MMA analysts Ben Fowlkes, Steven Marrocco, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim provide their predictions for UFC 134 on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.
Anderson Silva (28-4-0) vs. Yushin Okami (27-5-0)
Fowlkes Okami's best chance is to try and turn this into a wrestling match, which he can do to a point. Eventually though, Silva is going to sting him with something. Silva by decision.
Marrocco To win this fight, Yushin needs to be a fundamentally different fighter -- all aggression and forward motion. More likely, he'll wait too long, and Silva's deadly rhythm will commence. Silva by TKO.
Wagenheim Okami trains with Chael Sonnen, who really roughed up Silva. So I'm going with ... Silva. Seriously, how can you pick against a guy so skilled, athletic, confident and creative? Silva by TKO.
Wertheim There's no way Silva's going to lose. Just too complete a fighter, motivated by the past, plus he's on his home turf looking for fireworks. Silva by TKO.
Maurício Rua (19-5-0) vs. Forrest Griffin (18-6-0)
Fowlkes A lot depends on whether Rua is in shape, which he insists he is. Still, I like Griffin's chances to use his size and power and wear him down. Griffin by TKO.
Marrocco Don't listen to all of Griffin's midlife griping. He's still stronger against the fence and on the mat, and his technique is still sharper than Rua's. Griffin by decision.
Wagenheim Shogun should have a lot of fight in him, considering that he didn't use up any of it in the Jon Jones bout. Forrest won't back down, but he'll fall down. Rua by TKO.
Wertheim That's a good matchup. It all depends on how easily Shogun's going to shake off that loss to Jon Jones. Rua by decision.
Brendan Schaub (9-1-0) vs. Minotauro Nogueira (32-6-1, 1 NC)
Fowlkes This seems like it's going to be a bad night for Big Nog. Eighteen months away, three surgeries -- at his age, that takes a toll. Schaub is younger and hungrier. Schaub by TKO.
Marrocco Big Nog just has too many miles on his body to keep up with the young guns. Unless Schaub makes a rookie mistake, he should take this. Schaub by TKO.
Wagenheim Since Minotauro last fought (February 2010), Schaub has won four times. One guy is climbing the mountain, and the other guy is the mountain ... but is eroding. Schaub by decision.
Wertheim Schaub's been rising quickly, and Minotauro is deep into his autumn years. Schaub by TKO.
Ross Pearson (14-4-0) vs. Edson Barboza (8-0-0)
Fowlkes Barboza is a nightmare of a style match-up for Pearson. The Brazilian's leg kicks deserve their own horror movie. Pearson will last, but just barely. Barboza by decision.
Marrocco The tall and lanky Barboza can more than match the Pearson's striking. The Brit will try to take it down and play it safe, but omewhere along the line, the Brazilian puts him away. Barboza by TKO.
Wagenheim Barboza is unbeaten, but he's not faced the likes of Spencer Fisher, Cole Miller or Dennis Silver. Pearson has ... and beat two of them. Pearson by decision.
Wertheim Barbaoza's never lost and there's little reason to think he will here. Pearson is Fight of the Night potential, but just doesn't have the skills. Barboza by TKO.
Luiz Cane (12-3-0, 1 NC) vs. Stanislav Nedkov (11-0-0)
Fowlkes Cane's aggression has proven tough for many opponents to deal with, and I doubt it will be different here. This ought to end quickly. Cane by TKO.
Marrocco Cane has faced far-more top tier competition and is a terror in the striking department. He wins this easily. Cane by TKO.
Wagenheim Cane has the advantage of UFC experience, but how much of an edge is it, really, if you're 4-3 in the Octagon? Nedkov has done nothing but win. Nedkov by TKO.
Wertheim Galvanized by fighting at home, Cane wins in typically rapid fashion. Cane by TKO.
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