So UFC 134 delivered a lot of what I expected and one thing I did not.
Anderson Silva vs Yushin Okami
Anderson Silva crushed Yushin Okami. Although I did predict a 1st round KO. The fact that it made it to the 2nd round doesn't surprise me too much. I thought Okami had a decent game plan. He tied up Silva and used his slow methodical clinch work/dirty boxing. He actually caught Silva with a couple decent shots. But once Anderson separated, the fight was over. Right at the end of the first round Silva hit Okami with a beautiful head kick and Okami was saved by the bell. In the 2nd round, Silva toyed with Okami until dropping him with a jab. The end came quickly thereafter.
I think the fans want to see if Sonnen can repeat his performance against Silva. That in my opinion is the only fight left for Anderson in the middleweight division. I truly think he should move up to 205 and immediately fight for the title. I think Jones will defeat Rampage at the end of September. Anderson will probably get the winner of Stann/Sonnen and Jones will then fight Rashad. After that, say mid to late 2012 Anderson/Jones could happen. For Okami, maybe someone like Chris Leben.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs Forrest Griffin
Shogun made extremely quick work of Forrest. I did not expect this type of fight. I had heard some rumblings before the fight that Forrest's mind wasn't in fighting anymore and it showed. Forrest is a slower fighter and his decision to stand with Rua, the quicker and superior striker was just insane. Let's also look at the finish. It was shades of his fight with Rashad in which he just took a beating. Put his hands in the air, made no attempt to block or pull guard. Just took a pounding until the referee saved him. I am a fan of Forrest, but I think he's done. He needs to retire or at minimum take some serious time off and try to find that fire to fight again.
Now Shogun didn't really show me anything special. The fight was too quick to see anything. If Forrest would have used his wrestling and made Shogun work, and pushed him into later rounds, then we could have seen if his mental state is still good. Jones beat him badly and if Forrest could have given him some adversity he might have broken Shogun. But we'll never know.
With this win, Shogun is right back in the hunt. My thought is Machida vs Shogun 3. Both are in title contention and people would like to see that fight I believe. Winner could get title crack if Anderson doesn't move up to 205 like I hope.
Edson Barboza vs Ross Pearson
As I predicted, the fight was fun to watch and Dana White agrees giving them the "Fight of the Night" bonus. After a close fight, Barboza won a split decision. Other than being a fun stand-up war to watch, I don't have too many thoughts on this fight. A good hard fight battle.
Going forward, I think Barboza should get a guy like Takanori Gomi or Sam Stout. For Pearson, maybe someone like Mark Bocek.
Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs Brendan Schaub
In my prediction blog, I said that a healthy Nogueira is almost unbeatable and that he has very underrated boxing skills. I predicted that Nog would submit Schaub in the 2nd round. But he utilized those boxing skills to get a 1st round knock out! I truly believe that if Nogueira can stay healthy, he could take one more run at the title.
In conversations with my friends, several of us agreed that Schaub was overrated and didn't belong in any title contention talks. Schaub is a good guy and has potential, but he really needs to work other facets of his game. Schaub is a one dimensional striker and now has 2 knock out losses to show for it. He either needs to get a really good striking coach or start learning clinch work and a ground game. At the rate he's going he'll get knocked out by every decent striker he fights if he doesn't evolve.
Going forward, I would like to see Nogueira fight one of 3 men. A rematch with Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin. I think a victory over any one of those fighters puts him right back into the title hunt. For Schaub I think a fight with the loser of Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo would be entertaining.
Luis Cane vs Stanislav Nedkov
When I was doing my prediction blog I really expected Nedkov to utilize his superior ground game. Instead he chose to stand and strike with Cane. Cane was absolutely picking Nedkov apart until Nedkov caught Cane with a big shot. The fight ended rather quickly from there leaving Nedkov still undefeated.
Moving forward, Cane is in jeopardy of being cut in my opinion. He has lost 3 of his last 4 fights. I think a fight with Ryan Bader would be in order. Loser gets the axe. For Nedkov, I liked to see him fight someone like Vladimir Matyshenko. It would be good test against a tough veteran.
Rousimar Palhares vs Dan Miller
Now I have to comment on this fight. Is Palhares mentally challenged? Now he rocked Miller, and he had him hurt, but at no time did Herb Dean wave him off. This after he decided to stop fighting and complain about Marquardt's leg a couple fights ago that caused him to get knocked out. In his last fight he held a submission well after the referee called the end of the bout. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that there is a language barrier. Hopefully someone in his camp will give him an education on what he should be doing in a fight.
Dan Miller, even though he lost another fight shows just how tough he is. He has 6 losses on his record all by decision. You just can't finish this guy. However, he's definitely in the hot seat now that he's lost 5 of his last 7 fights.
Moving forward, I'd love to see Palhares fight the Demian Maia/Jorge Santiago winner. For Miller it really is tough. He is a tough guy who obviously can't be finished. But he keeps losing to all the upper echelon fighters. I think a fight is in order between Miller and Akiyama. Loser gets shown the door.
Looking back at the UFC 134, it was a good event. Hopefully this will usher in a new era where the UFC goes to Brazil more than once a decade.