Wanderlei Silva yielded retirement talks with a violent, risky performance to earn a victory at UFC on FUEL TV 8, but an applied game plan could’ve caused a different outcome for the fight and his career.
Saturday, Silva defeated Stann via KO at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. It was a highlight reel finish, as the “Axe Murderer” connected with a right, left combination that collapsed Stann in Round 2, but not after a sketchy opening frame for Silva.
Silva and Stann put on a fight reminiscent of those that the Brazilian presented in his days with Pride FC. Both combatants initiated the bout with an intense level of aggression. As they stood clinched in one another’s single-collar tie, Silva and Stann rifled punches back and forth, neglecting defense. Silva was dropped, but Stann was bleeding from his nose.
Silva took the center of the Octagon and challenged Stann, and the Marine did not shy away. They squared up and exchanged punches, where Silva was put down again. The Brazilian prevented from being laid flat out by clinching with Stann, and then the pair of mixed martial artists engaged in yet another unguarded exchange of fists. Silva was wobbled a couple of times from Stann’s shots, but the American hit the canvas once, as well.
In Round 2, Silva was more conservative with his strikes, but Stann continued with his radicalness of loaded punches and seeking a KO. Stann was loading up to throw a right-straight punch when Silva caught him first with the same punch, then followed up with a left-hook and sent “The All-American” to the canvas. It took a few effortless punches when Stann was on the mat for the referee to halt the match and declare Silva the winner.
For a fighter like Stann, who is equipped with adequate skills and strategizes game plans with MMA mastermind Greg Jackson, he did not employ those assets in this bout. Had he picked his punches with accuracy and avoided Silva’s heavy hands, Stann very well likely could’ve been the victor.
Silva has shown in recent years that he can’t absorb the punishment he once could. While still one of the toughest athletes the sport has ever seen, the former Pride FC middleweight champion has been on the wrong end of some brain rattling knockouts throughout his 49-fight, 17-year career.
Silva, whether he stays in the light heavyweight division or returns to the 185-pound weight class, will be matched against a formidable foe in his next outing. If he can lure his opponent into the sandstorm of strikes, the odds are in his favor, but against an implemented game plan, it could be his demise from the sport.