Silva looks to make it 15 straight wins against Okami at UFC 134 (Photo by Sherdog.com).
UFC Middleweight Title on the Line as UFC Returns to Brazil
The last time UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “Spider” Silva (28-4) suffered a loss, it was over five years ago when he was disqualified for an illegal kick against Yushin Okami (26-5). 14 consecutive wins later, the native Brazilian will now have opportunity to avenge that result when he faces his Japanese counterpart at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 27th.
"Anderson Silva is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” UFC President Dana White said of his middleweight titleholder. “He has won 14 straight and hasn’t lost since January 2006, when he lost a controversial fight against none other than Yushin Okami. Okami is the number two middleweight in the world and a powerhouse in that division. He is the winningest Japanese fighter in UFC history and also the only guy to have beaten the greatest fighter in the world in the last seven years. He wants to do it again, but this time in Anderson’s home country and win the UFC middleweight title. If he does, he will be the first ever Japanese champion."
The trip to Rio marks the first return of the show to Brazil, which is widely regarded as the birthplace of mixed martial arts, since UFC Ultimate Brazil in 1998. The promotion selected the best possible fighter to headline the Brazilian card in Silva, who has defended his middleweight crown a record eight times and has never lost a match since joining the UFC in 2006.
“This is a great opportunity for me to fight in Brazil, close to my home and my family,” Silva stated. “It’s a great opportunity for Yushin and the fans in Japan after all they have been through this year. To see one of their top fighters fighting for the title makes this a special event.”
Okami also comes into this event boasting an impressive run of success, winning 12 of his last 14 pairings and currently riding a three-bout winning streak. Of his 26 career victories, Okami has 13 stoppages to go along with 12 decision wins (and the disqualification over Silva in 2006).
“I understand Anderson has a lot of emotion (fighting in Brazil),” Okami remarked. “This time, it will be in his home country, so I will see him fully focused, at his most dangerous and in the best shape ever when I step into the Octagon. But no matter what, I have to try to smash him with all of my speed, strength and skills. The last time we fought, I felt the pressure of his striking, so I have been sharpening up my striking skills, and though he is the best opponent I have faced, he is the man I have to beat to become the UFC middleweight champion.”
In addition to the middleweight championship showdown, UFC 134 will also showcase some of the other top fighters in the sport, beginning with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua facing Forrest Griffin in the co-main event. Rising heavyweight Brendan Schaub, whose only professional loss was to Roy Nelson in The Ultimate Fighter Finals, also returns to action when he takes on Brazilian veteran Antonio Nogueira.