Sunday, March 3, 2013
Back to the Future; at least for one night
For six years from 2000-2006, Wanderlei Silva ruled the MMA world in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. Already a living legend and future Hall of Famer, the former Pride light-heavyweight champion has seen better days as he had only won three of his previous 10 fights before Saturday night. However, at least for one night on Saturday, the 'Axe Murderer' went back to the future.
On a return trip to Japan, this time as part of a UFC main event, Silva (36-12, 26 KO's 3 subs) turned back the clock as he went toe to toe with contender Brian Stann (12-7, 9 KO's 1 sub) and like he used to do so many times before, took out his opponent in typical 'Axe Murderer' style. However, it was not without anxious moments for Silva and his many fans, myself included, as for the round and a half that it lasted, Silva took as much as he gave.
As a matter of fact, there were a couple of times during exchanges in the first round that Stann buckled Silva with punches and dropped him in his tracks; but Silva was able to immediately recover and shoot for a take down, at the very least to clear his head. Yet, on those couple of occasions he was staggered, he was also able to come back and inflict his own damage; bloodying Stann with a serious cut on the bridge of his nose.
As my buddy Alton Dunham pointed out during an exchange of texts post fight, all respect due to Brian Stann for willing to stand and trade with Silva, which accommodated Japan's adopted son and his fans. Honestly, I, as many, thought that standing and trading with the younger stronger Stann could prove fatal for Silva. Yet, just like a basketball player who is willing to live or die with his jump shot, Silva was willing to live or die by his striking.
Midway through the second round, while aggressively pursing Stann, he caught the former Marine with a straight right hand that rocked him and then dropped him with a crushing left hook follow-up. With Stann falling straight back to the mat, Silva pounced on him with four successive right hands that made their mark and literally stretched Stann out. For one night, 'The Axe Murderer' was back.
Now the question begs, where does he go from here? I personally was hoping he would use the opportunity to go out on top and retire a winner in a main event that took place in Japan where he is revered. He did not do that and while the book is still out on whether he'll fight again, I'm afraid that the warrior he is won't allow him to.
Unfortunately, I think that Wanderlei Silva will fight until he is forced to retire and sadly I think that will be the next time he gets viciously KO'ed; which has happened in four out of his seven previous losses. Nonetheless, instead of dwelling on what may possibly happen in the future, I will rejoice in one of my favorite fighters going back to the future; at least for one night.
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