UFC 132 Fight Card: Wanderlei Silva vs Chris Leben, a Head to Toe Breakdown
UFC 132 is an absolutely stacked card, but perhaps the most anticipated match up of the night is Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva vs Chris "The Crippler" Leben.
Both fighters are known as brawlers and have reputations for never taking a step back.
No matter who loses this fight, the fans win.
That said, these competitors are both in need of a win.
Leben was made into a stepping stone in his last fight with Brian Stann. Coming off of that brutal knock out loss, Chris needs a big win, otherwise he risks losing relevance in the middleweight division.
Wanderlei has been out of action for over a year. His career is nearing its end and if he wants to make one last run at a title, he can't afford to be losing any fights.
Let's see how these two stack up.
Wanderlei definitely has the edge experience wise.
With the exception of Anderson Silva, The Axe Murderer is the most dangerous opponent Leben has ever faced.
The Crippler is nowhere near the most dangerous opponent that Wanderlei has ever faced. Silva spent years in Pride fighting some of the best in the world.
In terms of the pressure on these guys going into the fight, both should be comfortable. Chris and Wanderlei have both fought for the UFC many times and have both headlined pay-per-views. Neither one of these guys will be sweating being the co-main event.
What it comes down to is anything Leben throws at Silva, Silva will have seen before. Chris can't say the same.
Edge: Wanderlei Silva
The cardio should be about even.
Both fighters have been to a decision many times in their career.
Sometimes they look tired by the end, but neither guy ever gasses to the point that they it's an extreme detriment to their performance.
Silva is an elite striker. He has stood toe to toe with some of the greatest strikers in MMA history and, a lot of the time, has come out on top.
Wanderlei has also shown that he can be devastating with more than just punches, he has brutal knees from the clinch.
Leben has incredible power in his hands, but isn't the most technical striker around. Anderson Silva, Brian Stann and Michael Bisping have all been able to expose Chris standing.
The Crippler has also never showed himself to be a dynamic striker. His hands are his primary tool and his next biggest weapon after that is probably foot stomps.
Edge: Wanderlei Silva
Wanderlei has been in so many wars over the years; too many for his own good.
Over the past few years, we have seen that Silva can't take a shot like he used to. Three of his last five losses have come by knockout and all of those knockouts were brutal.
Leben is known most for his ability to take a punch. He has only been knocked out twice in his career and both times the amount of punishment he absorbed before being put away was tremendous.
For a good indicator of just how solid Chris's chin is, watch his fight with Terry Martin. The Crippler takes some giant shots in that fight and proves that he can still be very dangerous even while hurt.
Edge: Chris Leben
Neither competitor is known for their grappling abilities; they like stand and bang.
Both of them have pretty solid takedown defense, but good wrestlers have been able to take them down.
This one is very close, but I'm going to give Leben the slight advantage because we have seen more offensive wrestling from him than Wanderlei.
However, I don't think either fighter will look to take this to the ground unless they get themselves into some big trouble standing.
Wanderlei Silva has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but he has never been the type to go for a submission. Silva started fighting professionally in 1996 and since then has earned only three submission victories. Two of those submission victories were by punches.
Leben is actually quite crafty off his back. He has six career victories by submission, five of which came off of his back.
I would say Chris has a shot of pulling off a submission, if weren't for the fact that Wanderlei Silva has never been submitted.
Silva never really submits people, or even goes for submissions. On top of that, he is nearly impossible to submit.
We won't see this one end with a submission.
This is a very tough fight to call and, truthfully, I don't want to see either fighter lose.
The biggest variable in this one is how much Wanderlei will be effected by his long lay off, as he hasn't fought in more than a year.
If Silva comes in good shape and the ring rust doesn't get to him too much, I think he takes this one.
Leben has had problems with high caliber strikers before, particularly ones who keep the pressure on him when he's hurt.
The Axe Murderer has some of the best killer instinct in the game and I think if he rocks The Crippler he will be able to put him away.
Winner: Wanderlei Silva via Second Round TKO