As hard as it may be to believe, Wanderlei Silva has not fought in Japan since 2006 when he lost to fellow PRIDE icon Mirko Filipovic. Over the six years prior, Silva made a name for himself in the iconic promotion as one of the most intimidating and entertaining fighters in the sport, gaining fans the world over though few as passionate as his supporters in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The Brazilian will return to Japan this weekend at UFC on Fuel 8 where he’ll face fellow slugger Brian Stann in headlining action. “The Axe Murderer” is understandably excited about the opportunity in front of him and plans to deliver fully given the likelihood it will be his last appearance in the nation.
“I’m coming off two Fight of the Night bonuses, against Cung Le and Rich Franklin, and I want another bonus this time,” said Silva in an interview with the UFC. “This one I want for Knockout of the Night, for my knockout. I will get this bonus – either Knockout of the Night or Fight of the Night or Most Motivated Fighter of the Night…I’m going to win a bonus that night.”
Silva’s trainer, Rafael Cordeiro, echoed his fighter’s confidence while explaining how special Japan is to the 36-year old legend.
“It’s our mission to put on a great fight and show all the will, show all the heart, and make it a bloody fight; to show why Japan is different, because the samurai spirit is to never surrender,” explained Cordeiro.
The 34-12 Silva is 2-2 in his last four fights with wins over Michael Bisping and Le. He hasn’t seen action since June when he faced Franklin, nearly finishing his foe before sustaining enough damage himself to suffer a Unanimous Decision loss. Lending substance to Silva’s claim of a potential paycheck for putting Stann away with strikes, 24 of his victories have featured a TKO including those over Keith Jardine and Quinton Jackson (X2).
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC