Anderson Silva gets revenge in the UFC's first trip to Rio de Janeiro

The UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro for the 12th time on Saturday for UFC 301. Before that, take a look back at another time the UFC was in Rio.
UFC 134 - Rio de Janeiro
UFC 134 - Rio de Janeiro / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

The UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro for the 12th time on Saturday for UFC 301. The first time the Octagon touched down in Rio, was on August 17, 2011, for UFC 134. On a card loaded with some of the best Brazilian fighters in the UFC, including Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Edson Barboza, and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, the event was built around middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Coming off two of his most iconic performances, a fifth round triangle submission victory over Chael Sonnen and a front kick knockout of Vitor Belfort, Silva was at the height of his popularity. He was the perfect fighter to headline the UFC's first trip to Brazil in 13 years and the UFC booked the perfect opponent.

For his ninth title defense, Silva would be fighting Yushin Okami. Okami was responsible for Silva's last defeat. Although Okami was awarded the victory as the result of an illegal up-kick that rendered him unable to continue, it was a win nonetheless and Silva was visibly upset over the result.

In the five years since that fight at Rumble on the Rock 8, Silva strung together14 straight victories, 12 of those by stoppage. Okami had won 10 of his last 12 and had earned his shot at Silva's UFC title after a win over former title challenger Nate Marquardt.

By the time the main event started, the crowd was at a fevered pitch. Four of the previous five fights ended by knockout and the lone decision earned Fight of the Night honors. The bad blood between the two combatants was obvious as they refused to touch gloves before their fight.

Many believed Okami would follow the blueprint set out by Sonnen and try to overwhelm Silva with a smothering grappling game, wearing him out in the clinch and battering him on the ground. Silva was the most dynamic striker on the planet and the thought was that if he could keep the fight at distance it would be an easy night at the office.

As the fight began the champion came out in typical fashion, feinting at Okami to try to draw out his defenses and counters. For the most part, Okami was able to avoid the devastating muay thai game of Silva and was able to control him against the cage for nearly two minutes. With less than 10 seconds left in the round, Silva connected with a left head kick that wobbled Okami. As the buzzer ended the round, Silva connected with a knee to the body. Going in to the second round it appeared that silva had found his rhythm.

The second round started at a much faster pace than round one as both men started letting go with their strikes. At roughly 30 seconds in to the round it appeared Silva had figured Okami out. He dropped his hands and walked in to punching range using his trademark head movement to slip Okami's punches. For fans familiar with Silva, they knew this typically meant the end was near. With his hands at his hips, Silva delivered a crushing jab that sent Okami to the mat. Silva backed up, hands on his hips, waiting for Okami to get back up.

When Okami returned to his feet, it was clear that he was outmatched. Frozen in anticipation of what was coming back at him, Okami was hesitant to strike. When he finally did engage Silva dropped him again with a right hand. From there Silva rained down ground and pound until referee Herb Dean called a stop to the action at 2:04 of the second round.

Silva had earned his revenge and defended his belt for a record ninth time. He would continue his reign of dominance for another two fights, pushing his UFC win streak to 16 fights, a record that still stands to this day.


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