August 23rd, 2011
Can Okami Topple the Champ?
It's been nearly 13 years since the UFC last hosted an event in Brazil.
That event, which was titled UFC 17.5 - Ultimate Brazil, featured Brazilian legends such as Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva and Pedro Rizzo.
At UFC 134: Rio, another host of Brazilian MMA legends, including Anderson Silva, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, will be on display.
Let's take a look at the fights that are on the main card:
Yushin Okami, +350
Anderson Silva, -500
Yushin Okami holds the distinction of being the last person to "beat" Anderson Silva.
In reality, Anderson Silva was disqualified for delivering an illegal upkick. Up until that point, Silva had been dominating the fight.
Okami has been training with Chael Sonnen for this fight - if you'll remember, Sonnen just about beat Silva back at UFC 117 before getting submitted.
Okami is a tremendous wrestler, but Silva's speed and striking will prove to be too much. Silva will be looking to put on a show in front of his home crowd, which means that Okami has a very slim chance of victory.
Despite the lopsided odds, take Silva at -500.
Forrest Griffin, +180
Mauricio Rua, -230
In their first fight, Griffin was able to submit an exhausted Rua with mere moments left in the fight. Rua injured his knee during the fight and elected to have surgery a short time later.
What Rua will show up for this fight? The Rua that was clearly out of shape for his battle against Jon Jones, or the Rua that tore up Lyoto Machida at UFC 113? Rua has a history of looking terrible in his first fight after surgery, but following it up with a strong performance in his second fight.
Griffin, on the other hand, is coming off of two straight wins against Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin, both of which came by decision.
In my mind, this fight is a toss-up. Considering that Griffin is a +180 underdog, I'll be taking Griffin for the value.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, +180
Brendan Schaub, -230
This fight may be Big Nog's last kick at the can. If he loses this fight, don't be surprised if he retires.
Nogueira's legendary chin has shown signs of disappearing as of late, as he has been knocked out in 2 of his last 3 fights.
Brendan Schaub, on the other hand, is an exceptional striker who will be looking to catch Big Nog with a Big Shot.
Nogueira will not want to stand and trade with Schaub, so the question becomes - can he catch the younger fighter in a submission? Big Nog's submissions are legendary.
I'm going to go pick Schaub in this fight, as I think that Nogueira won't be able to withstand Schaub's striking.
Ross Pearson, +220
Edson Barboza, -300
Barboza will be far too much for Ross Pearson, especially when he is fighting in front of a home crowd. I don't give Pearson much of a chance in this fight. Take Barboza.
Stanislav Nedkov, +175
Luiz Cane, -220
Nedkov is finally making his debut in the UFC, and who does he get? Luiz Cane.
This should be an all-out war, but you have to give the nod to the guy with the UFC experience and the home town advantage. Nedkov is still an unproven commodity at this point, and taking him against the proven Cane seems like a crapshoot at best.