5 rivals who’d make sense for Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 in Minas

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Wanderlei Silva no UFC, em foto de divulgação da Zuffa.

Wanderlei Silva in UFC/Zuffa publicity photo

Anyone who thought Wanderlei Silva would sympathize with his old rival Vitor Belfort, who broke his hand one month away from their big fight on June 23 at UFC 147 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, doesn’t read CHOKE or doesn’t know the back story behind their unfriendly terms.

Via Twitter @Wandfc rubbed salt in Vitor’s wound, accusing him of being an amateur.

“If it’s really broken then he’s an amateur. If he didn’t break it, he chickened out. In either case it’s major disrespect and lack of responsibility to the public,” Wand fired over Twitter.

The former Chute Boxe rep didn’t take kindly to Belfort’s rebuttal that he could still take the fight with just one hand.

“With one hand? You’re a jackass. We’re professionals. It was way irresponsible not to be careful in training, a disrespect to the fans. I’m REALLY bummed about all this. I was ready to knock you out, but you have nowhere to run. This fight will have to happen, you can run all you like…”

Wanderlei didn’t buy Vitor’s assertion that the intensity at which he was training was the culprit for the injury.

“Nobody trains so hard to the point of hitting that hard; we use the best equipment, gloves, gel, wraps. I think you just wussed out. If you were so scared you shouldn’t have accepted the fight. What happens to everyone who got set back by all this? Anyone with real fans is concerned about them. I am, pardon my language, PISSED about how much of an amateur you are. The main event at the biggest show in the world and the guy pulls this on me. It’s intolerable, isn’t it? There’s no excuse.”

Vitor replied over Twitter with a calmer tone: “Emotional instability reveals a person’s fears. I’m grateful for all the kindness you all have had towards me. Confidence isn’t arrogance; I remain confident and maintain my respect for my opponent, since now my battle is with my injury. Remember one thing: everything passes, and what remains are the choices we make. Don’t be angry. Each to his own, but respect is an obligation everyone has. I ask that God give him double what he wishes on me. I’m out.”

Venom aside, now the aftermath is left to the UFC to contend with as well as the fans, many of whom already purchased tickets to watch the rematch that has been in the making since the first time the UFC touched down in Brazil, back in 1998, when Belfort served Wand a swift knockout.

Is there still time to save the show that started with Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen, making way for José Aldo, and now ending up without Vitor Belfort?

Perhaps, as there are 5 special opponents for Silva, if you want to know:

1. Wanderlei Silva vs Mark Hunt


Wand and the ultraheavyweight Mark Hunt had a thrilling encounter back on New Year’s 2005, when they did battle under the banner of the now extinct Pride FC promotion. On the occasion the Brazilian went from being predator to prey. To this day Wand feels he got shortchanged in the judges’ decision, and a rematch would likely get the fans going—but the New Zealander is out with a knee injury.

2. Wanderlei Silva vs Ricardo Arona

There’s been a grudge between them ever since they got into an argument over breakfast in Japan, where Ricardo Arona was one of Wand’s last five victims, having faced off in a tense and evenly-matched affair at a Pride event that was also held on New Year’s, but as the year turned forward to 2006. In the book “Filho teu não foge à luta” by Fellipe Awi, Wanderlei stoked the flames of rivalry even further: “Let’s just say I wan’t too polite that day. When we’re young we do things we wouldn’t do when we’re old, right?”

Arona has been out of action and not been training, but that never stopped him from fighting. The downside is that facing Wand was a personal craving of his, one Ricardo got to quell on two occasions. However, who knows, maybe a call straight to the UFC (not from journalists) could awaken his fighting instinct–that is if he’s still thinking about rekindling his career.

3. Wanderlei Silva vs Rich Franklin

Rich and Wand faced off back in 2009 at UFC 99, and the “w” went to the American. The former UFC champion is now set to take on Cung Le at UFC 148. Might he agree to take a little fight first, to get warmed up in the heat of the Brazilian crowd?

4. Wanderlei Silva vs Brian Stann

To the broader Brazilian audience the opponent may carry little appeal. To the hordes of pay-per-view purchasers and Wand himself it would be quite a challenge. And better still, it’s a matchup promising fireworks. A win would put Wand back in contention.

5. Wanderlei Silva vs Yushin Okami

A Japanes fighter in the opposing corner would be a flashback to the good old days of Pride FC, and it would also resound in the Land of the Rising Sun. And after all, Okami is familiar to Brazilian fans thanks to UFC Rio. Yoshihiro Akiyama would be another option, but he’s out injured.

What do you think, gentle reader, who do you want to see Wanderlei face to make the ticket price worthwhile? Let us know in the comments field below.

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