The legend of Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva grew Saturday night when another chapter of greatness was added to his storied mixed martial arts career. As a generous +240 underdog, Silva scored a thrilling second-round knockout victory over Brian ‘The All-American’ Stann at UFC on FUEL TV 8 in Tokyo, Japan.
In front of the fans who adored him during his illustrious run as middleweight champion with the PRIDE organization, Silva reached deep to win a nine-minute slugfest that was a back-and-forth affair from the start.
In the first minute, both men went to-to-toe and traded multiple strikes until Stann slipped and fell. As Stann got up, Silva connected with a huge knee to the face that opened up Stann’s nose.
Nevertheless, Stann responded moments later with 4-5 consecutive right-hand uppercuts with the last one flooring Silva just 49 seconds into the round. Silva bounced up immediately, though, and both me went back to punishing each other.
Nearly halfway through the round, Stann inadverdently caught Silva in the groin with his foot after he attempted a knee to the body. The timeout for Silva to recover allowed both men to catch their breath.
The brutal pace slowed for about a minute until an exchange of haymakers saw both men floor each other with right hands. The wild flurry resulted with Stann on top in Silva’s guard.
For the last 40 seconds of Round 1, Stann got the better of it with ground-and-pound punishment from the top. However, Stann’s nose was leaking blood onto Silva’s body like a sieve.
VegasInsider.com gave Stann the nod 10-9 in an epic opening stanza.
The second round was more of the same. The first four minutes were evenly contested until Silva connected with a brilliant right-left combination that knocked Stann down. Silva pounced and landed four ground-and-pound rights before referee Marc Goddard intervened.
Gamblers backing ‘over’ 1.5 rounds (-130 price) cashed tickets. The main event was dubbed Fight of the Night and Silva took home KO of the Night honors.
What’s next for Silva? Not retirement, at least not yet. Vitor Belfort is a potential foe, but he’s scheduled to fight Luke Rockhold in May. (5Dimes has Rockhold as the -130 favorite.)
Stann will move back to the 185-pound loop and his next opponent could be Hector Lombard.
In the co-main event, Mark Hunt beat Stefan Struve in an extremely entertaining bout in the heavyweight division. Hunt hooked up his betting supporters with a +160 payout after producing a third-round KO that was capped by a vicious leaping left hook.
Struve saw his four-fight winning streak halted and sustained a broken jaw in his first loss since May 28 of 2011. Hunt won for the fourth straight time and most likely set himself up with a fight against a top-five foe.
Since there was no submission on the card, the UFC gave Hunt a $50,000 bonus for a second KO of the Night performance.
Yushin Okami handed Hector Lombard his second loss in three career Octagon appearances by capturing a split-decision win (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) as a plus-180 underdog. Okami dominated the first two rounds before Lombard mounted a furious rally in the final stanza.
For Okami, it was nearly the Tim Boetsch fight all over again. However, unlike Boetsch, Lombard couldn’t finish the job. The former star of the Bellator promotion rocked Okami with several uppercuts in the third round’s opening moments.
But Lombard made the strategic mistake of going to the ground when Okami pulled guard. Although Lombard was able to land several big elbows, Okami recovered from the stand-up punishment while on his back.
VI scored it 29-28 for Okami, who requested a shot at Michael Bisping for his next trip into the cage.
Assuming Lombard doesn’t get cut, a fight with Stann or Chris Leben could be in his future.
Diego ‘The Dream’ Sanchez missed weight in his return to the lightweight division to face former PRIDE champ Takanori Gomi. The fight went on nonetheless with Gomi getting 20 percent of Sanchez’s paycheck.
Sanchez won a controversial split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Gomi as a minus-225 ‘chalk.’ Sanchez was more heavily favored (-330ish) until he missed weight on Friday.
VI scored it 29-28 for Gomi, whose backers had to be furious about missing out on the +185 return (risk $100 to win $185).
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--5Dimes is listing Glover Teixeira as a -260 ‘chalk’ vs. Ryan Bader (+180) in a light heavyweight showdown at UFC 160.
--5Dimes has Nate Diaz as a -160 favorite vs. Josh Thomson in their lightweight battle slate for the UFC on Fox 7 card in late April.
--Johny Hendricks is currently a -130 favorite vs. Carlos Condit in a welterweight match at UFC 158 in less than two weeks (March 16). Also in the 170-pound division at UFC 158, Jake Ellenberger is a -170 favorite vs. Nate Marquardt (+130), who is making his Octagon return after a stint in Strikeforce.
--In response to Diego Sanchez’s lackluster performance, Chris Leben suggested on twitter that Sanchez was hurt by “too much Greg Jackson.”
--Sanchez wants to stay at 155 and thinks ‘little brother’ Nate Diaz should be his next opponent.