This Saturday will mark the first return to Saitama Super Arena in seven years for famed MMA legend Wanderlei Silva. Making his name as “The Axe Murderer” as Pide FC's longtime champion, he mowed down top-level opponents left and right to become a hero to many in Japan.
Now at the tail end of his career, Silva still believes he has some fight left in him. Making his way to the UFC, he still brings the tenacity and agressiveness that made him champion. Now he is faced off against another power striker in Brian Stann, who holds respect for all of Silva's accomplishments:
"The popularity of my opponent, Wanderlei Silva, is very well deserved. I myself, when I first thought about coming into this sport, my favorite fighter was Wanderlei Silva. I would watch his fights in Pride and I would just marvel at the tenacity that he brought inside of the ring and how he fought."
Great praise from the always classy Stann, who seeks to knock opponents out while maintaining respect. Wanderlei himself had quite a specific prediction for the March 2nd main event at yesterday's UFC on Fuel TV 8 press conference:
“I promise I'll knock him out in the third round,” he said.
Quite the bold prognostication from Silva, who of course always looks for the knockout. While his skills may declining after many wars with the world's best fighters, he insists he is not done with MMA in any shape or form. However, a brutal loss could persuade that to happen.
But a vintage Wanderlei Silva win over a tough martial artist like Stann could bring back memories of when Silva tore up the Super Arena on a regular basis. What is your prediction for this weekend's main event?