When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Japan this weekend (Mar. 2, 2013) for UFC on FUEL TV 8, it will be bringing with it one of "The Land of the Rising Sun's" favorite adopted sons, Wanderlei Silva, back home.
Silva skyrocketed to fame in the mixed martial arts (MMA) world during his reign as PRIDE FC's middleweight (205-pounds) champion from November of 2001 to 2007, up until he lost the title to Dan Henderson on Feb. 24, 2007 at PRIDE 33; an event held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Throughout his tenure with the Japanese-based promotion, Silva entertained the local crowd with jaw-dropping knockouts of Kazushi Sakuraba and Quinton Jackson and thrilled them with all-out wars against the likes of Mirko Filipovic, Ricardo Arona and Mark Hunt, just to name a few.
As the "Axe Murderer" returns to the Saitama Super Arena for the first time in seven years, you can bet he will be looking to thrill and entertain his loyal Japanese fan base and, in the process, perhaps resurrect the Wanderlei of old as he vows to earn a "Fight Night" bonus at the expense of his opponent, Brian Stann.
Silva's words to UFC.com:
"Let's fill up the Saitama Super Arena. A lot of people will be there. I am sure this event will sell out. Let's show the world the strength of the Japanese crowd. We'll get to feel what it's like to have the UFC in PRIDE's former home. At the Saitama Super Arena, where I earned the greatest achievements of my career, the place where I had my best performances. I'm coming off two 'fight of the night bonuses' against Cung Le and Rich Franklin and I want another bonus this time. This one I want for 'knockout of the night.' I will get this bonus, either knockout of the night or fight of the night or most motivated fighter of the night, I am going to win a bonus that fight."
Since joining UFC six years ago, Silva has earned five "Fight Night" bonuses including his memorable "Fight of the Night" and "Fight of the Year" battle against Chuck Liddell in 2007, his two "Fight of the Night" awards against Rich Franklin, his "Fight of the Night" performance against Cung Le at UFC 139 and his "Knockout of the Night" against Keith Jardine at UFC 84.
The fight against Stann, coincidentally enough, will signal Silva's return to the light heavyweight division, the weight class he ruled with an iron fist while competing for PRIDE FC.
With "All American " predicting an all out war and Silva's bonus-hunting mentality, fans are sure to be treated to one hell of a scrap in Saitama.
Is it Saturday yet?