There have been a lot of memorable UFC fights in the past few months, but few stick out more than the UFC on FUEL TV 8 slugfest between Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann in March.
The storybook tail of “The Axe Murderer” returning to Japan, where he flourished into an elite fighter, to face off against the hard-nosed American was a major plot surrounding the matchup.
It was a gunfight for all nine minutes and four seconds of action, and even several months later, Silva still claims people tell him it was the best fight in a phenomenal year of action.
“A lot of people tell me it could be the ‘Fight of the Year,’ which is great with all the fights we’ve had at every event,” Silva recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “Melendez-Sanchez, Hendricks and GSP, Jon Jones and Gustafsson – we can easily name 10 great fights.”
To return to “The Land of the Rising Sun” after nearly eight years was a monumental moment for Silva, and what made it even more impressive was the fact he became the first to knock Stann out cold.
“That fight I knocked him out, but we went to war with each other,” Silva said. “Today when I watch the fight, it was one of the best fights of my career.”
While Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC) and Stann (12-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC) always looked like an exciting matchup on paper, few expected the nonstop barnburner that came to fruition when both men stepped in the cage.
The fight was so exhilarating, in fact, that Silva was awarded an extra $100,000 for “Fight of the Night” and “Knockout of the Night.”
Going into the fight, Silva did not expect such a memorable affair with Stann. He knew the former U.S. Marine was a durable and courageous athlete, and even though he didn’t come out on top, Silva gained a tremendous amount of respect for the “All-American.”
“He hits very hard, but I think his warrior heart, he’s not afraid, that’s why we made a great show,” Silva said. “I knew he was good but what he displayed that night was true martial arts skill.”
While Silva had his hand raised at the end, the epic showdown was a seminal moment in Stann’s career, as the fight marked his last before retiring from the sport in July.
Even though the last few months have produced numerous jaw-dropping battles, and there is still one more UFC event to go in 2013, the fight between Silva and Stann remains one of, if not the best of the year.
Considering the amount of fights Silva has had in his career, the fact the fight with Stann sticks out in his mind is quite meaningful.
While it may not have been the most efficient performance from the Brazilian in terms of protecting his physical and mental well-being, the former PRIDE champion says he would jump at the opportunity to partake in such riveting contets every day if possible.
“Some fights are interesting for one side, some are interesting for the other side, but at this point in my career, I like an opponent like Brian Stann.”
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