With a crowd that was loud and chanting from the very first fight to an exciting slate of fights, the UFC's trip to Rio delivered. But which stars loomed as large as the Christ the Redeemer statue?
No. 1 star -- Anderson Silva: My brother sent me a text message after the Silva KO that said, "Silva is Jordan/Gretzky-esque." As much as it pains me to agree with him, my brother is completely correct. Both Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky were constantly taking your breath away, as they completed feats that seemed superhuman while making it look easy. Those head feints that come from the core? The effortless striking that still busted up Yushin Okami's face? Rank those with Jordan's fadeaway jumper or Gretzky's slapshot, and appreciate that we get to witness greatness every time Silva steps into the Octagon.
No. 2 star -- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: The 35-year-old with 40 fights under his belt showed that he still has plenty left in the tank. He started by using a strong chin and good defense as he avoided Brendan Schaub's power shots. Then, he landed a few power shots of his own, knocking out a younger, faster Schaub, causing the fans in Rio to go absolutely insane. I doubt the celebration has yet ceased.
No. 3 star -- Erick Silva: Lost among the hubbub of the main card was a beautiful KO by Silva, an up-and-coming star from Nogueira's gym in Rio. He started his UFC career with a 0:40 knockout, and then celebrated with a Matrix-esque backflip off the cage. That kind of striking will make fight fans clamor for what's next.
Who were your Three Stars? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook.
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- Anderson Silva
- Wayne Gretzky
- Michael Jordan
- Yushin Okami