Anderson Silva broke Yushin Okami last night at UFC 134: Rio. When you watch a man who earned a title shot in the cage afraid to even attempt to throw a punch at his opponent whose hands are at his waist, you're seeing a beaten man.
It was clear just how much Silva was gathering information in round one, the announce team of Mike Goldberg and Kenny Florian were not incorrect about that. After watching Okami come up short in the first round after being unable to really do any effective work when he had Silva clinched against the cage, one had the feeling that Silva would feel safe and start to bring the fight. That's just what he did coming out in the second round.
Seeing Silva be able to use such perfect defensive timing and head movement while avoiding the punches of Okami was incredible, remembering that he is using such a reflex based style at thirty-six years-old was mindblowing.
- Yushin Okami's wrestling continues to look less and less impressive. The gigantic strength that the UFC touted with Okami never seemed to bother Silva in the clinch or anywhere else.
- I'm still not sold on Mauricio Rua's health and ability in the UFC. His movement is really ugly and he leaves openings but he is one of the best finishers in the sport. Once he hurt Forrest Griffin, he was not going to give him a chance to recover. I do, however, ask that people be smart enough to realize that not selling every win as all roses and being somewhat critical is not "hating" it's being responsible in analysis. Shogun looks like he doesn't fully trust his knee yet, or maybe it's simply never going to be stable again. Either way, I don't really like his movement.
- Forrest Griffin is done. He looked disinterested and continues to react very poorly to getting hit. He checked out very early in this fight.
- From a purely fan standpoint, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira knocking out Brendan Schaub was among the most emotional moments since I started following MMA. He wasn't in his best shape and rushed back from injury to take a fight which he'd have been a fairly heavy underdog in even if he was 100%. Instead of phoning it in against a younger man who was expected to beat him, Nogueira came forward and pushed the action before landing a beautiful combo that finished off Schaub. It took me an extra 5 minutes to get the live blog updated as I was screaming at my TV and celebrating.
- I still think Ross Pearson beat Edson Barboza. I've watched the fight three times now and Pearson pretty clearly wins rounds one and three in my eyes. Both men had good moments but the timing and combination striking of Pearson was very impressive as he put on a good show in his opponent's "back yard."
- Luiz Cane has no excuse for losing to Stanislov Nedkov other than that he didn't follow up on a hurt opponent and stopped mixing up his strikes. Cane's career will be looked back on as a pretty big disappointment in his inability to improve from fight-to-fight despite a very solid skillset.
- Rousimar Palhares' premature celebration was a bizarre and slightly embarrassing moment, but it was almost a complete disaster as he was almost knocked out right afterward by Dan Miller. Still, Palhares really put a beating on Miller and did a very good job of not giving up position on a man he was dominating to look for a leg lock. He did manage to break a laundry list of rules though and he does mix a pretty horrible tendency to "cheat" in with his backstory, it's like he wants to make sure that you can never truly emotionally invest in him.
- But seriously, Palhares' celebration before the fight had been stopped was pretty embarrassing.