Saturday night was a big one for Brazilian MMA.
Cast as Brazil vs. the world, UFC: Rio almost exclusively pitted a Brazilian against a non-Brazilian (the exceptions being Canadian Yves Jabouin against American Ian Loveland and two matchups between Brazilians) and, with the exception of Luiz Cane, the card saw a South American sweep.
From top to bottom, the Brazilians came out in force, eager to show their fighting spirit in front of an amped up hometown crowd. Big Nog bounced back to take out Brendan Schaub with a first round knockout. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua faded the memory of his loss to Jon Jones with the absolute smashing of fellow former champion Forrest Griffin. Anderson Silva reminded the world of his greatness with the breathtaking decimation of Yushin Okami.
It was a big night for Brazil and native fighter Thiago Tavares touched on its significance in a recent interview with Tatame.com.
“Rodrigo is a hero… Anderson is the best in the world, like if he was a sort of magician. We just wait for him to cast the spell,” said Tavares. “Seeing Nogueira fighting is like watching a Superman or Rocky Balboa movie. Sometimes they start losing, but then defeat the villain in the end. That’s Rodrigo. Who wasn’t there in UFC Rio missed it. It was awesome. It’s part of the history of the sport. I’ve seen great events in California, England, but UFC Rio was the most exciting event I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Tavares, too, brought home victory to Brazil, with a second-round TKO over the very durable Spencer Fisher. The win brought him back from an emphatic knockout loss to Shane Roller, which went down in March. UFC 134 took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the HSBC Arena.