UFC® RIO Silva vs Okami at HSBC Arena on Saturday, August 27, 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Photos by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) via UFC.com
In the semi-main event of UFC 134: Rio, Mauricio Rua stopped Forrest Griffin with strikes in the first round. This was Shogun's first fight back after losing his Light Heavyweight title to Jon Jones in a lopsided defeat earlier this year. He now improves to 4-3 in the UFC, plus gains revenge for his 2007 upset loss to Griffin in Rua's UFC debut. Forrest was on a 2 fight win streak that he sees come to an end here.
Heading into the fight, the big questions surrounded Rua's health and Griffin's mental state, and neither looked perfect. Rua showed good striking, but still had some mobility problems stemming from his recent years of knee troubles. For Griffin, the fight was another uninspired affair where the former champion did not appear motivated or focused in any way. Forrest built his career out of passion and drive, and with those two elements gone, it's kind of hard to watch.
What was the high spot of this fight?
The end was swift and violent - exactly what you want from a Shogun fight.
Where do these guys go from here?
Despite any shortcomings in his performance, Shogun moves right back into the title hunt here. With Jones vs. Quinton Jackson set for next month, and Rashad Evans waiting in the wings, Rua likely needs one more fight before getting a chance at the belt. Best options would be a rematch with Rampage (if he loses to Jones) or a showdown with Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson, which would make a great fight for the Fox show.
For Forrest Griffin, I really don't know. He just doesn't have the fire, and so it's hard to say where he fits in. I don't want to see him in there with the next generation of fighters, but he's also already faced most of the big names in the division. He could move into a Rich Franklin role, but against who? He's a great personality for the sport who shouldn't leave it behind by any means, but having a reduced role in the cage is probably a good idea.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. It's short, full of emotion from the Brazilian crowd, and welcomes Shogun back to the top.
More BE coverage of UFC 134 in the full entry.