They Don’t Call Him “The Axe Murderer” for Nothing: the Best Fights of Wanderlei Silva’s Career

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Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is hands down the most intimidating fighter in MMA history. He is 5’11 and 185 pounds (his fighting weight) of pure muscle. I mean all muscle, muscle in his face! He looks like a Brazilian, straight Vin Diesel. He sticks his bald head out right in front of your face and moves side to side with this deranged look in his eyes as the referee briefs both fighters prior to the bell. Silva is the only fighter that can scare the fight out of opponents just by giving them his patented psychotic stare.

I mean he was MMA’s version of Michael Myers! He would not stop coming! Hit him with everything you have and he would just keep moving forward. Low kick, high kick, elbow, knee, rights, lefts, a two-by-four, anything you hit him with was just fuel for his fire. And no matter how fast you run he’s still right there, and he was walking the whole time. Then you slip and boom he has you right where he wants you (why do all of those idiotic characters always fall in horror movies); sweet dreams.

You do not get a vicious nickname like “The Axe Murderer” for dancing your way to decision victories. This guy gets a thrill out of opponents’ attempts to hurt him. Silva actually translates that as an invite to go berserk. He has a switch that can be flipped way too easily. One minute he is a humble, courteous, gregarious individual and in an instant he becomes “The Axe Murderer.” He once said, “I am so respectful because when people don’t respect me, make me crazy… I know I have that inside me but I know I can’t do nothing wrong,” in his vintage, heavy Portuguese accent.

Yes, Wanderlei is a monster. He is also an MMA legend. All of his fights are memorable and he was never in a boring one because of his tenacity and straight-forward style. His Top 5 fights are also arguably some of the Top 5 fights in MMA history. Here are Wanderlei Silva’s Top 5 fights:

5 Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell

Although this fight happened after they were both in their respective primes it did not disappoint. They both had a take-no-prisoners style that resonated beautifully with the fans and were both loved by MMA fans. This fight, which took place on December 29, 2007 at UFC 79, was huge with these two legends letting all hang out. The fans were all on their feet from the moment the opening bell rang. The first round was a “feeling out” out round, if you want to call it that. They both landed vicious shots and were both clearly hurt at certain points. The round ended with everyone in the sold out Mandalay Bay Events Center on their feet and cheering vociferously. The second round was another crazy round that anyone could have won and the fans continued to enjoy every moment. After going all out for most of the fight, Silva ran out of gas and Liddell took advantage and won the fight. Both fighters gave it everything they had and both were winners in the end but Liddell pulled out the unanimous decision.

4 Wanderlei Silva vs. Dan Henderson

At the time of this fighton December 9, 2000 at Pride 12, Henderson was considered the best fighter in the world with his record standing at 9-0. The fight had many swings in momentum. Both guys were constantly hurting each other throughout the fight. The first round was an absolute war as both men tasted the canvas. Somehow this fight went the distance and Silva pulled out an impressive decision.

3 Wanderlei Silva vs. “Rampage” Jackson II

In the highly anticipated rematch, “Rampage” vowed to return the favor after the savage beat down Silva gave him in the first fight. It was Pride 28 and Jackson had rightfully earned the rematch. After a close first round that involved plenty of great exchanges, Jackson caught Silva with a perfect straight right that dropped Silva with a little under a minute remaining. Silva managed to barely survive the round as “Rampage” used his ground and pound to land some heavy punches and a nice knee. Jackson had all of the momentum in the second round but in a stunning turn of events Silva caught him with an amazing right hook that hurt Jackson and followed it with a series of knees. The knees sent Jackson sprawling to the ground as he landed halfway through the ropes in an image that will never be forgotten.

2 Wanderlei Silva vs. “Rampage” Jackson I

After beating Yoshida in the semi-finals, Silva now had to take on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the finals of the same tournament, dubbed “Pride Final Conflict.” Jackson was coming off of a TKO victory over favorite Chuck Liddell and everyone was anticipating a war between these two respected strikers. After Jackson came out fast, Silva weathered his storm and gave him a diabolical beating. The fight ended in at the 6:28 mark of the first round after Silva landed 20 unanswered knees on Jackson. Silva was the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Champion.

1 Wanderlei Silva vs. Hidehiko Yoshida

In a truly epic tournament that featured a plethora of MMA legends which included Silva, Yoshida, “Rampage” Jackson, Chuck Liddell and Alistair Overeem this fight was the best of all. It was the Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix tournament and these two met in the semi-final round. It was two rounds of pure mayhem! Both men were effective offensively with little defense in this fight. Yoshida tried to smother Silva’s attack somewhat and had some takedowns but Wanderlei’s striking was just unstoppable. Silva showed everyone that he is a machine as he would just not give up. He got the better of the exchanges and there were plenty. This contest wound up being “The Fight of the Year 2003.”

Wanderlei Silva was never in a dull fight. For that reason, this list was easy to make and for that very reason this list was also very difficult to make. There are at least five more fights that can be on this list. “The Axe Murderer” just loved to mix it up with whoever was willing to step in that ring or cage with him. These are Silva’s Top 5 fights. Wouldn’t you agree?

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