The opening round is in the books. In the final match-up of the round of 32, and clearly a tough vote for many, Shogun Rua triumphed over Minotauro Nogueira, 78-71. Tough break there for Big Nog. Shogun moves on to face Jon Jones in the Sweet 16.
Before we officially kick-off the Sweet 16, let's take a moment for a few fun notes from the opening round:
- The closest win was Mirko Cro Cop's nail-bitter over Royce Gracie, 83-79. Shogun's win was second closest.
- Both of those wins were #5 seeds upsetting #4 seeds. In fact, it was a bad tournament for #4's, as Randy Couture was the only 4 seed to move on. (#5 Frank Shamrock also upset #4 Mark Hunt, though unlike Cro Cop and Shogun, he did so by a considerable margin.)
- Those were the only upsets so far - every other fight went according to seeding.
- Biggest blow-out went to Fedor Emelianenko who demolished Renan Barao 175-15. That score gave Fedor the highest point total of round 1, though Jose Aldo was right on his heels with 174.
- Lowest point totals went to Takanori Gomi and Jon Fitch with 12 each. Sorry guys.
With that out of the way, let's get the Sweet 16 started. A lot of great matches await us this round, and we kick things off with a tough fight. #3 Dan Henderson (29-11), fresh off his loss to Vitor Belfort, faces the challenge of #2 Kazushi Sakuraba (26-16-1(2)). It's criminal no one made this fight happen in 2001 - we have to settle for this one now. So who moves on and takes the first spot in the Elite 8? You make the call.
In order to vote, simply leave a comment. In the subject line make sure you follow these guidelines:
To vote for Kazushi Sakuraba write: Vote - Sakuraba
To vote for Dan Henderson write: Vote - Henderson
Voting is open for 24 hours, so get your votes in now. Who will be the GOAT?
Updated tournament bracket (click to enlarge):
Thanks to June M. Williams for the tournament bracket graphic.