Last weekend, Brazilian fighters very nearly swept the UFC: Rio fight card, the only exception being Luiz Cane, who lost via TKO to Bulgarian Stanislav Nedkov. Anderson Silva took out Yushin Okami, Mauricio Rua beat Forrest Griffin, Big Nog knocked out Brendan Schaub and the list continues — it was a good weekend for Brazilian MMA fans.
Luke Rockhold is predicting a major harshing of that buzz, though; the 26-year-old American Kickboxing Academy product recently told MMAJunkie.com that he and his teammates Daniel Cormier, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Mike Kyle will all be defeating the Brazilians that they’re currently matched up against.
“We’ve got four AKA fighters vs. four Brazilians, and I think we’re going to sweep this one,” said Rockhold. “Sorry about that one, Brazil.”
In the biggest fight of his young career, Rockhold will face Strikeforce middleweight champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza this September 10 at Strikeforce 36. Cormier will be taking on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the semi-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Lawal is to fight Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard Roger Gracie and Kyle will be taking on the unheralded Marcos Rogerio de Lima, all at Strikeforce 36. Rockhold explained that the unity formed with his teammates by simultaneously preparing for battle will carry them all to victory.
“All our coaches — everyone’s head is in the game,” he said. “We’re pushing each other through training, through the downs and the ups, and we’re just trying to build each other up and keep each other motivated.”
Officially (and wordily) titled Strikeforce: World Heavyweight Grand Prix –- Barnett vs. Kharitonov goes down at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio and will feature GP semi-final bouts between Josh Barnett and Sergei Kharitonov, as well as Cormier and Silva.