Wanderlei Silva is deservingly very proud of his KO win over Brian Stann, and he even goes so far as to say it was on of The UFC’s best fights ever.
Wanderlei and Brain Stann react to the fight’s KO stoppage. Wanderlei is thrilled to pull off another win in Japan, and Stann knew what he was risking as soon as he agreed to fight Silva. Both men were given $50,000 for fight-of-the-night honors, and Silva was given an additional $50,000 for knock-out-of the-night award.
Wanderlei Silva returns to his old winning ways with a dashing KO of Brian Stann. This marks Wanderlei’s first bout at 205 since he lost to Rampage Jackson at UFC 92. This is also the first time Silva has returned to Japan since the UFC/Pride merger.
Wanderlei Silva earned two bonuses, just like he said he would earlier this week, at UFC on FUEL TV 8 Saturday night.
Silva scored the “Fight of the Night” with Brian Stann and the “Knockout of the Night” from his old stomping grounds in Japan.
Mark Hunt, who finished Stefan Struve in the co-main event, was also awarded “Knockout of the Night.”
Each bonus carried with it $50,000, so “The Axe Murderer” earned himself an extra $100,000 on top of his salary.
Wanderlei Silva doesn’t have any thoughts about retirement in his mind right now.
Instead, the former PRIDE champion and legend is focusing solely on his bout this evening vs. Brian Stann at UFC on FUEL TV 8.
Silva, who rose to icon status while competing in Japan, knows the end is nearing. But, that doesn’t mean he still can’t go out and put on “Fight of the Night” quality performances – just, plan on them being at light heavyweight and not middleweight from now on.
“For 185, I would have had to lose 20 pounds, and it’s just too hard,” said Silva, during the pre-fight press conference earlier this week. “He accepted the fight at 205. It’s better now; too much diet’s hard.”
The return to Japan seems to have given “The Axe Murderer” a spark, as he said, “I am so proud to be fighting here. I had the best moments of my career (in the country), and on Sunday, I am going to give you a great show for the fans.”
As for that retirement question, Silva only said “not yet,” when asked about hanging up the gloves for good.
When Brian Stann wanted to watch an MMA fight, he usually found himself seeking out a Wanderlei Silva match.
Now, Stann is just hours away from facing the legend known as “The Axe Murderer” in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 8 this evening.
Add in the fact that the contest takes place in Japan, where Silva became a living legend, and it would be of no surprise if “The All-American” was a little shell-shocked standing in the cage.
For Stann, though, all of that is of no value right now. Instead, he’s focusing solely on the fight; afterwards will be a time for reflection and hopefully friendship.
“My favorite fighter was Wanderlei Silva,” said Stann, during the pre-fight press conference earlier this week. “Watching his fight in PRIDE, I would marvel at his tenacity in the ring, and the way he carried himself outside the ring. I am so happy to get this opportunity to face him in his return to Japan. I am very honored to be his opponent.
“(But) I have to put all that (other stuff) aside for right now. Sitting here now, I look across at Wanderlei Silva and he’s forgotten more about MMA than I will never know. But I have to put all that aside, put on the best performance I can to beat him.”
Stann, a former WEC champion, also confirmed that he will return to middleweight after this bout.
As for that friendship path, he stated, “like everyone I’ve fought before, I have life-long relationships with (them). Hopefully I can have that with Wanderlei, as well.”
One of the biggest issues that fans had with Fuel TV cards prior to UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Saitama, Japan was that many fans couldn’t even get the channel. That all came to an end in February 2013: Zuffa and Comcast came to an agreement to air Fuel TV to over 22 million Xfinity TV customers. As a result, Fox has clearly put pressure on the UFC to start putting significant cards on their Fuel TV channel.
Since last year, the UFC’s programming has played a big part in growing Fuel TV’s viewership by more than 100 percent. At the same time, there was almost no original programming on Fuel TV before the UFC, so the growth has to be taken in context. Either way, it seems to be clear that this weekend’s card is the best Fuel TV card ever and that is a direct result of Fox’s pressure on the UFC to produce even more ratings for Fuel TV.
Past cards have been dismal at best. Chan-Sung Jung and Dustin Poirier, two fighters with almost no name value to the casual fan, headlined a Fuel TV card in May of 2012. The co-headliner of this bout, Stefan Struve, was in the main event of a Fuel TV card with Stipe Miocic. Other than the first Fuel TV card that featured Diego Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger, it is clear that top to bottom, UFC on Fuel TV 8 is the most powerful Fuel TV card to date.
We have Wanderlei Silva: the aging legend who is trying to regain his past glory. We have Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve in a fight that can’t be boring. We have former contender Diego Sanchez taking on the surging veteran in Takanori Gomi. And finally, we have two contenders tying to work their way to a title shot with Siyar Bahadurzada and Dong Hyun-Kim.
Compare this card with UFC on Fuel 6 that featured Rich Franklin, Cung, Le, and Stanislav Nedkov in the two main bouts and you’ll see the difference. Fans wanted better fights on free TV. On March 2, that is exactly what that will get.
Is this the best Fuel TV card? Get at me @samgenovese on Twitter.
The UFC returns to Japan on Saturday, and will bring back a fighter who became in icon in the country.
Former PRIDE champion Wanderlei Silva is set to face Brian Stann in the main event from Saitama and the Saitama Super Arena at UFC on FUEL TV 8.
Weigh-ins for the card took place earlier this evening, and are listed below.
MAIN CARD (FUEL TV)
Wanderlei Silva (204 lbs.) vs. Brian Stann (206 lbs.)
Mark Hunt (266 lbs.) vs. Stefan Struve (260 lbs.)
Takanori Gomi (156 lbs.) vs. Diego Sanchez (158 lbs.)
Yushin Okami (185 lbs.) vs. Hector Lombard (186 lbs.)
Mizuto Hirota (146 lbs.) vs. Rani Yahyha (146 lbs.)
Dong Hyung Kim (171 lbs.) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (171 lbs.)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
Riki Fukuda (186 lbs.) vs. Brad Tavares (185 lbs.)
Takeya Mizugaki (136 lbs.) vs. Bryan Caraway (135 lbs.)
Cristinao Marcello (156 lbs.) vs. Kazuki Tokudome (155 lbs.)
Alex Caceres (136 lbs.) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (135 lbs.)
Marcelo Guimaraes (171 lbs.) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (171 lbs.)
On March 2, 2013 in Saitama, Japan, Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann will headline UFC on Fuel TV 8. The 36- year-old Brazilian is sure to draw a lot of interest from the local Japanese crowed. After all, Japan was where he first made a name for himself, fighting for PRIDE and ultimately winning the 2003 PRIDE Grand Prix in Tokyo.
The co-main event of the night features a heavyweight tilt between Stefan Struve and Mark Hunt. This marks the first UFC event in Japan since UFC 144 on February 25, 2012. UFC on Fuel TV 8 looks to be one of the strongest Fuel TV cards yet, and it seems clear that the UFC has dedicated more time and effort to creating quality cards on Fuel TV. Certainly, there is increased pressure from FOX to generate higher ratings on their subsidiary channel. Fans won’t be complaining about quality fights on free TV any time soon.
Marcelo Guimaraes (8-0-1, 1-0 UFC) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (10-3-1, 0-0 UFC)
The time-difference and jetlag is a prominent factor in these lower-level, evenly-matched bouts that take place in Japan. For that reason, I lean towards Japanese and Korean fighters in these preliminary bouts. Hyun Gyu Lim is a quick finisher and Marcelo Guimaraes didn’t impress me much in his win over Daniel Stittgen. Lim takes it via submission.
Alex Caceres (8-5, 3-3 UFC) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (11-6, 0-0 UFC)
I’ve never been a fan of Alex Caceres. I’ve never gotten over his “Bruce Leeroy” gag on his season of the Ultimate Fighter and he has never struck me as a particularly exciting fighter. He is good enough on the mat to avoid the formidable submission attack of Kyung Ho Kang, but his offense will be completely stifled. Kang wins via decision.
Cristiano Marcello (13-4, 1-1 UFC) vs. Kazuki Tokudome (11-3-1, 0-0 UFC)
Cristiano Marcello has proven to be a one-dimensional grappler in his time in the Octagon. Granted, his grappling is top notch, but Kazuki Tokudome is a legitimate Japanese lightweight who might stick around in the UFC for a few years. Tokudome wins by decision.
Bryan Caraway (17-5, 2-0 UFC) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (16-7-2, 3-2 UFC)
This is the only undercard bout where I am picking the fighter from the Western Hemisphere. In the past Bryan Caraway has shown a propensity for mental mistakes, but I think he can put together a solid game plan to stifle Takeya Mizugaki on the ground. Caraway wins via ugly decision.
Riki Fukuda (19-6, 2-2 UFC) vs. Brad Tavares (9-1, 4-1 UFC)
Riki Fukuda is going to do what Riki Fukuda always does: he will smother Brad Tavares and shut down all offense from the Brazilian. Fukuda wins via decision.
Rani Yahya (17-7, 2-1 UFC) vs. Mizuto Hirota (14-5-1, 0-0 UFC)
Rani Yahya’s game is relatively easy to prepare for. He likes to take down his opponents and maintain dominant positions throughout the fight. Certainly, Mizuto Hirota knows this but it doesn’t mean he can stop it. Hirota also likes to be aggressive with his striking and he’ll get taken down because of that aggression. Yahya wins by decision.
Siyar Bahadurzada (21-4-1, 1-0 UFC) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (16-2-1, 7-2 UFC)
Siyar Bahadurzada is a powerful and exciting fighter but Dong Hyun Kim is a terrible style-matchup for him. The only time a striker has gotten the better of Kim was when Carlos Condit knocked him out with a flying knee; Condit is on a different level than Bahadurzada. Kim will take down his Afghani opponent at will. Kim wins by decision.
Yushin Okami (28-7, 12-4 UFC) vs. Hector Lombard (32-3-1, 1-1 UFC)
Yushin Okami generates much of his offense in the clinch; unfortunately for him, Hector Lombard represented Cuba in the Olympics for judo. Lombard’s hips are fantastic and his power is unmatched in the middleweight division. Okami won’t be able to control the former Bellator MMA star in the clinch. Every time he tries to clinch, Okami risks being tossed to the mat. Lombard will eventually connect with a big hook and it will be “goodnight” for Okami. Lombard wins by knockout.
Diego Sanchez (23-5, 12-5 UFC) vs. Takanori Gomi (34-8, 3-3 UFC)
Diego Sanchez’s constant pressure will provide a lot of problems for Takanori Gomi. Though Gomi put on the best performance of his UFC career in his latest win against Mac Danzig, his conditioning issues will be his undoing in this fight. Sanchez’s pace will be too much for Gomi to handle. Sanchez will have to survive a few scares from Gomi’s powerful hands, but he will ultimately emerge victorious. Sanchez wins via decision.
Stefan Struve (25-5, 9-3 UFC) vs. Mark Hunt (8-7, 3-1 UFC)
This is one of my favorite fights of the year so far. It’s a matchup of strength vs. weakness for both fighters: Stefan Struve’s strong submission game matches up well against Mark Hunt’s poor submission defense. But at the same time, Hunt’s nuclear-powered hands match up extremely well against Struve’s suspect chin. Ultimately, Hunt is going to follow Roy Nelson’s game plan to knock out the Dutchman. Hunt will get inside of the reach of Struve and punch his lights out. Hunt wins via knockout.
Brian Stann (12-5, 6-4 UFC) vs. Wanderlei Silva (34-12-1, 4-7 UFC)
The UFC did no favors with its matchmaking for Wanderlei Silva, who has been knocked out in six out of his last ten bouts. Brian Stann has huge power in both hands and will look to pepper the Brazilian early and often with punches. Silva will have his moments of violence, like he does in almost every UFC fight, but it won’t be enough to defeat Stann. In a bout that could be his last, Silva will be on the receiving end of some big combinations. Stann wins via decision.
What do you think fight fans? Get at me @samgenovese on twitter.
Fans often bemoan the fact that fighters are mortal, as they often want the “old version of fighter x” to return. Wanderlei Silva is one of those fighters whom fans desperately want to return to form. On March 2 on UFC on Fuel TV 8, the 36-year-old Brazilian will take on Brian Stann in Saitama, Japan. The fight really should be Silva’s swansong; however, unless Silva is brutally knocked out, it won’t be. Silva is simply never going to be the brawler he once was. Occasionally, Silva will connect with his trademark flurries of offense, but there is a difference nowadays. In PRIDE, those flurries would finish the fight. Now, opponents like Rich Franklin are able to weather those storms and coast to victories.
Stann is a competent boxer who understands distance, footwork and head-movement. He is a power-puncher to boot. We have seen with guys like Quinton Jackson and Chris Leben that Silva can no longer recover from a shot like before, like he used to in PRIDE. That is one thing fans often forget about the “old” Silva: he took a lot of damage and was dropped quite often. However, he would recover faster than lightning, and was able to dish out his own punishment immediately. Now, when Silva’s chin is touched, he doesn’t get back up.
Silva will have a moment or two in the fight, no doubt. For a while, he’ll show us glimpses of what he once was. He had a three-minute flurry in the fight with Franklin, and he beat Cung Le down. But those flashes of violence are few and far between. Against a seasoned, veteran power-puncher like Stann, he can’t compete over the course of five rounds.
Stann will batter and bruise Silva and win the bout. At the end, nothing will have changed. The fans will all know it is probably time for Silva to retire. But it will take a strong push from Dana White to actually make that happen. Otherwise, Silva will be content to extend his career until the point that he is brutally knocked out once again. An end like that would be sad for such a beloved fighter.