COMMENTARY | The crowd inside Saitama Super Arena said it all. As cheers rained down on mixed martial arts legend Wanderlei Silva following his second-round knockout of Brian Stann in the March 2 main event of UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Saitama, Japan, the fans knew they couldn't have asked for a better fight.
Will it be Silva's last time in the Octagon? Maybe. Maybe not. But following nine of the most action-packed minutes any fan could want, both Silva and Stann showed something else: Both men's stocks are still high.
So how does the market look now? The following fighters may experience the largest respective rises and falls after their performances on the main card of UFC on Fuel TV 8.
RisingMark Hunt The eloquent heavyweight grabbed his fourth-straight UFC victory by knocking out Stefan Struve, the UFC's No. 9-ranked fighter in the division. Hunt (9-7) has won three of his last four fights by KO, but he will have to improve his conditioning and speed. Hunt's lethargic movements won't be enough against the division's upper echelon.
[Also: Watch highlights of Mark Hunt's KO win]
You can't ignore Hunt's winning streak, and a bout with the winner of Junior dos Santos-Alistair Overeem or Daniel Cormier-Frank Mir could be on the horizon. If those are too lofty, perhaps the winner of Roy Nelson-Cheick Kongo. Hunt has options, and if his walk-off knockouts aren't enough to warrant an increase in competition, his riveting post-fight interviews certainly are…
Dong Hyun KimKim (17-2-1) is now 8-2 in the UFC with one no-contest. In fact, he's only lost once in his last four fights -- a first-round injury against Demian Maia in July 2012. The welterweight's only other UFC loss came at the hands of Carlos Condit in 2011.
At UFC on Fuel TV 8, Kim completely controlled Siyar Bahadurzada (21-6) with his wrestling and inspired ground and pound. "Stun Gun" may be one of the more underrated fighters in a stacked division and a top-10 ranking may not be far off.
Wanderlei Silva and Brian StannIt's hard to imagine that there was a loser in this matchup, which brought back memories of 2002's epic PRIDE fight between Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama. Both men temporarily stepped up to 205 pounds for the bout, but when two fighters put on a show like Silva (35-12-1) and Stann (12-6) did in Saitama, people want to see more.
[Also: Wanderlei Silva should retire from UFC after another brutal, violent fight]
The bout could be Silva's final fight, however, Stann still has several years ahead of him. There's no doubt he earned himself more fans, and a drop back down to middleweight could keep him in the mix with a few more wins.
FallingHector Lombard No one can question the middleweight's power and ability; however, Chael Sonnen did question the former Bellator champion's longevity in the promotion during his post-fight analysis.
"If it doesn't happen in the Octagon, it didn't happen in MMA, period," Sonnen said. "Don't bring up Fedor [Emelianenko]; don't do this to these guys. If they don't do it in the UFC, it simply didn't happen.
"Yes, you have to cut him from a business standpoint. His contract is too big. If he wants another shot, in my opinion, he's either going to have to go earn it and come back, or he's going to have to change weight classes."
The 5-foot-9-inch Lombard (32-4-1) was unable to find his range for most of the fight against Okami (6 feet, 2 inches), who looked much larger than the former Olympian and utilized his wrestling brilliantly. If Okami's size was too much to overcome, there is little chance Lombard can close the distance against 6-foot-2-inch Anderson Silva. Could a drop to welterweight be forthcoming for Lombard, who fell to 1-2 in the UFC with the loss? It might keep him in the organization.
The Dutchman's loss to Hunt hurt, but his broken jaw hurt even worse. Struve (25-6) will be on the shelf for a while and will have plenty of time to think about his missed opportunities.
"Skyscraper" had his moments as the two heavyweights traded shots, but his slow-motion counters weren't enough to capitalize on Hunt's mistakes. This loss should drop him out of the UFC's top 10 heavyweight rankings.
Paul Putignano lives in Southern California, where he has covered mixed martial arts and a wide array of sports across the Greater Los Angeles area. His work has been published in a variety of newspapers and online publications.
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- Mixed Martial Arts
- Martial Arts
- Wanderlei Silva
- Brian Stann
- Stefan Struve
- mixed martial arts