UFC 134 Recap: Big Nog shows he still has something left

nullWas it the scene, or is Antonio Minotauro Nogueira back?

A spirited effort by “Big Nog” allowed him to pick up a win over Brendan Schaub by knockout in the first round of UFC 134.

Nogueira, who had lost two of his last three by knockout, showed an improved chin against Schaub, taking some big punches early in the fight.

The longer the fight remained standing, the more it looked like it was just a matter of time before the Brazilian legend got knocked out by the rising American star.

Instead, Nogueira flashed some of his boxing and landing a big straight punch that stunned Schaub. From there, a flurry of fists flatlined Schaub and gave Nogeuira one of his biggest wins of his career, due to the fact he was fighting in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

I would debate that the loudest roar to come from that energized UFC 134 crowd came when Big Nog knocked out Schaub.

Now, the question for Nogeuira is what is next? Is he still a legit contender in a crowded heavyweight division.

I would personally like to see him square off with the likes or Frank Mir or Shane Carwin next.

A win over someone of that caliber puts him in line to be a top-5 member of the heavyweight division.


UFC 134 Recap: What’s left for Forrest Griffin

nullOne of the major stories to come out of UFC 134 Saturday night was Forrest Griffin suffering another KO loss, this time to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (AP Photo).

Griffin is now 2-3 in his last five fights, with all three losses coming by knockout.

Griffin didn’t look good at all in the fight, as he attempted some ugly high kicks that were very slow in delivery. His boxing has always been a strength for him, but it didn’t do him any good against Shogun.

Rua was able to tear right through him and leave us with another image of Griffin out of the cage before hands were raised.

Shogun is now back in the light heavyweight title picture while we are left to wonder what is next for the original Ultimate Fighter winner.

In the last few years, Griffin has now lost convincingly to two of the top light heavyweights and the middleweight champion.

His two wins were close decisions over the likes of Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin, who are also lost in the light heavyweight shuffle.

While a third match with Ortiz or a rematch with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson may make sense in terms of dollars, it seems pretty clear that Griffin will never contend for a championship again.


UFC 134 Recap – Silva still the man

nullIt’s hard to know what to say after watching Anderson Silva run through another opponent (AP Photo).

The first thought is, Wow! This guy is amazing.

But, then, you chew on the fight for a little while and you are left with this thought: What was Yushin Okami doing?

Coming into this fight I said all that stood in Okami’s way of winning this UFC Middlweight Championship fight was his aggression.

Sure enough, Okami played right into Silva’s hands. He didn’t pressure. He didn’t attempt a takedown. He didn’t get into a “fight” as Chael Sonnen would call it.

What part of standing around and letting Silva pick you apart did Okami think was going to help him win?

Even he had to know when Silva stood right in front of him with his hands down that he was screwed.

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UFC 134 Picks & Predictions

nullUFC 134 takes place on Saturday night from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has an exciting main card.

Here are my picks for tonight’s featured bouts.

UFC Middleweight Championship – Anderson Silva (28-4) vs. Yushin Okami (27-5) – Okami has the right skill set to actually pull off this upset, but he lacks the one thing that he truly needs to win …. aggression. Chael Sonnen had success against Silva by coming out fast and not letting Silva get settled in. If you watch Silva’s fights, he likes to take the first two minutes to dance around and develop a timing for his opponent. Once he has found it, he starts to dance a little and that is when the fight is usually over. Okami can’t let Silva get comfortable, but I fear he will. For that reason, I see Silva scoring a knockout in the second round.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-5) vs. Forrest Griffin (18-6) – Griffin won the first fight and I think he wins the second. I think this is a bad matchup for Rua because Griffin is a “dog” that will keep coming at him and push a pace that Shogun can’t handle. I see Rua tiring again in the middle of the fight, which will allow Griffin to control the fight on the ground and with his boxing. I pick Griffin by decision in an upset.

Heavyweight Bout – Antonio Minotauro Nogeuira (32-6-10 vs. Brendan Schaub (9-1) – I love the heart that Nogueira has, but I think his chin has taken a beating over the years and eventually Schaub will catch him with a knockout punch. Nogueira has the edge on the ground if the fight goes there, but he lacks the wrestling ability to takedown the likes of Schaub, who is a strong and burly heavyweight. I pick Schaub to win this fight by knockout in the first round.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Ross Pearson (14-4) vs. Edson Barboza (8-0) – Pearson is a tough fighter that likes to scrap, but it would be difficult to prepare for the type of leg kicks he will see against Barboza. After being hit with a few of those, it can completely throw a fighter off his game. For that reason, I see Barboza winning by decision as he will land the most effective strikes and control the pacing and style of the fight.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Luiz Cane (12-3) vs. Stanislav Nedkov (11-0) – Cane has been an all-or-nothing fighter as of late. His last three fights have ended in the first round, two of them saw him getting knocked out. In this fight, he takes on a fighter in Nedkov that can go to the ground and stay standing. If Cane can keep the fight standing, I think he can win, but he doesn’t have great technical skills, and I think that opens the door for Nedkov to get him to the ground and control him. I will take Nedkov to win his debut by decision in this one.


UFC 134 Weigh-In Results: All Fighters Hit Weight

nullWeigh ins for UFC 134 took place on Friday afternoon and each of the competing fighters made weight for Saturday’s card.

In the main event, UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, received a hero’s welcome from the Brazilian fans as he weighed in at 184 pounds while his opponent, Yushin Okami, came in at 183 pounds.

The 183 pounds was somewhat surprising for Okami, who typically fights near 200 pounds come fight night.

Following the weigh in, the two had a mild stare down, but lacked intensity leading up to the fight.

In the co-main event, both Forrest Griffin and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua came in at exactly 205 pounds. The two also had a distant stare down where they didn’t get to close to each other. This fight is a rematch of an upset for Griffin back in 2007. Griffin was booed heavily by the crowd while Rua had the full support of the arena.

For complete weigh-in results from UFC 134, check out the jump.

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