Anderson Silva re-emphasized his standing as the greatest MMA fighter of the world, but he did so for the first time in his home country of Brazil. After twice dropping the highly regarded Yushin Okami in round two with a perfectly timed punch to the head, barrages of punches from the top soon followed, prompting the referee to call the bout to a halt. It was vintage Spider, who displayed his usual dazzling speed, cat-like reflexes and most importantly, his finesse and flash that just can’t be replicated inside the Octagon.
A performance akin to that of the middleweight champ’s destruction of Forrest Griffin, Okami was simply overmatched, unable to neither initiate any offense nor sustain any effective output. Silva extends his unbeaten UFC streak to fourteen and successfully defended his middleweight crown for the ninth time.
The co-main event in Rio featured Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, who avenged his loss to Forrest Griffin in a rematch between two former light heavyweight champions. Shogun was sharp, creating distance to measure his striking. Griffin looked a bit listless and got dropped by a right hand to the head, allowing Rua to follow up with a series of hammerfists. The referee soon stepped in, giving Rua the victory at the 1:53 mark of the first round.
Former heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira revived his career in an exciting first round stoppage win over the streaking Brendan Schaub in a legend vs. up-and-coming contender type match up. Both fighters shared exchanges and the early going appeared to favor the American, who was able to stun the hometown veteran. The much more experienced Nogueira effectively used his clinch to push Schaub against the cage and landed a hard right hand that dropped his younger foe face-first on the canvas. It only took another hard shot to finish off Schaub, causing the ref to step in at 3:09. With the win, Nogueira gets back on the winning column, after suffering a devastating loss to current champion Cain Velasquez back in UFC 110.
In the other fights, Paulo Thiago bounced back from two consecutive losses to win in front of his home country against David Mitchell. It was a one-sided fight that saw Thiago use superior grappling and effective aggression to grind out a unanimous decision. Jungle Fight’s welterweight champion Erick Silva impressed in his UFC debut,quickly disposing Luis Ramos with an overhand right. After a quick ground and pound follow up, the ref stopped the contest at the :40 mark. The best fight of the night saw Rousimar Palhares and Dan Miller taking turns nearly knocking each other out before going the distance over three rounds. Palhares dropped Miller and relented after a short attack from the top, assuming that the fight was over. Palhares jovially got on top of the cage to celebrate before referee Herb Dean informed the Brazilian fighter that the fight was not finished. As the fight resumed, Miller recuperated and landed a devastating punch of his own, nearly stopping his foe all within the same round. Palhares dominated with a series of punches from the top in round two and secured the unanimous decision victory after three rounds.