COMMENTARY | Wanderlei Silva returned to Japan in style with his heart-stopping second round TKO victory over Brian Stann at UFC on FUEL TV 8. Silva's win capped off an interesting night of fights, including Mark Hunt's stunning third round finish of Stefan Struve.
Here are three thoughts on the event's main card:
Wrestling is the name of the game
Mixed martial arts has changed over the years, but three fights on the main card proved that wrestling's importance to the sport will never change. Siyar Bahadurzada hoped to keep the fight standing with Dong Hyun Kim, but he was unable to stop his opponent's takedowns. Kim controlled the strikers for nearly 15 minutes in what proved to be an easy decision victory over Bahadurzada.
The same thing happened during the Mizuto Hirota/Rani Yahya and Yushin Okami/Hector Lombard bouts. The grapplers were always able to take down their opponents, and that's how they won their fights.
The best mixed martial artists on the planet are skilled in more than one area of the fight game, but wrestling is still the most important aspect of the sport. The ceiling is always lower for a fighter without a grappling game. That's why a powerful striker like Hector Lombard will never be a UFC champion. He doesn't have the ability to stop a great wrestler.
Mark Hunt moves up the heavyweight ladder
It wasn't pretty, but Mark Hunt found a way to earn yet another upset win in the octagon with his technical knockout victory over Stefan Struve. There was a time when the 38-year-old Hunt was nothing more than an afterthought. Yet now that he's won four consecutive fights, Hunt is in the UFC heavyweight title picture.
Struve entered this fight looking to solidify his status as a contender. His height and reach gave him a huge advantage against Hunt, but that didn't matter. Hunt was the better fighter, and he proved it with the brutal third round finish.
Wanderlei Silva is a legend
There comes a time when every legend must retire, and I firmly believe that Wanderlei Silva should have left the fight game a couple years ago. However, after watching Silva put on one of the best fights of the year with Brian Stann, I have to admit that it will be tough to see him go.
I don't know if Silva is going to retire after this victory, but if he does say goodbye, there is no better way to finish his career. By finishing Stann, Silva put an exclamation mark on a legacy that any fighter would dream of having. Silva was never the same fighter after losing his Pride middleweight title to Dan Henderson six years ago, but that doesn't mean anything at this point. Silva is a legend, and he should be treated as such by MMA fans everywhere.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA for 20 years. He has been published on GatewayMMA.com, UltimateApocalypse.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or on Twitter @dciapala.
- Mixed Martial Arts
- Martial Arts
- Wanderlei Silva
- Mark Hunt
- Brian Stann
- Stefan Struve