History of Violence: The highs and lows of "The Axe Murderer"Posted on June 11, 2012, 07:12 PM by Evan Holober
Violence. That is the first thought that pops into the head of any long-time fan of MMA when it comes to Wanderlei Silva. Unbridled, rampant, bloody, violence. The thought is both good and bad for him, as he is not the only to one to inflict pain when entering the ring/cage with another man. From 1996 to the present day of MMA, one of the things you can guarantee is a Silva fight will consist of him moving forward and looking for the finish. Whether he achieved that finish, or turned into a victim himself was the outcome of his style. With it, he achieved some of the sports' best accomplishments. However, he also experienced a few failures. Here is a list of the best and worst moments of Silva's career.
5) UFC 92: KO'd by Quinton Jackson - Number five on this list might actually be number one on Wanderlei's personal list of losses because of the hatred both men share for one another. After two fights that were back and forth slug-fests ended in emphatic victory Silva, the end of the trilogy did not go as well. The two went toe to toe for the first few minutes where both landed well, but a counter left hook by Rampage ended the night as Wanderlei fell to the mat completely unconscious.
4) UFC 25: Decisioned by Tito Ortiz - A fight that probably did the rest of MMA's history justice, Tito out wrestled Wanderlei to clear decision victory. It's a match that catapulted Ortiz into the UFC's first big win streak, in a time period where MMA in the USA was growing little by little. However, it also saw Silva leave for Japan as he dominated the middle weight division there (200 lbs) for the next 5 years.
3) PRIDE FC - Final Conflict Absolute: KO'd Mirko Filipovic - Unlike their first fight a few years prior, this scrap was not close at all. A Prime "Cro Cop" absolutely obliterated Wanderlei in every facet of the short match until a signature left high kick ended proceedings for the tough Brazilian. Silva's foray in to the heavy weight division was stopped dead in its tracks.
2) UFC Ultimate Brazil: KO'd by Vitor Belfort - In a clip that will live in UFC lore forever, two future legends share the cage with on another. The bell rings, and Silva slowly starts his march forward After a few more seconds Belfort is backed in to the cage, but clips Wanderlei with a straight left. "The Phenom" then unleashes one of coolest finishes in history, as he throws upwards of 20 punches in the next 4 seconds to put Silva away. It was a breathtaking display of speed and athleticism, but a crushing loss for Wanderlei.
1) PRIDE 33: KO'd by Dan Henderson - Silva's loss to Mirko was terrible, but also easily explained as he was not a career HW. He was a light heavyweight that went up, and got beat by the bigger man (even though he weighed more than "Cro Cop" during the fight). He had avenged his only loss at the weight class to Ricardo Arona, so once he was back at his normal weight he would be fine. The problem is he ran in to a reborn Dan Henderson. A "Hendo" that was 100% for the first time in years as he explained because of a new procedure called Testosterone Replacement Therapy, blew out the former light heavyweight king. Wanderlei was lit up on the feet, and taken down a few times until a left hook ended his night (and PRIDE career) in the third round.
5) IVC 10: Defeats Eugene Jackson by Submission (punches) - The final fight for Silva in "International Vale Tudo Championships" saw a massacre. Wanderlei pummeled Eugene everywhere with kicks, knees, and punches until he's had enough and tapped out to stop the onslaught. It was the second to last fight for Silva regional Brazilian promotions (he fought one more time there in 2000), but it was the first with his new nickname "The Axe Murderer".
4) UFC 79: Decisioned by Chuck Liddell - A loss sometimes isn't a loss. I know that makes little sense, but when it comes to the defining match of a generation for MMA all that mattered was it delivered. And did it ever. Chuck and Wanderlei, the two best light heavyweights in the world for years that fought on different sides of the planet finally faced off (a bit past both of their primes). It was huge for MMA, but even bigger when both blasted each other for 3 rounds. Chuck seemed to hurt Wanderlei a few times, and every time he did Silva smiled then walked backward seeming to invite him in. The former PRIDE champion would then unleash his trademark hooks in a blitzkrieg basically trying to take Liddell's head off. Liddell earned the victory by being a little bit more accurate, and sealing the deal in the third with a takedown.
3) PRIDE FC - Critical Countdown Absolute: Defeats Kazuyuki Fujita by TKO - An iron chinned gorilla of a human that had only suffered a stoppage loss because of a cut before to "Cro Cop", Fujita was a beast. Wanderlei was moving up in weight to take part in 2006's open weight grand prix, and in his first round match up he did not disappoint. "The Axe Murderer" absolutely destroyed Fujita stopping the monster with kicks and punches at the end of the first round.
2) PRIDE 13: Defeats Kazushi Sakuraba by TKO - "The Gracie Hunter", "The IQ Wrestler", "The best grappler ever"... ok I made that last one up. Sakuraba was an Icon when he met Silva. He had just received his own belt (The Saku Belt), and was expected to submit Wanderlei as he did almost everyone else. The Brazilian had different plans though. After weathering an early storm, Silva's destructive varied attack started to take its toll and eventually stopped him with soccer kicks in the first. Wanderlei would go on to beat Sakuraba twice more while still competing in PRIDE.
1) PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 & PRIDE 28: Defeats Quinton Jackson by TKO and KO - The first time these two met "Rampage" had just come out of a brawl with Chuck Liddell, and Wanderlei pushed back the tougher than expect challenge of Hidehiko Yoshida. Silva became the first middle weight champion in PRIDE when he stopped Quinton with knees and punches in the first round. Their rematch was promoted heavily after Jackson beat up Ikuhisa Minowa, and power bombed Ricardo Arona. The dislike each had for one another was evident as they almost came to blows on multiple occasions outside of the ring. When they finally met, Wanderlei was ambushed by a hungry improved fighter. Quinton took control by taking Silva to the ground, landing good ground & pound, but also surprisingly winning the stand up. However, it seemed to suck the energy out of him which let Wanderlei find his range in the second. After some punches, the trademark clinch reared its ugly head and before the fight ended Quinton was left hanging on the ropes by a perfect knee to the chin. The signature win was his crowning achievement, and exactly what comes to mind when Wanderlei Silva is thought of.