The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to Japan on Saturday (Sunday local time at Saitama Super Arena), and what better way to do it than headlining with one of Pride FC's brightest stars… Wanderlei Silva.
Silva headed a cast that include several standouts from the Japanese fight scene, including Mark Hunt, Takanori Gomi, Yushin Okami, Mizuto Hirota, and several others.
The strategic planning of UFC on Fuel TV 8 fight card paid off with an announced attendance of 14,682 at Saitama Super Arena. The gate was not announced.
That is a strong number, especially for a UFC on Fuel TV event, which are usually a little more akin to drawing UFC Fight Night numbers instead of UFC pay-per-view type attendance.
Silva and his opponent, Brian Stann, wowed the crow with a brawling two-round affair. Silva tapped into the “Axe Murderer” of yore, surviving some brutal combinations from Stann before knocking him out late in round two.
Although there has been talk of the UFC starting up a series of smaller events in Japan, the current trajectory has them on a return to Japan at least once per year in the first quarter.