For the first time in almost seven years Wanderlei Silva returned to his fighting home of Japan at the UFC on FUEL TV 8, from Saitama Super Arena, in Tokyo. Silva met “All American” Brian Stann in what will surely go down as one of Silva’s career-defining moments.
When the blood had been wiped away and the dust settled, “The Axe Murderer” stood victorious over a lifeless Stann, in what was a vintage Wanderlei Silva KO.
The two fighters opened the fight with reckless abandon, trading shots and wielding haymakers with little regard for their safety. Both fighters were floored in the opening round, but no doubt, Silva took the brunt end of the violence from the surging Stann. On more than one occasion, it looked as if Silva was on wobbly legs and on the verge of being knocked out. Visions of recent Silva performances had to be running wild through Silva’s legions of fans. Silva weathered the early storm, however, and the two fighters traded with insane violence as the opening round closed.
To say it was the round of the year would be an understatement.
At the start of the second round the ferocity continued as both fighters exchanged with flurries. Stann, with crimson mask of blood across his face, stalked Silva with workmanlike composure. It was evident to all watching that at any moment either fighter could be put out. At 4:08 of the second frame, Silva threw an overhand right and followed it up with a left hook as Stann fell to the mat. And at that very moment, Wanderlei Silva was back, as Stann was out cold from the onslaught.
An elated Silva stormed the cage and the Japanese faithful erupted with a roar as they cheered their once – and seemingly once again – great champion.
After the fight Silva thanked the Japanese fans for the years of support, “Thank you for my friends in Japan. I’m so proud to fight for you.” Silva continued on speaking about his gameplan and then exclaimed, “I’m very happy to be back home, in Japan!”
This fight makes Silva (4-5) in the world’s premiere fighting organization, but this fight won’t be remembered for anything other than what it was; Wanderlei Silva getting a knockout in Japan. Silva showed a chin that has rarely been seen in recent years, as he weather a vicious onslaught from Stann early. Along with a seemingly improved chin, Silva matched Stann power-for-power, and speed-for-speed – something many pundits thought impossible during the lead up to this fight.
Post-fight a dejected Stann held his head high and showered Silva with praise, “Wanderlei is one of my favorite fighters of all-time. He’s one of the reasons I got started in this sport. It was an honor to be a part of this fight. “
As Stann looked in the camera, with his face bloodied and battered, he began to tear up as the moment snuck up on him, “. I’m very proud to be a part of this, even though my heart is broken right now.”
If having a bloodied and beaten opponent literally cry in front of you and thank you for the beating received, isn’t the biggest honor a fighter can receive, then I don’t know what is.