Wanderlei Silva beat Brian Stann (KO, Round 2)
Why it was Awesome:
Wanderlei Silva was supposed to be done. No less authority than, well, me, had said as much in the days before the fight:
What's so sad about Silva is that he doesn't seem to realize he isn't "The Axe Murderer" anymore. And so he returns, again and again, to the cage. Each time it's to diminishing returns.
His body, and no doubt his brain, have been battered. Hopefully not beyond repair, but we've all seen what happens to aging fighters who have been through the gauntlet. It isn't pretty.
I had even called my article "the sad demise of an MMA legend." If there was such a thing as a triple face palm I'd be doing it right now.
Part of that, of course, was absolutely correct. Silva was and is a legend of the sport. Few men were more feared than Silva in his hey day, cutting a swath through Japanese pro wrestlers and legitimate contenders alike in the glory days of the gone but never forgotten Pride Fighting Championships.
That Silva wasn't supposed to exist anymore.
Too many wars in the ring have dulled his reflexes. That Silva only exists these days in bursts, for 30 seconds at a time here or there during the course of a fight. But 30 seconds of Wanderlei Silva, even the 2013 Silva, is still enough to lay waste to a fighter like Brian Stann.
As a human being, Stann is remarkable. As a fighter, he is average. Against Silva, he bit off more than he could possibly chew. His path to victory was clear: Stann needed to keep his distance, batter Silva when he could, run when he couldn't. Instead, his instinct was to stand his ground.
Good for fans. Bad for Stanns. Silva caught Stann with a right-left combination of furious, winging hooks that knocked the "Hoorah" right out of the former Marine.
In the aftermath, something became evident. If it wasn't clear before, it was crystal afterwards—Silva will never leave this sport on his own volition. Someone is going to have to beat him out of the fight game. And it's going to take a better fighter than Brian Stann:
What we learned against Stann, what we should have known all along, is that Wanderlei Silva isn't meant to go meekly into the darkness. While some fear diminishing physical and mental acuity, you never have. It's a price you, and too many other fighters, are willing to pay for greatness, trading tomorrow for today.
It wasn't right for me to expect a man like you to see the world the way I do. The truth is that Wanderlei Silva isn't a man like other men. You are a peerless warrior.