As seen on Examiner.com
Another UFC event has come and gone, and while the echoes of
Wanderlei's astonishing knockout of Brian Stann might still hang in the
Saitama Super Arena, the cage has been taken down, and the traveling
circus moves on.
It was a night of tremendous joy for fans of the old Pride Fighting
promotion, as Wanderlei Silva, Mark Hunt and Takanori Gomi were all once
again in the building, to showcase their skills to those who have
followed and loved them for over a decade.
Just like any show the UFC puts on, there were highs and lows.
Awe-inspiring moments and fights you wish you could fast forward
through. Now that it’s over, it’s time to showcase the five fighters
that made the event one not to forget.
#5 Dong Hyun Kim
In what was not the most exciting
performance of the night, but certainly the most one sided and
effective, Dong Hyun Kim took Siyar Bahadurzada down at will, and
smothered him for fifteen minutes to win his fight. He was thought to
be in danger of being KO'd going in, but he utilized a picture perfect
gameplan to control, pass the guard, and do damage en-route to an easy
unanimous decision vicory.
Time will tell what's next for the man known as "Stun Gun", but he's a threat to anyone in the Welterweight division.
#4 Takanori Gomi
Takanori Gomi is one of Japan's all time
favorite fighters. "The Fireball Kid" lives up to his monicker time and
time again delivering the goods, sometimes against long odds. Saturday
night, he was up against the larger and more physical Diego Sanchez,
but took it to him for three rounds.
Gomi was quicker, did more damage and fought the better fight, but in
the end, the judges awarded the fight to Sanchez. It was yet another
in a long line of judging errors and Gomi makes this list despite not
getting the victory in the cage. He won in the hearts and minds of the
people who matter, his fans.
Up next for Gomi could be retirement, or a fight with someone like Melvin Guillard who would guarantee a standup war.
#3 Mark Hunt
For big Mark Hunt, this was a return to his
Pride days, and he had a willing combatant in seven foot Stefan Struve.
Struve pulled guard, controlled some positions on the mat and even went
for a couple of submissions, but the wily Samoan was having none of it.
Hunt continued to bide his time, wait for an opportunity and when it
came, he landed a left hook that broke the jaw of Struve and ended the
It was classic Mark Hunt. The huge shot and walkoff knockout. It
was a rough back and forth scrap, but in the end, Hunt was too much for
Struve. Mark Hunt also found some nice spare change later being given a
50,000.00 dollar Knockout of the Night bonus.
For Mark Hunt, that's four consecutive victories in the heavyweight
division, and he has to crack the top ten with this one. The fans are
begging for a fight with Roy Nelson. It would be a thing of beauty.
#2 Brian Stann
Brian Stann is a war-daddy. He threw out
his game-plan, and just planted and threw hands while a captivated
audience held their collective breath waiting for the knockout. Stann
hurt Wanderlei Silva multiple times in the first round, dropping him,
and himself being dropped in return. His nose split in two, he bled a
river on Silva as the two were on the mat to end round 1.
Round two saw a more reserved attack by both men. However, Stann
threw a shot, and Silva countered with a right hand that knocked Stann
down. Silva pounced and knocked Brian Stann out in the second round.
It was award Fight of the Night, is on a short list for Fight of the
Year and Brian Stann throws his hat in the ring for most courageous
fighter award. To go to Japan and fight the "Axe Murderer" is brave
enough, but to wage war the way Stann did, that's just epic.
It was likely one and done for Stann at Light Heavy, as he should be
headed back to Middleweight and his more comfortable 185 pound home.
Not sure who he'll face next, but whoever it is, after seeing this
performance, won't sleep well the night before.
#1 With a bullet, Wanderlei Silva
In one amazing evening, hell, in one amazing
ten minute span, Wanderlei Silva turned the clock back ten years and
did the impossible. There's something about Silva and Japan that make
for instant drama. After being dropped three times in a blistering
first round that saw nonstop action, and fistic fury, Silva was back in
that rare form.
Slinging wide punches that could level buildings, he dug his feet in
and went for broke. He'd land, get hit, land again, drop, drop his
opponent. It was high drama and a legion of fans were in the cage with
him, taking the shots, and feeling it.
In the second round, he landed a right hand on Brian Stann that
dropped him. He immediately landed a series of shots, knocking Stann
out and blowing the roof off of the Saitama Super Arena. Silva who was
thought to be on his way out, showcased his heart and chin in a fashion
many felt impossible heading into this clash. It was classic Silva, and
it would be a helluva fight to hang his career on.
Whether he fights again or not, this night will likely be what the
fans always remember of "The Axe Murderer." It was everything it should
have been, and maybe just a touch more. He is why I love the sport,
and last night, he was its biggest star.