The Ultimate Fighting Championship(UFC) returns to one of the birth places of mixed martial arts at UFC: Rio live this Saturday (August 27, 2011). The buzz a few months ago about all the possibilities from a rematch between Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort to the last octagon stand of Royce Gracie.
The card began to grew and some odd turns became reality as Ross Pearson and Forrest Griffin snagged spots from others. The format became the world versus Brazil as each main card featured a foreigner vs. a native of Brazil.
When i look at the main card alot of surprises rang out to me, the heavyweight clash between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brendan Schaub. I thought the UFC would have put on a more fan fared fight like Mirko Cro Cop vs. 'Big Nog'. The UFC brass must either really believe in the returning Minotauro or they are trying to elevate Brendan Schaub at the hands of a fading legend.
Does this card make you excited due to it being in Brazil or are the fights on par with what you wanted? Fire away Maniacs!
Let's look at the main card:
- Middleweight Championship: Anderson Silva (c) vs. Yushin Okami
- Light Heavyweight bout: Maurício Rua vs. Forrest Griffin
- Heavyweight bout: Brendan Schaub vs. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira
- Lightweight bout: Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza
- Light Heavyweight bout: Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov
We have a pretty stacked card from welterweight to heavyweight which is a nice diversity. You have awesome strikers in Barbosa, Cane, Rua, Schaub and Anderson Silva. You have one of the best Japanese fighters of all-time in Yushin Okami, one of the best BJJ practioners in Big Nog. You have a toughed nosed and fan favorite in Forrest Griffin and one of the most successful British fighters in Ross Pearson. That all equals for one hell of a fight night come this Saturday.
Were missing some legends like Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort and Royce Gracie. With how stacked the card is do you miss them at all?. I would have loved to seen Damian Maia vs. Royce Gracie but the UFC isn't going to host a BJJ fight in GI's. It sin't going to pay Royce Gracie a million dollars either. With Maia's ever evolving striking game which is better then what Matt Hughes (Gracie's last loss in the UFC at UFC 60) has ever had, why would Maia not just smash up Gracie standing?. The game has grown leaps and bounds from UFC 60 and folks, that fight was even more even on paper.
One person who i would have loved to see atleast on the undercard is former UFC heavyweight Pedro Rizzo. The man with baseball bats for shins is still competing and is in the top 25 heavyweight rankings. He won't be beating a Cain Velasquez or a Junior Dos Santos but the man still is a fun striker who would have been great against a Pat Barry or a Mark Hunt.
The match up from the first UFC stint in Brazil (UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil) from October 16th, 1998 would have been amazing. We have all seen the famous 15 punch combo from Vitor Belfort to Wanderlei Silva. It is one of the most iconic knockouts in the sports short history. The rematch would have had some nice implications. Wanderlei Silva was returning from surgery after a win over Michael Bisping. Belfort was handed his most crushing defeat tby Anderson Silva in a middleweight title fight at UFC 126. The bout would have been a highly sought after fight which could have pushed Wandy back in the hunt even more or Belfort to remain afloat.
At UFC 132, Wanderlei Silva was knocked out by Chris Leben in the co main event. The loss crushed his desire to fight in Brazil and it may have ended his career. The UFC should in my opinion honor Wanderlei Silva this Saturday by either inducting him into their Hall of Fame or a simple acknowledgment of the once most feared man at 205.
So, Maniac's am i missing anything or anyone who would/should have been on this card? Do you feel you are getting what you expect for the return to Rio?