting for at UFC 134.
If anyone watched the pay-per-view, they would have heard the deafening cheers for any and all things Brazilian and near silence for anything that wasn’t.
This was perhaps most evident during the Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov fight. Nedkov was the only foreigner who defeated a Brazilian on Saturday night, by knockout no less. As a result, the atmosphere was comparative to a funeral, with a few boos thrown in for good measure.
It was all uphill from then, however. When Nogueira knocked out Schaub, celebratory beer flew into the octagon. A brief knockdown of Ross Pearson at the hands of Barboza caused the crowd to go crazy. Even Silva’s inevitable destruction of Okami was treated like a game-winning soccer goal.
It was a great night for Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts, and the Rio crowd let the world know how much it loved its heroes.