Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann: What Went Right for Silva
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It was a vintage performance from Wanderlei Silva, which hearkened back to his glory days in Pride.
What better place to pull out that sort of performance—resulting in a KO of Brian Stann—than Saitama Super Arena in Japan, home to so many of his past triumphs?
On Saturday, at UFC on Fuel 8, Silva only needed two of the five allotted rounds to finish his opponent in a frantic match that earned him both the Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night bonuses.
It was also his first fight at 205 pounds since his defeat at the hands of Quinton Jackson in 2008.
What a successful return it was.
To defeat the dangerous Stann, another man returning to light heavyweight after years as a middleweight, in the style that he did is testament to how much fight the 36-year-old veteran still has left in him.
From the opening bell, after a moment spent allowing each to feel his opponent out, the two started throwing bombs.
In the first round, Silva was first to get clipped and fall to his knees, grabbing Stann's legs in the process. With the takedown unsuccessful, it wasn't long before the two were back in the middle of the cage, throwing wild shots with reckless abandon.
Both men had come to fight.
Within minutes of the opening round, the showdown was already shaping up to be a Japanese classic. Silva got clipped again, but was determined to stay in the pocket, where Stann was more than happy to fight.
After Stann got knocked down late in the first round—and he, too, went for Silva's legs as a way of regaining his composure—you knew a devastating knockout was coming.
It was a reckless strategy for both men, and one that has left Silva on the wrong end of a KO more than once in his career.
These two have some of the heaviest hands in MMA, and they were back in the middle throwing bombs as the second round got underway.
After Silva suffered near misses in the first round, his hand speed and head movement were somehow just that fraction sharper than Stann's, and it was the Brazilian who landed the finishing blow at around four minutes into the second round.
The tactic to induce Stann into an all-out war could easily have backfired. The last time Silva fought like this was when he was knocked out by Chris Leben in less than 30 seconds two years ago. This time, however, fortune was in his favour, and Silva finished one of the most exhilarating matches we've seen in a long time.
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