Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann will return to the light heavyweight division Saturday for the UFC on Fuel TV 8 main event in Tokyo, Japan.
Coming off of a loss to Rich Franklin, Silva is now more concerned with taking the biggest fights possible instead of cutting weight to make a title run. Meanwhile, Stann was defeated by Michael Bisping in his most recent bout and is looking to bounce back with a win over a big-name opponent.
As this pivotal matchup approaches, let's take a look at where Silva and Stann hold their advantages over one another.
Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann won't be mistaken for the most technical strikers, but they are still very dangerous when standing.
Stann lands 41 percent of his strikes in comparison to Silva's 32 percent success rate with strikes attempted. Neither fighter lands at often, but they often finish opponents when they do connect.
Both men aren't all that hard to hit either, each defending slightly more than 60 percent of strikes thrown at them.
Neither Silva nor Stann are very much known for their ground-and-pound, but both fighters do have the power to finish from the top position.
Heading into this fight, though, it's unlikely that taking their opponent to the ground will be either competitors' primary game plan given that both guys like to stand and look for the knockout.
Power and Durability
Silva has plenty of power, but his knockouts more frequently result from a series of punches, whereas Stann is more capable of putting opponents away with a single blow.
Furthermore, Silva's chin has come into question as of late. Since joining the UFC roster, Silva has been knocked out by Quinton Jackson and Chris Leben.
Stann, conversely, has not been knocked out since joining the world's top MMA promotion.
Overall Striking Edge: Stann
Takedowns and Takedown Defense
If Wanderlei Silva were coming into this matchup overly concerned with his standing in the light heavyweight division, he'd probably look to test Brian Stann's takedown defense early and often. However, at this point in his career, Silva is more concerned with putting on a show.
Still, if he needs to, Silva should be able to take Stann down at will.
The Brazilian has a surprisingly high success rate of 67 percent on his takedown attempts, while Stann to the ground on 40 percent of his opponents' takedown attempts.
Control and Escapability
Should this fight go to the ground, Silva will have a significant advantage.
The jiu-jitsu black belt is not far removed from out-grappling Michael Bisping, who recently scored four takedowns against Stann.
If Silva gets the top position in this bout, he should be able to neutralize Stann for the remainder of the round should he choose to do so.
Submissions and Submission Defense
Stann has been submitted twice in his UFC career, while Silva has not been submitted in nearly 50 career fights.
With three submission wins in his long time in this sport, Silva's no submission specialist, but he certainly has a much greater chance of forcing Stann to tap than being forced to tap himself.
Overall Grappling Edge: Silva
Brian Stann's no newbie to MMA, but Wanderlei Silva has been around since the beginning and has nothing left to prove in this sport.
Fighting for the love of the sport at this point, Silva has the ability to throw caution to the wind and let it all hang out, though I'm not sure that differs from how he's fought for his entire career.
Even though he plans on returning to middleweight after this fight, Stann is the the stronger fighter in this matchup and may also be quicker at this point, being the younger competitor.
At one time, Silva would have been able to overwhelm Stann with hand speed, but that time has passed.
Silva and Stann aren't going to keep their same pace in the later rounds that they start off with, but neither veteran has shown a tendency to completely gas either.
That being said, Silva has experience in five-round fights and may look to test Stann's lack thereof.
Overall Intangibles Edge: Push
There's a good chance Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann will slug it out early and finish things quickly. However, there's also a strong possibility that Silva will try to take the fight to the ground once he tastes Stann's power.
Silva will come into the fight looking to bang, but it becomes about survival once you're locked inside the Octagon, and he'll take advantage of Stann's biggest weakness after realizing getting into wild exchanges is a bad idea.
Stann won't be easy to finish on the ground, considering Silva prefers to strike from the top position instead of working toward submissions. However, Silva should at least be able to control his opponent on the canvas, which may come at the expense of fan entertainment.
Silva defeats Stann by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).
Statistics via FightMetric.com.