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Six huge questions going into UFC 134 Rio: Silva vs. Okami

The UFC 134 Rio: Silva vs. Okami event that will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a highly anticipated event and rightfully so. It’s stacked with some of the best fighters in the world, former champions, and some up and comers. However, the most important thing about this card is the storylines heading into the event. Normally when I do these type of posts I’ll have 3-5 questions that can be pondered heading into the event. This card is so good that I had to do six questions. I probably could have done a couple more but they were not significant questions in the grand scheme of things. Let’s get it starting at the top of the card:

Man, Anderson Silva hasn’t lost since 2006. Fourteen fights with twelve finishes. That’s right twelve finishes and let’s be real. Anderson Silva is so good that he probably could have finished those two opponents if he wanted to. That’s scary. However, the last loss that Silva endured was against the same guy that he’ll be facing on Saturday night in Yushin Okami. Granted, Okami won the fight via DQ as Silva hit him with an illegal upkick to his face. Silva has beaten the best of the best as a middleweight and Okami is one of the last quality middleweights out there that Silva has yet to defeat. The only other fighter that I can think of that has faced the same level of competition or better is Georges St-Pierre. While dominant, he has gone to the judges 9 times in his UFC career. What say you? 

I know what you are saying. “Shogun was the UFC light heavyweight champion in his last fight!” Shogun Rua was a monster in PRIDE. It was clear that the knee injury he suffered before coming to the UFC played a role in his loss to Forrest Griffin during his UFC debut way back at UFC 76. I understand that Griffin was injured too, but if Rua had cardio in that fight I believes he wins. Rua was able to rebound and come back to form against Lyoto Machida(in both fights and I believe he won the first matchup with Machida and made sure by finishing him the second time). However, the Rua that faced Jon Jones just seemed overmatched or something. Is is that Jon Jones is just that good. Did that knee that Jones landed off the bat really take that much out of Rua? A healthy Rua should be able to give Forrest Griffin fits, but what if he’s unable to perform? What if the rumors of him injuring his knee again during training are true? Now, those same rumors came out prior to one or both of the Machida fights and it looked like the Rua of old when the fights took place. Is his camp playing psychological warfare with Griffin(they’ve denied the rumor and said Rua is healthy)? If Rua loses, he still has some intriguing fights left, namely a re-match with Rampage Jackson should Jackson lose to Jon Jones next month. I suppose we’ll see what he brings on Saturday night.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of what Schaub is or has been doing. I know the game of older fighters passing the torch to younger guys. I thought Schaub’s fight with Gabriel Gonzaga was the perfect opportunity for that to happen and the young guy went out there and won the fight. What does Schaub do? He asks to fight Mirko Cro Cop and manages to survive and finish Cro Cop late in the fight. Now what does Schaub do? He asks to fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira who hasn’t fought in almost two years AND who is coming off knee and hip surgery. There’s no doubt that Nogueira is one of if not the second greatest heavyweight of all time. However, what does Schaub get with a win over the veteran? Does beating a Nogueira coming in off of these circumstances do anything for Schaub?

  • Does Edson Barboza become a darkhorse contender in the UFC lightweight division?

Man. Have you seen Edson Barboza fight? If not, go watch his last fight with Anthony Njokuani. I picked Njokuani in that fight and I still believe that Njokuani won that fight, even Fightmetric backs me up but Barboza has some killer standup skills. He’s 8-0 with 7 finishes and a win on Saturday night would make him 3-0 inside the UFC. Ross Pearson is a former TUF winner and a win for Barboza could certainly up his stock in an increasingly crowded lightweight division. Keep your eyes open!

I used to be real high on Luiz Cane before he failed to evolve and continued to block punches with his face. A former fringe top ten light heavyweight, Cane suffered two brutal knockouts before rebounding in his last outing against Elliot Marshall. Cane is a very aggressive fighter with good power and is supposedly good on the ground as well. He’s facing a newcomer that I admittedly don’t know much about, but a win here for Cane would certainly put him back in the conversation to face stiffer competition again.

Wow. It takes a while to climb that mountain but it sure doesn’t take long to fall does it? Just ask Paulo Thiago who burst on the scene to win three out of his first four fights in the UFC. However, Thiago has now dropped two fights in a row while getting dominated in both fights. We know that the UFC will pull the trigger and cut guys who lose three in a row(unless you are named Dan Hardy). A loss for Thiago here could be the end of the road for the Brazilian. A win would be huge and probably thrust him back in the mix of another crowded division.

Be sure to make Pro MMA Now your home each day this week as I break down the fights on the main card for UFC 134. Also, remember that you can follow the fights in real time right here with us as we’ll be providing play by play and results for those not near a TV or sports bar.

7 comments

  1. 1. Yes. And I think part of it comes from the perception… that is, people fear Silva. I’m not so sure that’s the case with GSP. You may get beat up for 25 minutes with GSP, but you’re probably gonna end up on the business end of a highlight-reel finish with Silva.

    2. The LHW division right now is Bones… and everyone else. It’s a revolving door of top contenders. A loss may drop him from top contender status, but a win or 2 after that puts Shogun right back in the mix.

    3. No. There’s mob mentality… and then there’s the internet. Once the hate-train starts rolling, GTFO of the way. Schaub deserves respect anyway, despite who his opponents are/were. He’s been winning! On top of that, if you look at building a career, he might be more savvy than most. When all is said and done, he’ll have quite a few pretty nice notches on his belt, no matter that he’s facing so-called “old” fighters. He’ll have been on TV quite a bit, and he’ll have built a buffer (not Bruce) if he does drop a couple of fights.

    4. Yes. Everyone else in the LW division has a recent loss. There are still a couple of hurdles to get over and a couple guys in line ahead of him based on both name-value and record (Guida, Guillard, Henderson). It’s gonna take a couple more wins, but we won’t be able to ignore him for long.

    5. Who? With a win over whom?

    6. Yes. Dana rarely cuts a guy after a win, especially one who was previously a top contender. Can’t hurt that he’s a Brazilian commando either.

  2. Man…Schaub said that he should get a title shot with a win over Nogueira….if that tells you anything…

  3. I think Shogun is injured – I think he will lose – he’s one of my favorite fighters but he cannot overcome these knee injuries it seems – Wanderlei had one very early in his career, in 2003 and overcame it for a huge run in Pride, but Rua doesn’t seem to be able to go 2 fights without blowing it out again -

  4. Kelvin,

    Schaub may be too confident… I don’t know. But wouldn’t you rather he say THAT instead of asking for easy fights?

    I dunno. There’s also the fact that Schaub doesn’t really have the juice to call all his fights anyway. Brother wants to get paid, he fights who Joe Silva tells him to fight, right?

  5. You can’t earn a title shot without beating someone that’s top ten IMO.

    I’m not saying that Mirko and Nogueira are ‘easy’ fights, but they don’t hold near as much weight had he fought them 3 years ago even…he openly campaigned to fight Mirko and Nog…that’s the thing I have an issue with..

    Had Joe Silva given both guys to him as opponents WITHOUT him openly campaigning to fight them…I wouldn’t say a word…like I said..I’m cool with a young fighter fighting an older fighter to pass the torch the way he did with Gonzaga…but to keep fighting these guys that are waaaay past their prime and then talk about getting a shot at the title off of those wins? No thanks.

  6. “I’m not saying that Mirko and Nogueira are ‘easy’ fights, but they don’t hold near as much weight had he fought them 3 years ago even…he openly campaigned to fight Mirko and Nog…that’s the thing I have an issue with..”

    The same thing put a bad taste in my mouth Kel. Amir Khan is doing the exact same thing right now in boxing, as he continues to call out Erik Morales.

  7. 1) Yes, and I already think he is the greatest mixed martial artist so far in MMA’s short history as a sport. Just too many dominant wins over top competition. However, GSP is right there behind him because his competition le3vel has been a little bit better.

    2) I really think it’s because Jon Jones is “that good”. Anybody who tosses Matt Hammil, Matyushenko, and Ryan Bader around like their nothing is a very special athlete.

    To answer the question though, yes. Either way.

    3) As I pointed above he will get some, but not anything like Mir got a couple years back. Him calling out people past their prime doesn’t do much for as a fan.

    BTW I think Nog gets the upset.

    4) No. I had a lot of respect for Edson before that Njokuani fight, but I think it proved he’s a little overhyped or fighting above what he should be right now. If he beats Pearson, great, but that would be the same thing Cole Miller did a couple fights ago.

    5)You and everyone else. I think we all put Sokoudjou way too high after the upsets in Pride, and Cane’s win over him led to Luiz being a little overrated.

    This one is a darkhorse FOTN contender.

    6) Yep, big shot on the feet followed up with GnP, or a choke.

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