Anderson Silva‘s next fight will not be against Georges St. Pierre. Instead, Silva will have a chance to avenge his last career loss against Yushin Okami. Silva vs Okami will headline UFC 134 in Silva’s home country of Brazil.
Silva vs. Okami will give Silva a chance to avenge his last career loss which came over five years ago prior to entering the UFC. Okami defeated Silva at Rumble on the Rock 8 in the opening round of a welterweight tournament. Both men were on the ground when Silva nailed Okami with a sick kick from his back while Okamia was on his knees. Silva lost the fight via disqualification due to kicking Okami while he was down.
Silva vs. Okami will headline the first UFC in Brazil since 1998. UFC 134 or UFC: RIO will only be the second UFC event ever held in the place some call the home of mixed martial arts. Anderson Silva will finally get the home town fight he has wanted as he returns home to theoretically headline the show. With Silva on top and a popularity surge in Brazil coming off the Vitor Belfort win, he is surely to receive a hero’s welcome in September.
Okami’s style is of a ground and grinder and that is the kind of a fighter who has been most successful against Silva. Silva lost his first round in the UFC against Dan Henderson who took him down and grinded him for one round. Chael Sonnen did the same thing with much more success at UFC 117. However, Silva did beat both men and in my opinion, is highly underrated on the ground which will probably give Okami a slight edge with the oddsmakers.
In watching back the first fight, Okami did really well against Silva. Okami was in an advantageous position on the ground when the fight was stopped although Silva was defending off his back and remained incredibly calm as Okami hovered. To be fair, the fight was over five years ago so it really isn’t fair to handicap the rematch off of the first fight. Although I would be willing to bet that Joe Rogan will rant about this fight endlessly in the countdown special. Silva has won 14 straight since the loss while Okami has gone 12-3.
If styles make great fights I am not sure how appealing this fight is. Okami isn’t necessarily a striker, although he has nine career knockouts. Silva’s most entertaining fights seem to come against those good strikers. Fighters like Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort seem to push Silva into a more aggressive offense as opposed to a defensive approach that he seems to take against guys that are less of a threat on their feet.
Okami is coming off a three fight win streak. Okami was scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 128 until the UFC canceled the fight due to Sonnen’s legal issues. Dana White cites Okami’s win over Nate Marquardt at UFC 122 as the win that earned him the title shot. Of all the middleweights Okami is probably most deserving of the title shot, yet again I can’t imagine this being a marketable fight to the casual MMA crowd.
I also think this fight opens up the door to Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz in a UFC v s. Strikeforce welterweight title unification match. Even before the Zuffa purchase, Dana White has always praised Nick Diaz. With the Silva fight off the table, a draw in the Penn vs. Fitch fight, and that rematch off the table, there really are no viable welterweight contenders waiting in the wings for GSP. My hunch is that GSP won’t fight again until December which gives the company plenty of time to iron out any contractual issues that may hold off that fight.
UFC 134 takes place in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in the HSBC Arena on August 27, 2011.