It took more than a decade, but Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) finally made its way back to Brazil, which is among the few countries responsible for the creation of mixed martial arts (MMA) as we know it today.
It was well worth the wait.
In the main event of the evening, UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva was not only out to exact revenge, but officially clean out the entire 185-pound division.
Done and done.
Yushin Okami, who defeated Silva via controversial disqualification more than five years ago, didn't stand a chance. "The Spider" was on the top of his game, toying with the Japanese fighter for more than one round before finally finding his range and blasting his way to victory in just the second round.
"Thunder," who trained with former division contender Chael Sonnen to prepare for the bout, didn't seem too interested in coordinating any sort of "in your face, ground and pound attack." On the contrary, the historically slow starter stood well within the lethal Brazilian's striking range and paid the ultimate price.
Big, big mistake.
Silva, 36, completely outclassed yet another very solid fighter this evening. In fact, there is no one left in the division who could be considered a worthy challenger at this time who hasn't already bested. He's on an entirely different level.
He might even kill his clone.
In the co featured fight of the night, Mauricio Rua was also on the hunt for heroics, looking to even up the score with Forrest Griffin, who rudely introduced him to the Octagon at UFC 76 back in 2007 with a rear naked choke submission win.
"Shogun" did just that. Did he ever.
The Brazilian bomber clipped Griffin with a big punch 90 seconds into their 205-pound tilt, which sent the original The Ultimate Figher (TUF) winner reeling to the mat. Rua pounced immediately, unloading several hammer fist head bouncers to Griffin's grill that forced the referee to step in an stop the action.
It was a huge win for Shogun after the disappointing loss to Jon Jones in his previous performance. If he can cobble together one or two victories like that, he might just earn himself another rematch in the future with the current division champion.
No "Bones" about it.
Former Pride FC and UFC champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, was coming off multiple hip surgeries, as well as an 18-month layoff to make his first fight ever in his homeland in 40 career fights. The old lion was pitted opposite the young buck, Brendan Schaub, who wanted to add another legend to his hit list.
"Big Nog," however, had other plans.
Nogueira plodded forward early in the first round, stalking "The Hybrid" and eating several punches in the process. It was clear that he was willing to get hit as long as he was able to do some hitting of his own. And just past the three minute mark, he landed a crushing hook that send Schaub face-planting to the floor.
It wasn't a pretty performance, but it was effective. Emotional, too. After all he's been through recently and everything he has accomplished throughout his illustrious career, seeing his celebration in front of a proud crowd was a sight to be seen.
Welcome home, champ.
It delivered -- neither fighter hit the floor save for "The Real Deal" who got dropped with lightning fast combination from the dangerous Brazilian. He quickly recovered, however, and kept charging forward and mixing it up for 15 full minutes.
In the end, Barboza squeaked out a razor thin split decision and a very high profile win over a winner from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). Pearson, who clearly does not have the striking pedigree of Barboza, more than made up for his lack of dynamic skills with guts and grit.
Fun fight, as expected.
And in the first fight of the pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Luiz Cane welcomed Bulgarian brawler Stanislav Nedkov to the promotion. However, someone forgot to remind Nedkov to mind his manners.
"Banha," who is not known for his submission savvy, didn't come into the 205-pound bout to roll around. Neither was Nedkov, apparently, who came out winging looping lefts and big punches. Cane avoided them for the most part until he was backed up against the cage toward the tail end of the opening frame.
Nedkov finally connected, forcing Cane into a crumpled mess. He quickly followed up with a few more well placed bombs and that was it.
That's enough from us -- now it's your turn to discuss "Rio" in the comments section below. It was a great night of fights, which was amplified by and absolutely electric crowd. There is much to talk about -- highs, lows, finishes and long-lasting legacies.
How will you remember UFC 134?
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