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Should the UFC Retire “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva?
By Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester
Once upon a time Wanderlei Silva was likely considered the most feared fighter in mixed martial arts, period. After Saturday’s UFC 147, many are questioning whether Silva should hang up the gloves for good.
In what started out as a very evenly matched fight, Silva nearly put the stamp on his opponent Rich Franklin in what would have been a roaring round 2 TKO victory. However, he could not seal the deal in what would have been his first back-to-back victories since July 2006. The next three rounds he would lose decisively and the judges ended up scoring the fight in favor of the American Rich Franklin by a 49-46 unanimous decision.
10 years ago, the 35-year-old Brazilian was not just a good fighter, he was a great fighter. His time in PRIDE was must-see events as he was taking on the best-of-the-best in the world. No one will deny Wanderlei Silva’s storied career, but very few will also deny that he is not the image of his former self.
While, Silva will still likely remain a heavy draw for the UFC, most wonder what kind of fights are even in store for the heavy-handed Brazilian. Since coming back to the UFC in 2007 to fight Chuck Liddell – a fight in which he lost – Silva has only won 3 fights and lost five. The only thing that makes this somewhat pleasant is that four of those bouts won Fight of the Night Honors.
Needless to say when you mention exciting fights, you think of Wanderlei Silva and his 17-fight unbeaten streak in PRIDE, where he defeated the likes of Kazushi Sakurabi (three times), Quinton Jackson (twice), Dan Henderson, Guy Mezger, and Ricardo Arona. Despite his losses, Silva is and will always remain a fan favorite.
What some people took away from the Cung Le fight and Saturday’s fight with Rich Franklin is that he still has what it takes to compete at a high level. His win over Cung Le was what his fans needed to see… that he could still win. Even his close stirring second round swarm over Rich Franklin still makes people scratch their heads and wonder whether Silva still has what it takes to win at a high level.
So the question remains, does Dana White and the UFC force Silva into retirement much like they did with their golden boy Chuck Liddell? Or do they find him fights that he could possibly win? During the FUEL TV’s post-fight show, Dana White said that Silva will remain in the UFC, “whether he is fighting or not”. Wanderlei Silva will always be competitive in a fight, and will continue to have his ‘punchers chance’ to win against any fighter but his reputation as the “Axe Murderer” of old has faded into history.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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