Judging by the successful wave Anderson Silva is riding in 2010, its hard to believe that Anderson Silva was ever a major underdog heading into a clash with Hayato Sakurai.
However in 2001 things were a lot different.
Hayato Sakurai was considered pound-for-pound one of the best fighters in the world being undefeated in twenty bouts with victories over Caol Uno and Frank Trigg.
At this stage Sakurai held the Shooto Middleweight Championship and was heading into his eighth title defense when he came across the Brazilian ace, Anderson Silva.
However Anderson Silva wasn't the accomplished Mixed Martial Artist that we see today—he was simply another fighter trying to make his mark moving up the rankings.
Silva held a 4-1 record with no real notable victories to his name so it was assumed that Sakurai would defeat Silva without breaking a sweat.
However on this night Anderson Silva showed the world why he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in Mixed Martial Arts.
He gave the Japanese sensation all he could handle and then some to secure a unanimous decision and capture the Shooto Middleweight Championship.
This had a huge impact on the Shooto middleweight division because "Mach" Sakurai was their home-grown star and Anderson Silva just took his title, never to defend it.