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UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva will defend his division title against 185-pound number one contender Yushin Okami at the upcoming UFC 134: "Rio" pay-per-view event from the HSBC Arena on Aug. 27 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"The Spider," widely-considered one of the top pound-for-pound mixed martial artists on the planet, looked practically invincible during his incredible championship run inside the Octagon -- until Chael Sonnen almost knocked him from his perch at UFC 117: "Silva vs. Sonnen" back in 2010.
The trash-talking ex-Realtor dished out four rounds of punishment and was minutes away from a monstrous upset in the fifth and final frame before a careless guard attack left him strangled inside a triangle choke.
Nevertheless, Sonnen got a lot closer to the Brazilian's gold than anyone else in his division, prompting Okami to align himself with the currently-suspended fighter in hopes of gaining a competitive edge come August.
And Silva tells O Globo, Brazil’s second largest newspaper (via Sherdog.com), it was a bad choice:
"You have to find the best people to train with, and I think [Okami] chose wrong. I’d never align myself with a loser, a loser in every sense. He didn’t win the fight [between us] and got caught doping. You want to be a champion? Get with good people, with winners. Moreover, Sonnen wasn’t a tough opponent for me. I was injured with cracked ribs and fought five rounds. If I hadn’t been injured, the fight would have been different."
Silva and Okami first met inside a cage back in 2006, with "Thunder" scoring a controversial win over "The Spider" via disqualification (illegal upkick). Silva has not lost since, winning an astonishing 14 straight fights and cementing himself as among (if not the) best mixed martial artists in the world along the way.
This will mark a record ninth time (and counting) Silva will defend his middleweight title inside the Octagon.
Okami, meanwhile, has built an impressive UFC resume of his own, winning 10 of his 12 fights with the promotion, the most recent of which, over Nate Marquardt in Germany, earned him a long-awaited shot at the middleweight crown.
The Japanese import now finally gets his chance to become the first man to defeat the Brazilian within the not-so-friendly confines of the eight-sided playground ... in hostile territory no less.
Can he get it done? And will Sonnen's insight help his friend on fight night?