While Saturday’s main event of UFC on Fuel TV 8 between Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann is not the most exciting matchup on paper, don’t underestimate the ability these two men have to make this one of the most memorable shows of the year.
Each fighter has knockout power, and with both former champions coming off tough losses, there is no doubt that this bout will end early.
Silva is over the hill (lost four of his last six fights) and Stann has never materialized into the star that MMA fans saw in WEC, but those factors don’t mean Saturday night’s show won’t be amazing.
This main event will end with a referee stoppage, with one of these fighters out cold and the other celebrating a victory.
Where: Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo, Japan
When: Saturday, March 2 at 10 p.m. ET
Watch: Fuel TV
Wanderlei Silva’s Key to Victory: Keep The Fight Close
MMA is what Wanderlei Silva does, and despite a rough end to his career, the once-vaunted former champion still has enough in the tank to keep Saturday’s fight against the less-experienced Stann close.
When it’s said Silva must stay close to his opponent, it means Silva needs to be right in Stann’s face, not allowing the former solider to extend his arms fully and land his devastating strikes.
While Stann has a respectable 17 fights over his career, Silva has done battle in every major federation for the better part of almost 20 years. With 48 career fights, The Axe Murderer knows that Stann’s talent comes from his striking, and he must do whatever he can to stay close and avoid getting hit.
Look for Silva to utilize the takedown at times—something he doesn’t do often—but a technique that could throw Stann’s gameplan off early.
Brian Stann’s Key to Victory: Put Silva on His Heels
Brian Stann doesn’t have the experience Wanderlei Silva has in MMA, but the former Marine and WEC light heavyweight champion knows that his strength lies in his striking and will look to utilize that against the slowing Silva.
The Brazilian’s reaction time isn’t what it once was during his time fighting in Japan with Pride, and if Stann can land a few stiff shots in a row, Silva will begin to backtrack to avoid more contact.
It’s when Silva is on his heels and moving away from his opponent that Stann must attack and use his reach advantage to land open shots.
Stann must be cautious of Silva’s counterpunch ability that can come from any position, but as long as the former Marine pushes the tempo of Saturday's fight, he will land the cleaner shots over the course of the fight and eventually TKO Silva in the latter stages of Round 2.
Prediction: Brian Stann via second-round TKO