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The campaign for Wanderlei Silva to move to middleweight

In Jake Rossen’s latest column, he assumes the role of fantasy matchmaker and unveils eight matches he’d like to see happen in 2008.

Leading off the list is a proposed match between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort, at 185 lbs. Rossen’s pitch for this match is yet another public call for Silva to move from middleweight:

Like a vegetarian at a pig roast, doubters of Wanderlei Silva (Pictures)‘s abilities have long been accused of obnoxious counter-thinking. But while he put up a spectacularly courageous fight against Chuck Liddell (Pictures) in December, the Axe Murderer’s prospects as a light heavyweight seem modest at best.

Against Tito Ortiz (Pictures) or Rashad Evans (Pictures), a decision loss seems a likely outcome, the template of which was set by Ortiz in 2000 and Ricardo Arona (Pictures) in 2005; against calculating strikers like Liddell, Silva might find himself perpetually stuck outside the pocket.

An inflated 205er (and you can read as much subtext into that as you wish), Silva’s frame seems more naturally suited for 185 pounds. With the recognizable Vitor Belfort (Pictures) considering a similar drop, now seems like a reasonable time for a rematch of their classic 1998 fight, one which saw the mythical “old Vitor” slice through Silva’s defenses like a broadsword.

First, I couldn’t disagree more with Rossen’s statement that a potential match between Evans and Silva would likely result in a decision loss for Silva. Silva had trouble with Chuck Liddell because of Liddell’s reach advantage. Evans would not have that advantage. Silva could sit in the pocket and punish Evans without having to worry about paying too steep of a price.