Sunday, March 3, 2013 | midnight
Note: Full results from the rest of the UFC on Fuel TV 8 card are available at the bottom of the page.
The inspirator beat the inspired; the past-his-prime veteran topped the ascending favorite. The legend rose again.
“The Axe Murderer” slayed “The All American.” Wanderlei Silva added another unforgettable moment to his heap of accomplishments in mixed martial arts, knocking out Brian Stann at 4:08 of the second round in the main event of Saturday night’s UFC on Fuel TV 8.
“He’s one of the fighters that inspired me to start in this sport,” Stann, holding back tears immediately after the fight, said of Silva. “I’m very proud to have been a part of his career as much as this hurts right now. My heart’s broken, but I’m still proud I put my name on the line and fought him.”
In case it wasn’t symbolic enough that the 36-year old Silva dispatched one member of the legion of fighters who emulate him, there were a couple other factors that made his victory feel momentous. Silva won the fight in the same building, the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, where he morphed into a star.
“I don’t have words to say how happy I am right now,” said Silva, who lives in Las Vegas. “I’m proud to fight here.”
Silva, as high as a 3-to-1 underdog, also fought with the same approach that endeared him to fans in PRIDE a decade ago against the 32-year-old Stann. The two stood in the pocket swinging punches as hard as they could at each other for the majority of the nine minutes the fight lasted.
Both fighters knocked each other down multiple times in the first round alone.
“This is the kind of fighting I like to do,” Silva said. “I like to fight with guys like that. He’s a strong guy. He came to fight — no going away, no going around.”
The final sequence came to pass when Stann, despite a bloodied face, attempted to push forward but collided with Silva’s right hand. Silva flung a few more shots as Stann hit the mat before the referee pulled him off.
By then, the crowd was on their feet celebrating Silva’s 23rd victory in the Land of the Rising Sun and first in seven years with the exuberance that could match a fighter’s most outlandish walkout.
“I knew what I had at risk when I signed on the dotted line next to that man fighting here in Japan,” Stann said.
Earlier this year, some expected the return to the spot that the Brazilian adopted as his “hometown” to mark his final fight. But it was barely worth whispering retirement around Silva at UFC on Fuel TV 8.
It’s nothing something he wanted to think about. Not after this night.
“I know, sooner or later, I’m going to need to stop this job,” Silva said. “But I’m happy to get this feeling and this energy from my fans. I’m so happy to make my fans happy around the world.”
Find the full results from Saturday’s card listed below.
The referee hadn’t even officially stopped the fight, but heavyweight Mark Hunt turned his back and walked off. He knew he had finished Stefan Struve. Sure enough, the fellow former PRIDE fighter had broken Struve’s jaw and left him unable to continue with a left hand. Hunt officially won via TKO at 1:44 of the third round.
UFC President Dana White’s tweet could sum up the third-billed fight: “How the (expletive) did Diego (Sanchez) win that fight? Crazy (expletive).” Diego Sanchez defeated Takanori Gomi by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a lightweight bout that drew widespread disagreement. Gomi, Japan’s most storied homegrown fighter, appeared to take the first two rounds clearly, and even arguably won the third.
Hector Lombard underwhelmed again. Given the chance to erase two poor rounds at the start of the fight with a knockout in the final frame, Lombard couldn’t quite finish Yushin Okami, who won their middleweight bout via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
In what could justly be described as an expert-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu match, Rani Yahya beat Mizuto Hirota by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Yahya attempted to choke out Hirota several times in the first two rounds. Hirota, however, turned the tide and nearly finished Yahya with an armbar in the final five minutes.
It’s back to the gym for welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada where he should have plenty to work on. Dong Hyun Kim snapped Bahadurzada’s seven-fight win strak by pinpointing his weaknesses and exposing them. Kim took Bahadurzada down repeatedly and rained ground-and-pound en route to a lopsided unanimous-decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Local middleweight Brad Tavares extended his winning streak to three fights. Tavares downed Riki Fukuda by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) to close out the preliminary card.
Featherweight Takeya Mizugaki broke into tears after notching a two-fight win streak for the first time in five years. Mizugaki, who was knocked down by Bryan Caraway in the second round, couldn’t have known he had the victory until the final second the decision was read. In a close fight that many scored for Caraway, Mizugaki escaped with a split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
UFC rookie lightweight Kazuki Tokudome debuted to great success in front of his hometown. Tokudome won every round on every judges’ scorecard to earn a unanimous decision over Cristiano Marcello, staying away from vulnerable positions against the Brazilian submission artist.
The experienced fighter overcame the crafty newcomer in the second bout of the night. Alex Caceres controversially took a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 28-29) from Kyung Ho Kang in a bantamweight bout.
Hyun Gyu Lim’s win meant the rookies beat the veterans 2-1 in the opening three bouts of the night. Lim knocked out previously undefeated Brazilian Marcelo Guimaraes four minutes into the second round in their welterweight bout.