My first experience with Japanese MMA was a Pride FC game I picked up on the PS2 on a whim. My curiosity into the promotion after watching the UFC for countless years was met with happiness because the fights in Pride FC had a level of violence I had never seen in combat sports before and the over the top personalities were a plus, considering I have been a lifelong wrestling fan. When I saw my Wanderlei Silva faceoff and fight I knew this guy was a special talent. It’s not everyday you see a guy called the “Axe Murderer” literally stomp a guy’s head for a victory like it’s a natural thing to do. The more fights I watched, the more of a fan I became. Wanderlei was an enigma to me because I felt when he fought you were watching a guy akin to Tong Po in Kickboxer or Chong Li in Bloodsport decimating guys in the ring. Things changed when I saw Cro Cop, Rampage and later Fedor fight in Pride, but Wanderlei Silva remained a favorite for me. When the UFC acquired Pride FC I knew that Wanderlei fighting in the cage was a definite because he was a fan favorite and the brutality from his Pride FC days would convert the casual UFC fan.
Wanderlei’s career in the UFC came to a close with the announcement of his retirement and his recent banning from the sport from the NSAC drove the proverbial nail in the coffin for Wanderlei’s career. While his treatment at the hands of UFC/Zuffa is debated and his “running” from the NSAC drug test is news on every MMA site, I wanted to look back at the good ‘ole days when head stomps and soccer kicks were what we remembered Wandy for. Here are my Top 10 favorite Wanderlei Silva fights (which are in no particular order). While some have video there were others where no video was available which is unfortunate.
10. Silva vs. Cro Cop (Pride)-No Video
9.Silva vs. Le (UFC 139)-No Video
8.Silva vs. Jardine (UFC 84)-No Video
7.Silva vs. Yuki Kondo ( Pride Final Conflict 2004)
6.Silva vs. Sakuraba (Pride Total Elimination 2003)