It’s that time once again: another major MMA event has come and gone, and it’s time for my unofficial “Best Performance of the Night” award. UFC 134 “Silva vs. Okami” featured some pretty awesome performances, with several of the UFC’s biggest Brazilian stars taking home major stoppage victories. But the most complete, dominant performance had to have been the main event. Here’s why Anderson Silva’s outright destruction of Yushin Okami took home “Best Performance of the Night”.
Let’s begin as we always do, fans and friends: by putting the situation into context.
When Anderson Silva walked into the cage at UFC 134, he was already a legend. Aside from a few bizarre performances (which he still won), Silva had done nothing but take the UFC’s Middleweight division by storm since he made his UFC debut in 2006. Silva’s reign of destruction has already passed the five-year mark, and October 2011 will mark the five-year anniversary of Silva’s original UFC Middleweight Championship win over Rich Franklin.
Silva’s UFC 134 opponent, Yushin Okami, was the last man to defeat Anderson Silva, albeit by disqualification. While Silva’s flashy finishes earned him the attention of millions, Okami’s grinding style of short, stocky punches and fierce Ground and Pound led to him developing a sizable underground following while never really connecting with the mainstream MMA fan. By the time he finally got a rematch with Silva, many of Okami’s hardcore fans had been saying for years that he deserved the next title shot.
When the fight began, it was clear that Okami was confident in his abilities. He pressed the attack, he got Anderson Silva up against the cage, and he started working the body. Silva seemed content to eat a few shots so long as he didn’t eat anything too powerful and could figure out Okami’s gameplan. When the time was right, Silva started firing back with punches, kicks, and vicious knee strikes to the body.
Okami’s confidence began to really falter near the end of Round 1. It was a close round, admittedly, but Silva more than likely won it thanks to a round-ending kick. In the second round, Silva struck: with a combination of fast strikes, Okami felt Silva’s power and he began to fade. Silva then began dropping his hands and inviting Okami to come in and strike. And in a manner very similar to Silva’s standout performance against Forrest Griffin, Silva rocked Okami with a succession of stiff jabs, and ultimately followed them up with other strikes to get the dominant TKO stoppage.
In this fight, Anderson Silva simply did what he does best. He took a round or so to figure out his opponent, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t do anything in the first round. Quite the contrary, Silva went tit-for-tat with Okami. In the second round, we saw classic Anderson Silva domination: first he attacked the spirit of his opponent, and then the body. And both crumbled.
As a massive Anderson Silva fan, I was beyond happy to see him win again, and in such devastating fashion, at UFC 134. With this win, Silva extends his dual records: he still has the longest UFC win-streak of all time, and he’s still successfully defended his belt more times than any other UFC champion. At thirty-six years of age, Anderson Silva is a living legend. It’s a pleasure to see him do what he does best.