Wanderlei Silva: The UFC savage

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Wanderlei Silva reacts after knocking out Brian Stann in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC on FUEL TV event at Saitama Super Arena on March 3, 2013 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wanderlei Silva is not just a fighter. He is a force of nature.

His style was never the most technical and studied one. His great advantage is the wild features: the glower, aggressiveness, courage, fearlessness, the deadly assaults to decide the combat. His movement before the fight is the same as a tiger, an effort to curb the ferocity and explosion that will follow when he advances towards the victim. Wand’s glower could be well described by the poem “The Tiger” by William Blake: “Tiger, tiger, burning bright; In the forests of the night … In what distant deeps or skies; Burnt the fire of thine eyes?”

I’ve never seen Silva get into a fight to decide it by points. That does not exist in nature. In the wild it’s all or nothing, move or be eaten, kill or be killed. And so is Wanderlei Silva.

Everyone knows that the beasts are more dangerous in their own territory and this was proved once again in UFC on Fuel TV 8. Although the person Wanderlei Silva is a native of Curitiba, Brazil, the fighter — the “Axe Murderer” — dwells in Japan.

It was in Japan, at the time when Pride was the biggest MMA organization in the world (even bigger than UFC), that the “Axe Murderer” presented some of the most exciting fights in the history of the sport and it was undisputed champion for six years. In the “Land of the Rising Sun,” the wild Silva was feared as the most dangerous fighter on the planet and is an absolute idol today.

In his niche, Silva did what he does best. He returned to his traditional weight category (light heavyweight),entered with his traditional song (Sandstorm), performed his traditional presentation (the greeting and twisting wrists with fingers interlaced) and went for frank and unrestricted striking which already knocked down so many bodies at that arena.

At Saitama Super Arena, Silva was in his territory and his opponent, Brian Stann, was the prey. Not a defenseless zebra, but a bear or a buffalo. A dangerous prey. During a frenetic first round, Stann and Silva hit fast and furious, a moment of wild beauty worthy of a Discovery Channel documentary. In the second round, the predator, Silva, smelled the blood of the prey and went for the conclusion of the confrontation with two swift strokes. A straight and a hook. A spectacular knockout. A successful hunt. Just like in nature, the tiger, even older or injured, remains always dangerous.

Written by Mauro Ellovitch (@_mauro_) for GracieMag.

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