On newsstands across Brazil in January 2008, NOCAUTE magazine issue 60 featured a great interview with Wanderlei Silva, in which the UFC star issued praise for and a prophecy about his nemesis Vitor Belfort.
“He’s a great athlete . … His has his merit and I’m sure our fight will happen in the future,” said the fighter four years before the fight… well, almost happened.
The issue is full of gems, like images of the submissions by GSP over Matt Hughes, Fedor on Hong Man and Lyoto Machida on Sokoudjou. Our favorite excerpt, however, is one from “The tip of the iceberg,” on the fight between Wand and Chuck Liddell—two fighters who crossed paths amicably years later in Belo Horizonte.
Here’s the part in question:
“If the brilliant chronicler Nelson Rodrigues (1912-1980) were alive—he who never missed a Carlson Gracie fight in Rio—, he would likely have scribed an epic description of the second-to-last fight of the night in the UFC. Something like this:
The battle on Saturday was dramatic by nature and charged with soul, it’s stars dripping with readiness like drenched umbrellas. At the very first trade of blows, Wanderlei Silva showed just why he’s the pride of his nation: following one of the tremendous haymakers the fellow Chuck Liddell would dish out in the fight, the Brazilian took a step back to such in a lungful of air, rested his back against the fencing of the terrifying octagon, and underwent a transformation.
He was no longer a fighter, but a windmill, spinning his blades at dreadful speed and sweeping the American, the crowd, the Brazilian fans, the devil. Yes, Wanderlei lost, but it was a triumphal defeat. After all, our Silva remained on his feet, and the one who landed on his backside and crashed to the ground like a building in Downtown Rio wasn’t him, but his opponent, in the second round. Come and go: getting upended is the most harrowing experience a man can suffer in his brief time on Earth.”
Wanderlei Silva is about to embark on another epic battle, facing his old acquaintance Rich Franklin tonight. Who have you got winning it? The former UFC champion or the former Pride FC champion.
Mineirinho, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
June 23, 2012
Wanderlei Silva vs Rich Franklin
Fabricio Werdum vs Mike Russow
Cezar Mutante vs Serginho Moraes
Godofredo Pepey vs Rony Jason
Yuri Alcântara vs Hacran Dias
Milton Vieira vs Felipe Arantes
Francisco Massaranduba vs Delson Pé de Chumbo
Rodrigo Damm vs Anistávio Gasparzinho
Hugo Wolverine vs John Macapá
Leonardo Macarrão vs Thiago Bodão
Wagner Galeto vs Vinicius Vina